Paralysis in Dachshunds
Paralysis is defined as the brain’s inability to communicate with different parts of the body. Most of the time, paralysis in dogs is due to a loss of communication between the brain and spinal cord. The condition causes loss of feeling, control, and movement in parts of the body. In some cases, paralysis can also affect the entire body.
Did you know… that according to the Guinness Book of Records, Chanel, a wire-haired dachshund, is the world’s oldest dog? Chanel turned 21 years old on May 6, 2009.
In dachshunds, the most common cause of paralysis is IVDD (intervertebral disc disease or degeneration). IVDD occurs when the back is injured and the discs in between the vertebrae slip or become damaged. A dachshund’s long back and short legs makes them more vulnerable to back injuries and developing paralysis from IVDD.
Other less common causes of paralysis in dachshunds include; hypothyroidism, infection or inflammation of the spine, distemper, and rocky mountain spotted fever (tick paralysis).
Signs and symptoms
- Inability to move all extremities.
- Inability to move rear extremities.
- Dragging rear extremities while walking with front legs.
- Pain in the neck, back, or legs.
- Inability to urinate or loss of bladder control.
- Loss of bowel control or constipation.
Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical exam to assess your dog’s ability to feel pain in the legs, spine, and other parts of the body. A reflex test may also be performed to see how well your doxy responds to touch. During the exam, your vet. will ask you various questions including;
- Did your dog fall or become injured somehow?
- What was your dog doing before he started to show these symptoms?
- Was your dog recently jumping, climbing stairs, or rough playing?
- Is it possible that your dog may have gotten into any toxic substance in your household?
- Has your dog been recently bitten by a tick?
In addition, a CBC (complete blood count) may be done to check for an infection that might be causing the problem. An x-ray will also be ordered to check for; deformities, slipped discs, tumors, and nerve inflammation.
Hospitalization may be necessary in order for your doctor to make a definite diagnosis and create a treatment plan. During this time your dachshund will be carefully monitored. Once a diagnosis is made your doctor will let you know about the status of your dachshund’s condition and what the treatment options are.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of paralysis, for example; if the paralysis is due to infection, antibiotics and other medication will be prescribed. In cases where paralysis is caused by injury such as a slipped disc, medication, surgery, or therapy, or all three may be recommended.
In some cases, dachshunds may become permanently paralyzed. Do not lose hope if faced with this situation; paralyzed dachshunds can live a full and happy life as long as you provide the proper care. Today, there are wheelchairs, diapers, and other useful products that can help give your doxy a high quality life.
In order to care for your dachshund you will also have to learn new things such as; how to express your dachshund’s bladder and how to avoid pressure sores and skin infections.
Preventing paralysis in your dachshund is not always possible, but there are some things you can do to minimize the risks;
- Avoid rough play with your dachshund.
- Maintain your dachshund at a healthy weight.
- Provide your doxy with adequate exercise to strengthen his muscles.
- Take your dog to the vet. immediately after an injury has occurred.
Dachshunds with paralysis can have a normal life. The quality of life your dachshund has all depends on the time and effort you are willing to provide for your beloved companion.
Paralysis in Dogs. PetMD. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/neurological/c_dg_paralysis#.UB7LBaDAETA
Baxamusa, B. N. Paralysis in Dogs. Buzzle. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/paralysis-in-dogs.html