Paralysis in Dogs

Paralysis in dogs is a heart breaking and debilitating condition; yet it is still something that dogs can live miraculously through. In most cases paralysis is sudden, but there are a variety of conditions which can cause it. If you have a dog that has recently become paralyzed, you will need to learn the best way to care for him.

Causes of Paralysis

Ticks are largely known for being an annoyance; however many of them carry the detrimental effects of Lyme disease and can also cause paralysis. When a tick bites your dog, there is a transmission of blood and saliva and some ticks carry a neurotoxin. The neurotoxin is extremely poisonous to your dog in that it causes the blood to carry the toxin and it distributes to the vital organs of the body. Cases of this manner usually result in very quick paralysis and a lot of times death shortly thereafter.

If a tumor develops on the spine, it can also lead to a paralysis situation. Not only are tumors harmful and life-threatening when they are malignant, but a tumor can also press on important nerve structures when it is attached to the spine. If the tumor is allowed to progress and grow, the nerves can get to the point of destruction and paralysis will develop. When the cause of paralysis is tumors, the condition will usually occur over time and will first affect the hindquarters and then escalate to capture the front.

Infections are probably the most dangerous culprit of all because they can often be mistaken for a minor issue and most dog owners are not aware that they can lead to paralysis—such as is the case with facial paralysis. It simply starts with a minor ear infection and if not treated, can escalate to causing major damage to the nerve connecting from the face to the brain. Any type of infection in the body can eventually cause damage to vital nerve structures if not treated promptly.

Another known cause of paralysis is Rabies and distemper. When these viruses affect your dog, they actually cause the brain to swell; which in turn causes a lot of extreme nerve destruction in the brain. Not only can these virus lead to paralysis, but they can also lead to death. This is another good reason for vaccination.

Caring for a Paralyzed Dog

Caring for a paralyzed dog entails a lot more work and patience. The reason for this is that paralysis interferes with everything that is natural about a dog's life. They may have trouble licking themselves, limited mobility and difficulty going outside to defecate. This is where a lot of good human intervention is helpful.

If your dog is paralyzed, you will need to make sure to bathe him more regularly. Paralysis in your dog will inhibit his natural ability to lick himself and keep himself clean. A paralyzed dog will either not be able to do this at all or will have a lot of difficulty doing it. So, in order to keep him clean and keep infections at bay, it is imperative that he is bathed very regularly.

Additionally, paralyzed dogs will often get sores from dragging their legs around or from lying around too often. Recognizing these types of sores will require a lot more diligence on your part. Because the sores may be present on an area of the body that is paralyzed, your dog won't even know they are there. In most cases, you will need to keep an antiseptic on hand and some antibacterial ointment to treat these sores when they arise.

Another thing that you will need to become familiar with is bladder incontinence. Many paralyzed dogs no longer have the ability to feel pressure on the bladder indicating that they need to urinate. The best way to work with this is to take your dog outside more often than you normally would. In any case, you should never punish your dog for this behavior.