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Dr. Duncan
Dr. Duncan, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 244
Experience:  DVM from UF, Internship in Surgery and Internal Med; ER vet; 11 years of veterinary experience
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My dog's back legs are paralyzed. What should I do?

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My 2 year old Pitbull seems to be paralyzed in his hind legs. He doesn't seem to be in pain, just in discomfort. Other pitbull owners told me it may be worms. Can you tell me what it is and how to treat it at home?

I'm sorry to hear about your dog.
Is it possible he may have suffered from any injuries to his hind end?

How much Tylenol have you given and have you been giving the Tylenol and aspirin together?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

No possible sign of external injury he is housed in his kennel for most of the day and let out for apprx 1 hour of run time.

Thursday morning 2 tylenol

Friday morning 2 tylenol

Saturday monrning 2 tylenol

Saturday eve 1 aspirin

Sunday morning 1 asprin

Thanks for the additional information. I think your dog really needs to be examined by a vet. Based on what you are describing it sounds like he may have herniated a disk in his back. Other possible causes of paralysis can include a stroke to the back end. If he did herniate a disk and is not able to walk there is also a strong possibility that he isn't able to urinate appropriately because the nerves that go to the bladder are always compressed in dogs that can't use their hind legs due to disk disease (because these nerves are near the nerves to legs in the spinal cord and if one is compressed the other is too).

Usually when disk disease leads to paralysis it is a surgical condition. Surgery to remove the disk material that has herniated in the spinal canal needs to be performed if there is any hope of him walking again. Surgery can cost thousands. After 72 hours of paralysis there is a very strong chance that even with surgery these patients won't walk again.

If he suffered from a stroke, there is a chance that he may slowly regain function of his legs with time; however unfortunately many of these dogs never walk again.

It sounds like he is really painful and that leads me to believe this is disk related. I think he needs an exam by a vet to see if there is a chance to help him recover (be it with surgery or with medications).

Tylenol is toxic to dogs and should not be given any more. Usually dogs that have been given Tylenol will vomit at first but Tylenol can cause the kidneys to shut down and can cause seizures if the dose is high enough. In addition, Tylenol can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding in the intestines.
Aspirin is a bit safer although still carries risk for bleeding of the intestines.
For now I would not give any more of either of these medications. He needs to be on heavy pain medication and steroids. In addition muscle relaxants should be prescribed. Depending on where you live some of these medications may be available to you over the counter.

I have attached some information on disc disease for you to read. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. I hope that everything turns out okay but I'm really worried right now for both of you.

http://www.vin.com/Members/SearchDB/vp/vpa02373.html

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for letting me know about the Tylenol.

I tried going to the website that was suggested but it asked me for a security password.

I had another question that is relevant to my original question. Could worms cause dysfunction to the hind legs because my dog can stand and move around but when he gets excited and walks and wags his tail he starts walking like he is constipated and wants to make number 2.

The first sign of this weird behavior and before the medication was given to him, his stool was very dark and hard and once a day unlike his normal light brown and soft and three to five times daily.

I'm so sorry I attached the wrong link! Try this one instead this is the one for non-members of that site:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2373

It sounds like he is standing with his back arched that his back may be painful but he could be constipated. Alternatively his colon could be inflamed which will cause dogs to posture to defecate very frequently because they feel like they have to "go". The best home remedy for this is adding canned pumpkin to his food with each meal. Approximately 1 tablespoon for a 50 pound dog 2-3 times per day will help with fiber and keeping the stool soft but also from being too dry.

I still am skeptical that worms are to blame for any of the symptoms you have described. If you are really worried about worms the easy solution is to have a fecal sample checked under the microscope for eggs by your vet. The deworming medications sold in the pet stores are generally not effective and would probably be a waste of money unfortunately. The deworming medications your vet can send home are usually very inexpensive which is a good thing. Again, I would be very surprised if these symptoms are from worms.

I'm relieved to hear that he is walking but still worried that he could have a serious back injury.

Be sure to let your vet know if his stool becomes dark and tarry or if he has any vomiting (especially if there is blood present or if the vomit looks like coffee grounds) which could mean he has an ulcer or bleeding of the intestines in the case of the dark tarry stool.

Please be in touch and let me know if this helps.

Dr. Duncan and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I Have a few More Questions

If it Is a Herinated Disk then why Can he Still Move His Tail And Walk Ah Little

wouldn't His Whole Back part Of His Body Not Be able To move.

One More Thing It Seem like It Is Getting Worse This Incident Happen Last Week Monday And Ever since Then He Couldn't Move as Much As The Day Before.is that the signs of herinated Disk?

He Acts Normal like Just Another Day But Right When He Walks He Collapse.

Thank you Doctor For Helping it is Very Hard When you Don't Know Whats Going On With your Dog .

Thank you

mike

Sure thing. I will try to answer these for you. It's hard to say for sure exactly what is going on since were are trouble-shooting over the internet but this is my best guess:

If it Is a Herinated Disk then why Can he Still Move His Tail And Walk Ah Little

wouldn't His Whole Back part Of His Body Not Be able To move?

-the amount of compression on his spinal cord with disk herniation controls how much or how little he would be able to walk. Dogs with disk disease are often able to walk if the spinal compression is not severe enough to wipe out their nerves that control walking (motor nerves), similarly to people with disk disease, but are very painful and need antiinflammatories to help with the pain and to reduce spinal cord swelling.

One More Thing It Seem like It Is Getting Worse This Incident Happen Last Week Monday And Ever since Then He Couldn't Move as Much As The Day Before.is that the signs of herinated Disk?

-This symptom is not in and of itself pointing to disk disease however disk disease can become worse if left untreated and therefore this could be a sign of worsening disk herniation. This is a non specific sign but it does worry me that he is gettin worse with time. Dogs with disk disease need to be rested for 4-6 weeks to prevent the affected disk from pushing down on the spinal cord with more force and causing paralysis.

Take care and let me know how he does and what the vet says.

Dr. Duncan and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank You Dr Ducan

Lets Keep In Touch And Youv'e been A Blessing

Thankyou Godbless