Dog Paralysis Causes

Dog paralysis can be sudden, or it can have a step by step onset. Paralysis may affect the limbs or the face, and this can be a reversible or a permanent state. The causes of paralysis range from tick bites to tumors. Detecting the cause of the paralysis can help the vet establish the best course of action, and see if the condition can be reversed.

Tick Paralysis

Ticks can cause paralysis through bites. The saliva of ticks contains toxins, and if these enter the bloodstream, they will affect the body and cause paralysis. The paralysis is progressive, starting with symptoms such as weakness in the limbs, and occurs within 2 to 7 days after the tick bite.

If you live in an area populated by ticks or you go on trips in mountainous areas, it's important to examine your dog to find possible ticks and remove them before they inject the toxins in the blood flow. If not removed, a tick can be fatal, as it may cause respiratory paralysis.

Accidents and Trauma

A dog that has been in an accident and suffers from trauma may experience temporary paralysis due to the shock. The vet will perform a full body exam on your pet to see if there is any damage. If the dog’s organs and limbs are not affected, the paralysis may be only temporary.

Malignant Tumors

Tumors can cause paralysis; the affected area will depend on the location of the tumor. If the tumor is located in the brain, it may affect one or both sides of the face or even the entire right or left side of the pet. Spinal tumors can affect the limbs and cause paralysis. The paralysis may be temporary if the tumor is removed.

Peripheral Vestibular Disorder

Peripheral vestibular disorder may cause facial paralysis. The disorder originates in the brain and the connecting nerves. The dog loses his balance and cannot control his limbs. The causes of peripheral vestibular disorder include viral and bacterial infections, blood circulation problems, brain disorders and certain medications. It may also be a genetic disorder.

Neck or Spinal Cord Injury

A neck or spinal injury can occur during an accident (i.e., slipping on ice). Typically, a spinal cord injury causes permanent damage and may affect the front or the back limbs, or cause paralysis on the right or left side. The affected nerve can regenerate, but this can take a lot of time and the dog will never regain his normal functions. Physical therapy is essential to help your pet recover and maintain muscles tone. In some cases, amputation is the only solution. However, dogs can adapt to live with 3 limbs.

Botulinus Intoxication

Even though botulism is rare in dogs, it may cause facial paralysis and can also spread to the limbs. Botulism is an illness caused by a toxin, and can be acquired through the ingestion of infected foods or by contamination of a wound with the bacterium.