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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28968
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog just came home yesterday. He ingested rat poisoning,

Customer Question

Hello. My dog Russell just came home yesterday. He ingested rat poisoning, and is being treated with vitamin K. We had initially taken him to the vet because of a cough, and they gave us some antibiotics and sent us home. Two days later he wasn't moving. We took him in and figured he'd ingested rat poison, so they started him on the Vitamin K. However, he has lost feeling in his back legs so is unable to walk. The Dr says he's not sure if he will ever recover fully and be able to walk again. Have you seen something like this before? Have you seen dogs recover and be able to walk again?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

To answer you directly, permanent neurologic dysfunction is expected if bleeding has occurred in Russell's central nervous system - brain and/or spinal cord. It's unclear to me, however, how an anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning was determined. Were Russell's bleeding times (PT, PTT, or PIVKA) prolonged? Was there a history of exposure to d-CON or a similar anticoagulant rodenticide? Nociception (deep pain perception) is the most important prognostic indicator in these cases. If nociception is lost, ~50% of dogs will recover if treated with decompressive surgery if that's an option as determined by MRI. Without surgery, permanent paralysis must always be considered.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Russell. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I suppose he is slowly recovering. Still doesn't move around too much during the day, actually he hasn't changed much since we brought him home on Friday. He is walking some, but he has lost all feeling in his back toes, and so they curl back when he tries to walk. We did wrap them to try to get them to stay in their normal position. The vet here did recommend an MRI .. But that is just too expensive for us. Was just wondering what the odds of him walking again would be .. If you've seen recovery with this type of thing.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the update. It's difficult to prognosticate because I don't know the cause of his myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) nor the extent of spinal damage. He has lost conscious proprioception as evidence by his feet "curling back" but he's not totally paralyzed and he does has nociception which is a positive prognostic sign. He should be on a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam at this time to keep inflammation at bay in his spinal cord. He can recovery but recovery can be quite protracted - weeks to months.