Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion Average Cost

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What is Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion?

Spinal injuries have many internal causes, but are most commonly caused by physical trauma. For this reason, often dogs with spinal cord lesion that could cause paralysis are experiencing extreme trauma, such as multiple organ traumas. In some cases, spinal cord lesions do not cause paralysis but do cause irregularities in movement, the most common being Schiff-Sherrington posture.

A lesion to the spinal cord, whether caused by internal or external factors, can cause partial or total paralysis. Common cases of paralysis include the Schiff-Sherrington phenomenon. The specifics of Schiff-Sherrington involve a severe lesion to the second lumbar vertebrae, causing seriously exaggerated posture in the upper extremities. It's known as a release phenomenon as it is released from an inhibitory influence normally exerted by the spinal segments below where the transection occurs.


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Symptoms of Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

  • Inability to walk or stand
  • Unusual gait
  • Paralysis in a specific limb or area of the body
  • Total paralysis
  • Numbness to pain in areas below injury
  • Hyperthermia

Causes of Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

  • Internal
    • Disk herniation
    • Tumors
    • Spinal fracture
    • Hemorrhage into spinal cord
    • Hemorrhage within spinal cord
    • Inflammation of the spinal cord (myelitis)
    • Invertebral disk disease
  • External
    • Physical trauma

Diagnosis of Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, and you need to bring your dog in for immediate medical attention should you suspect one has occurred. If your dog has suffered severe external trauma and you suspect paralysis, you must also check for life-threatening injuries and attempt to stabilize your dog before seeking veterinary attention. No matter the cause, it is important for your dog to be seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Diagnosis will begin with a physical examination that may or may not involve articulating your dog’s limbs and/or observing your dog walk, depending upon his range of motion and pain.

Your dog’s medical history and the onset of your dog’s symptoms, as well as any event that may have precipitated them, will be important tools to aid your veterinarian in diagnosis. Standard laboratory tests such as a chemical blood profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis will assess your dog’s overall health in order to rule out alternative causes for your dog’s symptoms as a spinal cord lesion alone will not affect your dog’s lab results for these tests. CT and MRI scans will need to be taken in order to analyze your dog’s spinal cord and determine if a lesion is present.

Treatment of Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

Your course of treatment will depend upon the severity of your dog’s injury and the extent of paralysis. The only option for treatment is to attempt to restore spinal cord function through surgery, which, if successful, will reverse your dog’s paralysis. In cases of extreme or severe spinal cord lesions, and in instances where a dog develops myelomalcia syndrome or the softening of the spinal cord, euthanasia may be your chosen course of action.

Recovery of Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

Prognosis depends upon the extent of the neurological damage. If your dog is capable of voluntary movement and there is partial paralysis, the prognosis is good. Full recovery is possible. However, if your dog is incapable of urination or defecation and your dog did not indicate he was in pain when the injury occurred, the prognosis is guarded to poor. If your dog has undergone spinal cord surgery, monitor her closely during recovery and provide her with a quiet and calm place to rest. Limit her physical activity. All significant improvements to your dog’s condition will occur within the first 4-6 weeks. If your dog does not see improvements within this time frame, he is not likely to recover.

Paralysis due to Spinal Cord Lesion Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Pit Bullmastiff
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Medication Used


A week ago my dog was dragging his back legs, after two steroid and pain shots in a few days he was using them better. A week later he is dragging his hips and they found a lesion. He is a pitbull terrier. How likely will surgery help? Can he recover?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2930 Recommendations
If Red responds to steroid injections and a lesion has been found, surgery most likely would be valuable but it would depend on the location of the lesion and Red’s overall health apart from the back end issues. If your Veterinarian as advised surgery, I would go ahead with it sooner rather than later. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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American Stafforshire Terrier
11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Unsteady gait, knuckling, paralysis

