in Dogs, Horses, Ponies, Cats and other species
Paralysis can arise from several causes, including injury and infection. It is basically a loss of use of one or more parts of the body, as a result of loss of nerve function.
The most common paralysis conditions of dogs, seen at the AVMC are radial paralysis (affecting one or other front limb) and thoracolumbar disc disease (affecting the back end). In horses, we have seen a variety of regions affected by nerve injury, especially the thigh and the forelimb. In cats, apart from spinal injury, we have seen a number of cases of iliac thrombosis (which is an ischaemic loss of use of the back legs). We have not treated enough rabbits with Encephalitozoon to offer any valuable information on prognosis but spinal injury cases have been encouraging.
A prolapsed disc, usually thoraco-lumbar, can be a hyper-acute and very painful condition, resulting in paralysis of the hind quarters, often affecting large bowel and bladder. This sudden loss of use is, of course, very frightening but it has to be said that the vast majority of cases we have seen have recovered excellent or good use of the hind legs, with normal bowel and bladder function. We are unable to claim the success to ourselves, since we do not know what would have happened to these dogs, had we not intervened. Surgery has not been necessary in these cases.
Less commonly, damage to an intervertebral disc can also be a slower affair, resulting in back pain and progressive impairment of hind limb movement and action.
If the disc damage occurs in the neck region (cervical disc prolapse), signs and symptoms will differ from the above and recovery has not been so straightforward.
Over the years, the most valuable treatments that we have found for the very many patients presented to us with pain, paralysis or handicap from disc disease or loss of full use of a limb because of nerve damage (and in cases of iliac thrombosis in cats) has been homeopathic medication and Acupuncture or Acupuncture-by-LASER. Chiropractic manipulation (performed in an especially sensitive and gentle way for disc patients) has also been very valuable. Diet work has also proved supportive.
We offer clients advice on management of lifestyle, during the healing phase.
N.B.: Our outcomes have not been so straightforward in post-surgical cases of disc disease.
Treatment options used, often combined, have been veterinary homeopathy, veterinary acupuncture, herbal medicine, LASER and natural feeding. In successful cases, this is clearly a more attractive alternative to surgery or pain killing drug treatment.
For a fuller account of these topics, see: