Dog Has Sudden Paralysis in Back Legs

Ask any dog owner and you will be told that they always want their pet dogs to run around and play with their kids. In short, active and alert dogs are always preferred. However, sometimes there may be situations wherein dogs tend to lose control of their hind legs. Although such situations are temporary in nature, it does create huge problems for dogs. They find it too difficult to walk around confidently like before and are always seen lying down in one spot for long hours.

When your dog loses control of its back legs, it may prove to be a very concerning situation for you. This may be due to some underlying medical condition. It is better not to take it lightly as it may get serious with time.

Causes behind This Problem

There may be several medical issues that may cause your dog to lose control of its hind legs on a temporary basis. Some of the major causes are discussed below for your knowledge.

  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This is basically a medical term that refers to a disease of the spinal cord. Degenerative myelopathy is often inherited and is generally found in large breed dogs, such as German Shepherds. If this condition happens, the myelin sheath that protects and also surrounds the nerves within the spine, tend to deteriorate. Once the deterioration progresses, there will be a point where the nerve fibers get exposed. As a result of this, the brain and the spinal cord tend to lose the power to communicate with each other. In other words, the brain fails to send out signals accurately for the body to move normally. As the disease progresses, there will be more noticeable weakness, such as complete paralysis of the back legs. The final stages may prove to be too painful for the dog forcing the pet owner to euthanize the pet.
  • Tick Bites: You will be surprised to know that tick bites may also cause sudden paralysis in dogs. This may result in your pet losing control of its hind legs. Ticks can easily feed on a host for six days straight. In the process, it produces a neurotoxin that is the primary cause of the paralysis. Once this happens, it may take as long as a week for the symptoms to become visible. The paralysis sets in on the hind legs first followed by the fore legs. When you notice such a condition in your pet, you need to rush the animal to a vet immediately. If you ignore it, the problem may easily spread to various other parts of the dog’s body. As a result of this, more serious symptoms may become visible. Taking your pet to the vet will help the professional get rid of the neurotoxin in time. The vet can also reverse the paralysis if proper treatment is administered on time. It is needless to say that a good prognosis will depend on how early you can detect the issue and get it treated by a vet.
  • Disc Disease: When you talk about a disc disease, it may signify that it may also be causing your pet to lose control of its hind legs temporarily. This may happen due to a disc within the spinal cord herniation or rupturing. As a result of this, severe inflammation and pain will take place that may give rise to different other symptoms. These symptoms will largely depend on the exact location of the disc that had ruptured along the spinal cord. Some of the most common causes of disc disease is conformation and old age. The discs along the spine will gradually lose their flexibility and their natural ability to absorb shock. This will lead to paralysis, leg weakness, and stiffness or back pain. When it comes to proper treatment, there are proper rests and medications. However, if the situation is pretty serious, then a surgery may be needed. You may also have to get your dog on a wheelchair to get rid of the pain.

Thromboembolism: In dogs, the most likely type of blood clot is aortic thromboembolism. It triggers a weakness in the hind legs that leads to paralysis. Pain in the hind legs followed by paralysis are the most common indicators of this disease. However, general weakness may also happen in some dogs. Even if you try to, you will fail to feel a pulse in the hind leg of your pet’s femoral arteries. Sometimes, you may also notice that your dog is having difficulties in breathing.

Leave a comment