Medication Used

Presnisilone, clindsmycin, gabapentin

Hi. I have a nearly 11 yo American Staffy. 2 weeks ago I took him to the vet as his hind legs were giving way and his front leg started knuckling. The vet gave him carprofen but he kept getting worse and he was paralysed. Took him back to the vet last Thursday and they organised an MRI at the specialist. The specialist put him on Clindamycin and Prednisilone until results of the MRI and spinal tap came back. Spinal tap indicated abnormal cells that could mean several things. It indicated inflamation. The MRI showed no brain issues but as their machine was small his whole neck did not get scanned properly. They said it picked up the start of something on his cervical spine but they think it is a tumor but would need full scan to confirm. My dog has responded to prednisilone and after his 1st dose the next morning required less assistance. Today he has had his 2nd dose and was trying to go for walk. Initially I said to the specialist that I would just keep him comfortable but now thinking I should get a second MRI at a clinic that can get a full image as he is walking again and almost back to his happy self. Would appreciate your thoughts.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1363 Recommendations
If Boags is responding to therapy, and you have the means to have a more thorough MRI done, that second MRI would be very valuable information as to what you might expect in the future and what you are actually treating. I hope that all goes well for him!

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12 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

I have a 12 year old westie just diagnosed with dragging gait because of spinal lesion..pain meds did not help..will be given Predisone in a week when pain meds are out of prognosis still good for recovery..has trouble standing with back legs and wobbly..

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2930 Recommendations
Prognosis is dependent on the etiology of the spinal lesion, it all depends on whether the lesion responds to the steroid therapy or not. I do not want to give false hope or dash any either, but prognosis is guarded generally in these cases especially since I haven’t examined Riley. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Toy or Miniature Poodle cross shitzu
6 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Two months ago my dog suddenly had a sore lower back (I didn’t see him injure it it just suddenly became painful and would yelp when we touched that area).
Took him to the vet and they prescribed him anti-inflammatory. After about a week on this he suddenly woke up one day and couldn’t move his back legs (swayed back) and also couldn’t put weight on his front leg, it just knuckled under and he would fall over, like he couldn’t feel it.
We took him to an emergency vet and they suspected he had meningitis (we couldn’t afford the MRI, spinal tap or CT scan suggested). He was sent home with antibiotics and steroids and still wouldn’t eat for a few days I’m assuming because he was in pain but after 4-5 days on meds he regained his hunger and started eating and improved his balance/gait although he was still very wobbly. He always could drink, pee and poop. After his course or abtibitoics finished he had another blood test and the vets were happy for him to come off the antibiotics and continue on the steroids. However after another couple of weeks when we had to reduce his steroids to half morning and night his limp front leg came back and his ‘drunken gait’ was becoming worse. We bumped his steroids back up to 1 1/2 tablets a day and he improved his front leg. However his back legs were incredibly weak still and when he would run he ran to the side and looked drunk like he couldn’t control his balance even when standing still. He couldn’t climb stairs or jump up on furniture properly. One morning when we woke up I found his tongue curled back towards his throat as he was starting to dribble and had difficulty chewing his food. At that point I knew he shouldn’t be going backwards on the higher dose meds so decided the extremely hard decision of euthanasia as he was very uncomfortable and would pace around all night in the house and even fell down a whole flight of stairs he was trying to get down and didn’t even yelp, it was like he didn’t even respond or feel the pain it would have caused. Heartbroken and numb still that we made that decision I still look for answers as to what was going on with him. Vets now suspect (without the full testing they can only guess) it was a form of spinal cord/brain lesion. Would love your opinion on this if just for some peace of mind. Thank you.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1363 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Jack - I'm so sorry for your loss, that is just devastating to watch your pet go through something like that. I have to agree from your description that he must have had some sort of tumor or lesion in his brain or upper spinal cord. It sounds like it moved progressively higher up in the spinal cord and brain, and seemed to progress quickly. In my opinion, euthanasia was probably the best alternative for him, but that doesn't make it any less sad and heartbreaking. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

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9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


