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 
vet expert or ask other dog owners on our forums.

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Article Categories:
Dogs · Health and Care

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