Why Is My Dogs Back Legs Paralyzed

A dog may become paralyzed for a variety of reasons; the following are some of the most prevalent disorders affecting canine mobility:

  • neurological disorders
  • muscle-skeletal disorders
  • Deficiency Myelopathy
  • melanoma tumors
  • Embolism with Fibrocartilage (FCE)
  • viral illness (Distemper or Rabies)
  • Ticks
  • Trauma or harm
  • the use of insecticides
  • Disease of the Intervertebral Disc
  • spinal harm

Dogs’ paralysis is typically brought on by a spine or brain issue. The communication between a dog’s spine and brain can be interfered with by spinal compression, ruptured discs, and nerve issues. Dogs lose their capacity to walk, stand, and control their legs when the nerves can’t work regularly.

Can a dog regain use of its rear legs?

In dogs, paralysis might affect just the back legs temporarily or permanently, or it can affect all four legs. Dogs frequently have partial or total paralysis and make partial or full recoveries with medical care.

How can I treat my dog’s paralysis of the back leg?

Damage to the peripheral spinal nerves frequently leads to the paralysis of a leg. Injury to the nerve roots in the neck or shoulder, damage to the brachial plexus, or damage to the radial, median, musculocutaneous, or ulnar nerve in the leg are frequently linked to paralysis of the front limb. Injury to the nerve roots in the lower back or tailbone, the network of nerves between the spinal cord and the hind leg (lumbosacral plexus), or the femoral, sciatic, peroneal, or tibial nerve in the leg is typically linked to hind limb paralysis. The most frequent cause of unexpected limb paralysis is trauma.

Paralysis of a leg may be temporary or permanent.

To pinpoint the site of the injury, the animal’s posture and locomotion, spinal reflexes, pain perception, and the health of the muscles in the injured leg are all assessed. Determining the precise location of the injury is crucial because the better the prognosis for healing, the closer the nerve lesion is to the muscle. The location of the nerve damage determines the animal’s ability to flex the joint, bear weight on the leg, and whether or not there are pain receptors and reflexes in various parts of the leg. Muscles begin to deteriorate and lose bulk within a few days as a result of the severed nerve connection. The site of the nerve injury and if the nerve is partially intact can be determined by electrical stimulation of the nerve. Full functional recovery depends on the health of the nerve sheath and the distance between the damage and the muscle where the nerve ends because nerves regenerate slowly (approximately 1 inch per month). Some nerve injuries can heal on their own after a few weeks or months, but when a nerve is completely severed, regeneration requires surgical reattachment.

The odds of recovery are slim if the Horner syndrome, an abnormality of the eyes characterized by small pupils, partially closed eyelids, and elevated third eyelids, is present on the same side of the body as a paralyzed front leg. The prognosis for recovery may be improved if front leg paralysis is not accompanied with Horner syndrome.

To maintain the health of the muscles, tendons, and joints of a paralyzed leg while the nerve is regenerating, your veterinarian may advise applying heat, massaging, and extending the tendons. A light bandage that is not too tight could stop the foot from dragging and suffering harm. To prevent harm to the paw, the leg might be held elevated with a sling or severed if it drags on the ground. Dogs with three legs typically lead happy lives.

Although there is no specific treatment for nerve regeneration, acupuncture and laser therapy may aid in healing. If edema is present, anti-inflammatory medicines may also be beneficial. The likelihood of recovery is good if voluntary mobility, pain perception, and spinal reflexes all improve over the course of one to two months. The dog might need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop biting at its leg. Amputation might be the best course of action if the animal is gnawing on the limb and the nerve damage is thought to be permanent. To determine whether any regeneration will take place, it is advisable to wait 36 months before cutting the limb off.

Canine paralysis be treated?

