The vet proclaimed, after examining Tater and managing to elicit a few yelps, that in all likelihood Tater has a pinched nerve in his back. He deduced pinch nerve, as opposed to slipped or pinched disk because when it involves the disk in dogs there is frequently some amount of paralysis. Tater has none. In fact, when walking Tater is his normal tail-wagging self.
I don't know why I didn't think back, but I have to admit that it never crossed my mind. I wholeheartedly assumed that it would be a leg or hip problem. In part this is good news, because it means no surgery. In a way it is bad news because there is very little that we can do for it medically. The vet gave us an anti-inflammatory, which Tater will get twice a day for the next week. And Tater now has a personal elevator (mom and dad) for when he wants to get onto or off the bed or sofa... not exactly the perfect timing to be moving into a house with steep stairs, but that's what baby gates are for! And of course, even once this pinch heals (which will hopefully be quickly) just like people, once a dog has hurt his back he is much more likely to do it again. So, this is something that we could be looking at with Tater on and off for the rest of his life.
But at least I know what is now wrong with my "baby." That is very reassuring.
6 hours ago