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Ola Barrett
Ola Barrett,
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 271
Experience:  Veterinarian at Lake Chatuge Animal Hospital
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My dog has lost most mobility in her legs in the past 2-3

Customer Question

My dog has lost most mobility in her legs in the past 2-3 days. It seems that her left side is worse than the right and that both her back legs are a lot worse then the front. She has shown no signs of pain or discomfort when I put pressure on her legs or move them. I found 2 ticks on her right around when this began and I am wondering if this could possibly be Tick Fever? Something similar happened to another dog I had a few years ago and about 2 days after I found and extracted the tick she started to regain mobility and within 3 days was fine again.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 1 year ago.

Hello I am Dr RB and I am a small animal veterinarian. I am so sorry that Holly is having trouble. Progressive weakness in the hind limbs have several rule out diagnoses so it is impossible without other diagnostics to be certain if tick paralysis is the cause. However, if you found the ticks on her and the location is consistent with the limbs that are affected, it is very likely. Tick paralysis affects the peripheral nerves primarily so you would see progressive weakness and/or partial paralysis in the affected limbs. However, another disease process that would present very similarly to this would be intervertebral disc disease involving degeneration or traumatic propulsion of disc material into the spinal column causing impingement and inflammation of the spinal cord. This would affect motor and sensory function at the spinal cord level and secondarily the affected limbs depending on the location in the spinal cord that was affected. Determination of a herniated disc would require imaging such as spinal x-rays, MRI or CT. Return to motor function would require veterinary intervention either through medication to reduce inflammation in the cord and/or surgery to remove the disc material.

A couple of test you can perform on Holly are this... Put her on a tabletop and while supporting her underneath, place her back paws upside down so that the top of the foot in on the surface of the table. Does she automatically flip it right side up or is this delayed or absent? Also pinch the skin in between her toes and observe her for a reaction such as looking at her foot or you and trying to pull her leg away from you. If she passes both of these tests, then tick paralysis would be more likely given that only peripheral nerves are affected and her proprioceptive and/or sensory function isn't compromised. However, if she doesn't respond well to these tests, I would be more concerned about a disc herniation affected her at the level of the spinal column. To be safe and give you peace of mind, it may be easiest for you to schedule a visit with your regular veterinarian to help you sort all of this out. Let me know if I can be of any more help to you?

Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 1 year ago.
Hi Cj,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Holly. How is everything going?
Ola Barrett