- Health Library
- PetMD U
The course of treatment will depend on the cause of your dog's paralysis. If your dog is unable to walk, urinate, or defecate on its own, it will most likely be admitted into hospital while your veterinarian works to settle on a diagnosis. From there your veterinarian will monitor your dog daily to follow its recovery and progress. If your dog is in pain, it will be given medication to help manage the pain, its bladder will be emptied several times per day by catheter, and it will be physically adjusted throughout the day to make sure that it does not get sores from lying in one place for too long. If the cause of the paralysis is infection or a slipped disc, the condition will be treated with either medicine, surgery or therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs will be used to reduce inflamed nerves. Tumors or blockages of blood supply may be repaired surgically, depending on the vulnerability of the location. Some paralyzed dogs recover very quickly. Depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may be kept in hospital until it is able to walk, or your veterinarian may send your dog home with you with a guideline for home care and recovery. Your veterinarian will set up a plan for progress checks so that your dog's treatment can be adjusted accordingly.
Your veterinarian will help you to make a plan for caring for your dog at home. At times your dog may resist your care because of pain, but firm and gentle care will help to diffuse the fearful reactions. If possible, ask a second person to help hold the dog while you are administering care, or swaddle the dog so that it cannot squirm too much.
It is important that you care for your dog properly so it can recover completely. Follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions carefully. If your veterinarian has prescribed medication, be sure to administer the full course, even after your dog appears to have fully recovered. If you have any questions or problems caring for your dog, ask your veterinarian for help, and do not give pain relievers, or any other drug to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian, as some human medications can be toxic to animals. In some cases, if the paralysis cannot be treated but your dog is otherwise healthy, your dog may be outfitted with a special wheelchair (cart) to help it get around. Most dogs with carts adjust well and continue to enjoy their lives. Needless to say, if your dog has been affected with a paralyzing condition, it should be neutered or spayed so that it does not risk being further injured by mating.
A bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body
A disease of the bone marrow or of the spine
Paralysis of the legs in humans; paralysis of the hind limbs in quadrupeds
A type of paralysis that may be only slight; affects the way that an animal is able to move
The paralysis of an animal’s four limbs; quadriplegia
A picture that is taken of the spinal cord after dye is injected; may also be used to take a count of white blood cells
Any growth or organ on an animal that is not normal
The exiting of excrement from the body; bowel movements.
The blockage of a vessel by an object, like air or fat
The collection of something in a blood vessel
The padding found between the vertebrae that keeps them from rubbing together
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.