You must provide a detailed history of your dog’s health, the development of symptoms, and any possible events that may have contributed to this disease, such as recent tick bites or wounds sustained from falling or leaping. Your dog’s ability to move its legs and its response to reflex tests will be closely scrutinized by your veterinarian during the examination. The vet will examine your dog’s head, spine, and legs for indications of pain and responsiveness to touch in addition to testing your dog’s capacity to feel pain in all four legs.

All of these factors will assist your vet in determining whether part of your dog’s spine, nerves, or muscles are experiencing a problem. A complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urine analysis are among the fundamental laboratory tests that will be performed. These tests can help identify whether your dog has a bacterial, viral, or toxin-based infection that is obstructing the nerve pathway. X-rays of your dog’s spine could reveal signs of a slipped disc impinging on the spinal cord, an infection, a deformity of the vertebrae, or both. On an x-ray, tumors, obstructions, or irritated nerves can all be disorders that can cause disruption of the neural pathways.

Your veterinarian may occasionally recommend a myelogram, a specialized x-ray. In this procedure, a contrasting chemical (dye) is injected into the spinal column, and then x-ray images are taken to provide a clearer view of the spinal cord and vertebrae for the physician. Your veterinarian may request a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance image (MRI) of your dog’s brain and spine if these imaging methods are ineffective. Both of these imaging procedures provide a very detailed view of your dog’s brain and spine. Your dog’s doctor may occasionally take a sample of the fluid surrounding its spine for analysis or a biopsy of its muscles or nerve fibers. These analyses could reveal whether there is an infection in the spine or brain.


The treatment plan will be determined by what caused your dog’s paralysis. Your dog will likely be admitted to the hospital while your veterinarian attempts to make a diagnosis if it is unable to move, urinate, or defecate on its own. After that, your dog will be checked on regularly by your veterinarian to track its recuperation and advancement. If your dog is in agony, medicine will be provided to help control the pain, a catheter will be used to empty your dog’s bladder several times each day, and you will shift your dog physically throughout the day to prevent sores from developing from resting in one spot for too long. If an infection or slipped disc is the source of the paralysis, the problem will be addressed with medication, surgery, or rehabilitation. To treat inflamed nerves, anti-inflammatory medications will be administered. Surgical correction may be necessary for tumors or blood supply obstructions, depending on how vulnerable the area is. Some paralyzed dogs make a complete recovery. Depending on the severity of the ailment, your veterinarian may decide to send your dog home with you along with instructions for at-home care and recovery, or your dog may be kept in the hospital until it is able to walk. Your dog’s therapy will be changed as necessary thanks to a plan your veterinarian will set up for progress checks.

Living and Management

You can create a strategy for caring for your dog at home with the assistance of your veterinarian. Your dog could occasionally fight your treatment because of their discomfort, but firm and kind care will help to calm their anxious responses. If at all feasible, enlist the assistance of a second person to hold the dog while you are providing treatment, or swaddle the dog to prevent excessive wriggling.

It’s crucial that you take good care of your dog so that it can heal entirely. Pay close attention to all of your veterinarian’s directions. Even when your dog seems to be totally recovered, make sure to finish the course of medication your veterinarian ordered. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you have any concerns about how to care for your dog. Do not give your dog any drugs, including painkillers, without first talking to your doctor because some human pharmaceuticals can be poisonous to animals. A special wheelchair (cart) may be provided to your dog in some circumstances if the paralysis cannot be addressed but your dog is otherwise healthy. Most dogs that pull carts adapt well and carry on living happy lives. It goes without saying that if your dog has a crippling ailment, it should be neutered or spayed to prevent the possibility of future harm via breeding.

Can a dog suddenly paralyze itself?

A veterinarian needs to be called straight away if an animal experiences abrupt paralysis. MRI alterations suggesting a possible fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). The brilliant white area inside the spinal cord (arrows) is most consistent with a reduction in blood flow from a blood artery occlusion.

Is keeping a paralyzed dog alive cruel?

