Dog Paralysis

The causes and treatments of paralysis in dogs.


Congenital/Inherited disorders: Intervertebral disk disease (in Dachshunds, Pekingese, Beagles, and other small breeds), caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy (wobbler syndrome; most common in Dobermans, Great Danes, Borzois, Basset Hounds), or atlantoaxial subluxation (young toy or miniature breeds, occasionally in large breeds, including Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers).

Trauma: Nerve injury, spinal cord injury (spinal fracture or luxation), or intervertebral disk injury.

Tumors: In brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or nerve roots.

Miscellaneous: Fibrocartilagenous embolism (blockage of spinal cord blood vessels with fragments of fibrocartilage, probably from intervertebral disks); granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (an inflammatory disease of the brain/spinal cord, possibly due to a viral infection); paraneoplastic neuropathy (a non-metastatic complication of cancer).

Infectious diseases: Distemper, rabies, or cryptococcus infection (fungal) of spinal column/cord. Note: Never handle a dog who may have rabies. If possible, without touching the dog, confine him in a room, pen, or yard, and call your local animal control for assistance.

Parasites/Parasite-borne diseases: Tick paralysis, chronic ehrlichiosis, or neosporosis (usually in puppies).

Toxicity: Bromethalin (rodenticide).

What to do: Paralysis is always an emergency. Restrain your dog to prevent further injury, then take him to your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Have a family member or friend call ahead to let them know you’re coming.

Disclaimer:’s Dog Medical Conditions are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your dog’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

Have a health question about your dog? Ask our 
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sandy   jupiter, Florida

3/1/2015 6:22:28 PM

Please share more information with me asap.

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TinaL   Castle Rock, Colorado

1/10/2015 3:14:19 PM

My 6 year old lab mix did the same thing. Had a rabies vaccine just 6 mo after having his last due to a dog biting him. Within a few days he couldn’t walk. Things looked grim. We made him a homemade stretcher to get him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis by the neurologist. They gave him meds that had him right back up. The cost to diagnose him was under $800. We had a free exam coupon with a different vet because I wanted an unbiased opinion and they referred us to a neurologist which we immediately went there. A month in a half later I could tell he was beyond 100% recovered so we weaned him from the meds. It could have been life long, so I am happy to say he is in remission.

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Yukidongo   Lexington, North Carolina

7/31/2013 2:11:05 AM

The rabies vaccine IS linked to paralysis in dogs. It is not even NECESSARY after the first 3 year vaccine, as the one covers the entire lifetime of many dogs. My Dad took his Weimaraner to the vet for vaccines, and within an hour of the shot the dog was paralyzed. The treatments you pay for...surgeries, etc...are hit and miss. Co Q 10, Vitamin B Complex, and Vitamin C will come closer to "fixing" your dog than another vet visit. And, MOST vets don't even realize the research has shown the rabies vaccine is the culprit. There were some studies done, and if the dog can survivee 2-3 months, with improvement, that they might live. The paralysis is an ascending one, starting in the hind end and progressing forward until the dog is usually completely paralyzed. The reason is the Rabies vaccine is attenuated, not killed, and the rabies vaccine attacks the CENTRAL Nervous system, demyelinating (stripping the myelin sheath) the nerve. The items mentioned above, along with Omega supplement (fish oil) can help rebuild the sheath. Sometimes, the rabies doesn't stop with paralysis. It progresses to the brain and the dog dies. The dog may even start to recover, and after 3 months or so have a relapse. It is at this point if not sooner, that maybe you re-evaluate the suffering. I am sure that is in the front of most people's minds the entire time, and I know it is hard to let go of a pet family member. The dogs that are affected more by this vaccine paralysis seem to be dogs around 9 yrs and older. I am sure there are younger, and that some breeds have a tendency toward these responses. They seem to be Husky, American Cocker, Akitas, and more. Dogs with white coats, and dogs with dilution genetics--like Merling are included as being potentially at risk. Hope this helps

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

1/28/2013 5:26:14 AM

I have been reading allot of the health issuess in dogs and I have now made a point of knowing where the closes 24 hours emergency dog hospital is located so if something ever happens I will not waste any time getting my dog medical care.

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