My dog can’t stand, what do I do?

April 13, 2012

Dogs are naturally energetic and playful animals. Due to the high exercise requirements, dog owners would make sure that the pet is provided with opportunities to expend excess energies every day otherwise the dog will develop destructive behaviors. Dogs make wonderful jogging and hiking companion. It is not uncommon for a child to form a legendary attachment with a dog because of the playful nature of this animal. Imagine how pitiful a dog can be if it would not be able to join in the activities of the family because for some reasons the pet cannot stand.

An accident or a fight with other animals can make the dog limp. However, in spite of the limp, it would still be very difficult to keep this very active animal from moving. Only a debilitating condition would keep the dog in one place and prevent it from doing its usual activities. Because dogs are well loved animals, pet parents would be very apprehensive if the dog is noticed to be incapable of standing. Serious injuries sustained from a fight with other dogs, falling from heights are the common reasons for this condition. Degenerative diseases that are most common in aging dogs can be the reason why the pet would lose the function of the legs. A dog suffering from debilitating pain caused by arthritis would have movement difficulties. Even the simple task of standing would have the dog trembling in pain.

A common reason why the dog would lose the function of the legs is limb paralysis. Limb paralysis can strike any age and any breed of dog – ANYTIME! Limb paralysis can be associated with neurological diseases, with nerve damage resulting from trauma and injuries or with viral, fungal and bacterial infections. Paralysis will make a dog lose muscle function. The dog would be very lucky if the paralysis is only temporary. The inability of the pet to move can also be a permanent condition. Paralysis is a frightening condition as aside from the fact that it can debilitate the pet anytime, the various causes make diagnosing the condition a challenge. A dog owner has to seek immediate veterinary attention to give the pet better chance of recovery.

Limb paralysis affects both the front and the hind legs although the hind legs are commonly affected. Due to the loss of muscle functions, the dog will not be able to bear weight on the legs thus standing and walking would be very difficult. The dog may be suffering from radical nerve paralysis. This condition is typified by the inability to use the front legs. The largest nerve in the dog’s front legs is the radial nerve. This nerve supplies the dog’s front legs and paws with sensation. This nerve also allows the dog to extend the elbows, the wrist and the toes. Falling from heights, being hit by a car and other related injuries that cause severe damage to the radical nerve would lead to paralysis. Parasite infestation is another reason why the dog cannot stand. Paralysis can start 2 to 3 days after ticks have latched onto the dog’s body. This kind of paralysis though is temporary. The dog will be up and about once the tick infestation is eradicated.

Dogs that have limited mobility are referred to as down dogs. This disability does not mean the end of the life of the pet. With a caring owner, the dog can still have a fulfilling life. Dogs that cannot stand would need special care. Muscle degeneration resulting from misuse of the legs, soft tissue damage as well as pressure sores have to be prevented. Physical therapy will be necessary to keep the muscles flexible. The dog would need to be kept clean as well as the disability will keep the dog from going to its own bathroom. Owners of dogs with limited mobility need to have immense patience and understanding for the pet.

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