Loss of movement can cause unhappiness in your dog as well as additional health problems including obesity. You should speak with your veterinarian to thoroughly understand your dog’s condition and to decide on a treatment plan before making any difficult decisions. Your dog may benefit from rehabilitation, stay stable, or continue to lose the use of his limbs depending on the reason of the paralysis.

It can be useful to observe your dog’s behavior and contrast it to how he behaved when he was completely mobile in order to comprehend his current lifestyle and level of satisfaction. Query yourself on things like:

  • Does my dog consume the right quantity of food?
  • Is he pumped or drained?
  • Does he still show signs of wanting to play or walk around?
  • Is he in any pain or discomfort?
  • Does he seem awake?
  • He seems “odd,” or is he acting like his “usual self”?

Dogs who are paralyzed or only partially paralyzed are frequently nonetheless fully capable of leading happy, comfortable lives. They still appear to be interested in playing, are awake and animated when they see you, and keep up a normal appetite.

Look into mobility devices that can increase your dog’s range of motion and enable him to keep enjoying life by your side if your veterinarian confirms that he isn’t in discomfort and is just having problems moving around.

Can a paraplegic dog still wag its tail?

Additionally, they are unable to express themselves by the voluntary wag of their tails, yet they still instinctively do so. Olby stated, “If you squeezed their toe, they might wag, but it wouldn’t be the joyful, voluntary wag of things like, ‘Here’s your meal,’ or ‘I’ve arrived home.

Should a dog that is unable to walk be put down?

This type of death is a little easier to deal with when our extremely old pet passes away peacefully or “naturally” We were prepared for it, it happened peacefully as we slept, and we were not required to choose.

The decision may be simple if our elderly pet is found to have an illness for which there is no cure. The animal is in pretty horrible shape. They have no appetite and are really ill and depressed. We may perform euthanasia with a fair amount of assurance that we are doing morally since we can see and hear the evidence. The animal lived a long, happy life. We needed to address their blatant misery.

When our pet is really old and weak yet is still eating well, things might get confused. If they are actually in such much pain that they are considering euthanasia, we expect them to cease eating. Frequently, this is not the case. Animals are built to tolerate and conceal suffering. Even when their eyes are still brilliant and sparkly, we need to watch out for hints of sorrow. even though they always wag their tails and say hello to us. Take a look at how difficult it is for them to move around. They walk limpingly, have a short stride, and are rigid. Even with little effort, they pant heavily for a very long period. They can have trouble getting up and lying down and urinate and defecate within the home. They drop. They dislike having slick flooring.

This pet actually experiences everyday discomfort from advanced, crippling arthritis. Our pets desire to be useful, mobile, and cozy. As our pets age, their muscle deteriorates to nothing. Extreme discomfort from arthritis might result from a lack of muscle. Their mobility and function deteriorate dramatically as they are unable to withstand the discomfort any longer. This pet doesn’t want to live like this and wants to be free of it.

There is never a good time to put down a pet. Just a period of time during which this pet would genuinely enjoy relief from the nagging, constant, and excruciating lack of function and mobility. Daily painkillers for arthritis can improve mobility temporarily, but eventually old age takes over and becomes too severe for any medication to be helpful.

Another circumstance to talk about is whether or not to spend money on bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasounds, and biopsies when you have an elderly pet who has significant weight loss, is sluggish, and is eating less. Some people must genuinely try to discover solutions in order to avoid feeling guilty. They proceed with the examination because, absent more specific information, it would appear hard to decide whether to put a patient to death. (Remember that there are limitations to our medical advancements. There are innumerable unanswered questions.) Some individuals choose not to proceed with a stressful examination of an elderly pet because they don’t see the need in subjecting them to invasive procedures like surgery or chemotherapy. They try straightforward therapies such daily pain medications and antibiotics up till the quality of life is low.

The conversation and availability of materials about quality of life, indicators of suffering, and when to euthanize ought to be much more widespread, in my opinion. We can care for our dogs better the more we know.