Dr Chris Brown
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"Recently, I have noticed that when my 13-year-old German shepherd Hogan walks, he almost drags his back feet on the ground. Is he getting lazy in his old age?"
Rather than him being lazy, this is actually a case of miscommunication within his own body. You see, to walk normally there is a constant flow of information between your legs and your brain, to tell you when and where to move your legs. This is called "proprioception".
However, when age starts to take its toll on the body, it's a lot like a house with old electrical wiring. Messages either don't get through as quickly, or sometimes don’t even get through at all, and this proprioception begins to fail.
In Hogan's case, it means he doesn't really know where his legs are, so quite often he drags them. This old-age condition of dogs is called a "peripheral neuropathy", with the classic sign being scuffed and worn-down toenails on his back feet. I would also have Hogan checked for any signs of arthritis (which is treatable), as it can also make moving those creaky old joints a lot more difficult.
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