Dog Manual


Paralysis Of The Hind Legs


Although paralysis in dogs may occur in the jaws, forelegs, or in groups of muscles in other parts of the body, the most common manifestations are in the hind legs. Paralysis of the hind legs is known as posterior paralysis. The attack may be rather mild, in which case it is often transitory in nature and is readily amenable to routine treatment.

Conversely, the attack may be rather severe, in which case it may be entirely resistant to the entire gamut of medical alternatives. Posterior paralysis is ordinarily caused by pressure, injury, or degeneration of the nerves or the part of the spinal cord that are associated with the proper functioning of the hind limbs.

Thus the condition may come about as a result of a back injury, a spinal growth, or an intestinal obstruction. Also it may result from obscure nervous diseases, senility, a heavy tick infestation, or from certain infectious diseases such as distemper.
A Typical Case of Hind Leg Paralysis

The condition may develop gradually with signs of a progressive lameness that finally culminates in paralysis, but more often it appears suddenly. When paralysis sets in, the affected limbs may hang limply or they may acquire a characteristic stiffness. This inconvenience may cause the pet some concern, but often the animal appears quite normal in every other respect.

Where the paralysis is due to an intestinal obstruction, the elimination of the obstruction usually results in the disappearance of the paralysis. This may be done by an enema or by internal manipulation with instruments. Good nutrition, proper hygiene, massage, hot packs, and nerve tonics may be indicated, but most often, these treatments are to no avail. In the average case, it may be suggested that if treatment does not yield any positive results in about seven days, then the only humane measure is to put the animal to sleep.