Causes of Sudden Dog Paralysis

A sudden case of dog paralysis is a frightening thing for any pet owner. There are a number of reasons why your pet may suddenly be experiencing a loss of coordination or mobility. Most of these causes are treatable if identified early enough, and a dog that has suffered partial paralysis can oftentimes go on to lead a healthy and normal life following treatment. However, if you fail to address your dog's paralysis quickly enough, the condition can escalate quickly and may result in death or permanent damage.

Complications from a Tick Bite

The leading cause of dog paralysis is tick bites. Some ticks inject a neurotoxin into your dog's system as they bite, and dogs may react to this in different ways. In rare cases, or if your dog has a severe tick infestation with lots of bites, he may experience a sudden paralysis. It is crucial that you address this issue as quickly as possible, as the paralysis can spread throughout his body and may even be fatal if left untreated. Common symptoms of tick bite paralysis include loss of coordination and vomiting. You may also notice a change in the quality or sound of your pet's bark. Fortunately, tick bite paralysis is treated easily with veterinary medicine.

Bacterial Infections

Meningitis, rabies and other infections that may spread to the brain can cause paralysis in certain animals. These bacterial infections are often brought about through contact with wild animals or when your pet ingests a harmful non-food item in the house or outdoors. Identification of the condition depends upon other concurrent symptoms like fever, vomiting and diarrhea. A veterinary diagnosis is necessary before you can begin to address the specific infection.

Complications of the Spinal Column

There are at least two different ways in which spinal injuries and conditions may result in partial or total paralysis. In smaller dogs, degenerative disc disease leads to a breakdown of the protective layer that surrounds one or more of your pet's spinal discs. After a certain degree of degeneration, the disc itself will slip out of place and can lead to extreme pain and, oftentimes, paralysis. In these cases, surgical treatment may be necessary.

Larger dogs often fall victim to a disorder called fibrocartilaginous embolism, which results in a small portion of a spinal disc breaking off of your pet's spinal column and blocking blood flow to a portion of his body. The result is a painless and often temporary paralysis that starts suddenly and resolves itself within a couple of weeks. This type of paralysis will not spread throughout your pet's body. Although there isn't any specific treatment available for this case, it is still crucial that you take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as you see any signs of paralysis in your pet.

By treating your pet's paralysis quickly and responsibly, you and your vet can increase your pet's mobility and prevent these uncomfortable and potentially serious conditions from spreading further.