There was a time not so long ago that a diagnosis of paralysis would automatically mean euthanizing your dog. Thankfully, the opinions are changing and it is now much more common to see a paralyzed dog living their best lives, running and playing in their wheelchairs!
What Causes Dog Paralysis?
There are many ways a dog can become paralyzed. Many dog breeds have a genetic pre-disposition to illnesses that cause paralysis such as Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) or Degenerative Myopathy (DM), traumatic injuries such as falls or abuse can cause the loss of mobility, as well as old age illnesses such as arthritis.
Paralysis doesn't only occur in older dogs, it's even possible for a dog to be born paralyzed. Paralysis can occur in one, two, or all legs. Dogs showing signs of paralysis such as: dragging limbs, weakness, pain, or inability to walk properly need to be treated by their veterinarian immediately. Depending on the cause, immediate treatment may mean a better recovery.
Sudden Paralysis in Dogs
Most often sudden paralysis impacts a dog's hindquarters. Any signs of paralysis are cause for immediate concern, even temporary or partial paralysis. Seek veterinary help immediately if your dog shows any signs of paralysis.
Fibrocartilaginous Embolism or Spinal Stroke
A spinal stroke or FCE can cause sudden paralysis in dogs. An FCE occurs when cartilage from a spinal disc breaks off and blocks blood flow in the spinal cord. By interrupting the blood flow to the brain the dog suffers a stroke and can lose mobility in their back legs. Fibrocartilaginous embolisms generally occur while a dog is active and occurs suddenly.
How Can I Treat Paralysis?
Not all paralysis is a permanent condition. Many joint and muscle issues can be helped with surgery and physical therapy. If your paralyzed dog has had a nerve related injury, the recovery will depend on the nerve sheath condition and how far the injury is from where the nerve ends.
While some nerve damage can resolve over many weeks or months. Giving your dog massages, applying heat and stretching the tendons will help keep them healthy while the nerve regenerates. Acupuncture, laser therapy, and hydrotherapy have also shown to be helpful in rehabbing paralyzed limbs and may be prescribed, as well as anti-inflammatory medications and steroids to reduce inflamed nerves.
While that is only a question you and your veterinarian can answer, there have been so many advancements in the way veterinary professionals are thinking about paralysis and dogs quality of life. The good news is that paralysis does not have to be an end of life decision. If your dog is happy and showing no signs of pain there is no reason to euthanize your pup and with just a little extra help from you, they are able to live normal, active lives!
Dog wheelchairs are an incredible tool that help paralyzed pets regain their mobility and live normal, active lives. Dog mobility carts improve the quality of life for paralyzed and handicapped dogs around the world. Since 2001, Walkin' Pets has helped change the lives and mobility of over 1.5 million dogs!
What Do I Need to Help My Paralyzed Dog?
A paralyzed pet will have additional needs, luckily with a little assistance they can go on to live a relatively normal life. Most importantly your dog needs to be able to get their exercise.
The first thing to pick up for your paralyzed dog would be a wheelchair! The rear wheelchair can help get your best friend up and mobile. They will be able to go out to the bathroom, go on walks, and play! The wheelchair can also prevent further injury such as pressure sores and rubbing from dragging their weight.
Indoor mobility can be greatly improved with the help of the Walkin' Scooter! The scooter glides around corners quietly and will not damaged your base boards or furniture.
Finally, a lifting harness would be a great start to helping your paralyzed dog. A rear harness will help you get your dog up the stairs, into the car, outside for your dog to go to the bathroom, and around on short walks!