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Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall in Aging Dogs

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Yuliss is the administrator of Best Family Dogs, a site devoted to family dog health, care and raising dogs with children

Titan covered in mud

Titan covered in mud

Getting a Diagnosis

Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall in Aging Dogs

Titan has recently been diagnosed by his veterinarian with bilateral propriocetive stall (BPS). Titan is nearing his twelfth birthday so he is pretty old for his breed. BPS does not just affect older dogs, it has multiple causes and can affect dogs at any age for various reasons. Titan’s signs and symptoms of BPS are:

  • Tripping
  • Slipping
  • Leg collapse
  • Inability to coordinate body movements
  • Difficulty walking up or down stairs


Causes of Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall

BPS can be caused by:

  • Acute inflammation along the spinal cord
  • Disruption of nerve transmission along the spinal tract
  • Tumors
  • Injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection


Titan on his weekly visit to dog swimming lessons - notice his bent hind-legs, this was his normal standing gait as BPS made him weak he could no long stand his hind-legs up tall

Titan on his weekly visit to dog swimming lessons - notice his bent hind-legs, this was his normal standing gait as BPS made him weak he could no long stand his hind-legs up tall

Titan started therapeutic swimming once a week to strengthen his hind legs and pelvis

Titan started therapeutic swimming once a week to strengthen his hind legs and pelvis

How is BPS Diagnosed

BPS is diagnosed by a veterinarian based on:

  • Reported signs and symptoms
  • Abnormal neurological exam
  • Scans such as X-ray or MRI


Some Treatment Options May Be:

Treatment for BPS consists of:

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  • Steroid medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Antibiotics for infections


Our Own Experience With BPS

Because of Titan’s age and good quality of life we are currently not treating his BPS. BPS is a progressive state in aging dogs and will continue to worsen over time. Titan and I return for veterinary check ups every six months to monitor his progress and re-evaluate his plan of care. Titan is still excited to go out for long walks and he eats well and drinks well on his own initiative. He does not have any pain in his back or limbs regardless of his current condition.

I am not a veterinarian. I am simply using my experience with my aging dog to share with you some of the exchanges that take place as dogs age in general. Please see your veterinarian for any questions or concerns regarding your dogs health, or if you think your dog might have BPS too.

My Video on Titan's Condition: Bilateral Properioceptive Stall

Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall can affect young dogs and puppies, but in young dogs it is usually do to severe accident, injury or infection and can be caused as a secondary issue after spinal infection or severe seizures. In older dogs the condition occurs as aging processes affect the spinal cord and nerve innervation, it is a slow progressive illness.

After therapeutic swims Titan would be like this!  He would sleep for several hours

After therapeutic swims Titan would be like this! He would sleep for several hours

Swimming brought Titan back to his youthful self, even at age 13 -14 years he would get bursts of puppy-like energy again!

Swimming brought Titan back to his youthful self, even at age 13 -14 years he would get bursts of puppy-like energy again!

Supporting Your Dog Through BPS

Supporting your dog through BPS is a big decision. Some owners will make the decision not too. It is PROGRESSIVE, and is the beginning of elderly decline. You can prolong your dog's quality of life by maximizing their fitness level through therapeutic swimming but you can only prolong their life and minimize their suffering. You can not cure the condition. Ultimately it will result in incontinence first of stool, than of urine and stool and finally behavioural changes like aggressiveness, confusion and loss of appetite and loss of interest in drinking until no quality of life remains. This is a time to make memories and decide what your limits are emotionally and financially. Get professional help through the pre-grieving and grieving process if you need too.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Yuliss

Share your aging dog stories here!

Yuliss (author) on April 22, 2019:

Thanks for your support Maria!

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on April 22, 2019:

You should try to submit this story to pethelpful. You are a great human of Titan for taking care of him even in his old age. this story made me miss my Peso.

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