Medication Used

Gabapentin 100 Mg

My dog has a spinal cord Tumor. Its close to the neck and if I understand correctly, its close to T2. It started 2-3 months ago when I saw my dog losing control of his hind leg and it started slipping under him. I also feel his back has gone a bit lower. I took him to few vets but they did not figure out the issue but then was referred to a neurologist who confirmed its a tumour after the MRI. They feel Surgery may not help as its very risky and hard to get to where the tumour is.. Doctors comments .. In essence, this mass is almost certainly some type of tumor. The most likely types are either a nerve sheath tumor (which have a poor prognosis and recur after recurrence) or
a meningioma (which can have good outcomes after surgical removal; but the average survival in the study
was 19-months, longer for those undergoing follow-up radiation). Without surgery, I would guess that he only has a few months, if that,
before decompensating, though I would be delighted to be proven wrong in this guess.
The risk of doing surgery is that it can sometimes be impossible to undo damage caused by dissection of the mass (e.g. I might cause
bleeding in trying to get the mass out). If we were unlucky, this might force us to put him to sleep on the table if the alternative is that I
have caused severe and irreparable damage. This would be a worst-case scenario but must be borne in mind; sometimes it will be
possible to give up if I can not remove it and to close his wound and get him back to his owners unchanged.

what advice would you give us please ? is it worth taking him through surgery ? is there anything I could do to make him live better and longer ? any natural medicine etc?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2930 Recommendations
The location makes surgery difficult and if your Neurologist is hesitant, this should tell you everything; it may be worth going through with the surgery to see if the mass can be removed (and identified to follow up with radiotherapy etc....) and if there is irreparable damage to euthanise on the operating table but this is a big decision to be made. Prognosis is poor without surgery, so depending on your own viewpoint does the potential reward outbalance the risk? I am unable to think of anything natural which could be used in this situation but consultation with a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine may come up with something. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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German Shepherd
9 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


Hi... 3 week ago my playful 9 month German shepherd pup, Lucky, got injured by a fall no more than 1.5ft high. After which for 3 days he could barely use his back legs. We put him on 0 excercise other than to relieve himself. Then 3rd day suddenly he went to lift himself, twisted his spine and dislocated a vertebra( as diagnosed later by vet). Since then he is fully bedridden. Cannot use his back legs at all. Just lifts his torso. He loses and regains pain perception it appears.

We live in small town in India. No possibility of surgery xray mri hydrotherapy or vet chiropractor/neurologist. Our local vet said because his spine got bent (as we can feel the bulge when we run or hand along his spine at last thoracic and first lumbar point) he mostly damaged his peripheral nerves not his spinal cord.

As in the disc is not pinching his spinal cord which sounds like good news but I keep wondering why he can't move his back legs. We are doing physiotherapy by ourselves everyday 2 to 3 times.

In terms of progress well he seems to be out of shock so he is in good mood, barking eating well etc. He can now lift more than his torso , almost can sit with his front legs straight but we dont allow him to until his brace arrives as he may further damage his back.

He is on steroids now after 3 weeks of Hydroxocobalamin and Methylcobal

The first week after the injury he had excellent pain perception in back legs. But one days after a physio session with the Physicians assistant where he tried to make him sit, he lost most pain perception. It appears very feeble now.

Like if we pinch his toes he sometimes reacts like he can feel feeble sensation. He indicates it by lightly squeaking or moving his whole body away or pupils dilating and sometimes he doesn't react at all especially if he's sleeping. His most non sensitive part is below the knees. That's where he lost most deep pain perception.

He does have more sensation in his thighs and hips and lower back. When we pinch his thigh muscles he almost always looks back and growls. He definitely has sensation below the point of injury on the spine. All of his spinal length has sensation .. even his tail.

He can fully feel his bladder too. When I catheter him he yelps if it hurts. As the tube goes in he can feel and sometimes it hurts.

As far as bladder control go he mostly holds his pee in until he can't hold it any longer. Someone's he indicates to me he needs to pee by crying a lot. Sometimes he purposely pees as I can see instead of leaking drops he forcefully squirts small jets of pee. Does it indicate his bladder muscles are working?

Please advise:
1. Determination of deep pain perception. ( he sometimes reacts and sometimes he doesn't). He almost always has reflex movements. But we are confused which stage he is at and his chances of recovery.

2. Is it true that if his spinal cord would have irreparably injured then he wouldn't have any sensation below the point of injury? His bladder included?

If above is true will his nerves regenerate?

Please can you explain why sensation is absent below knees but not thighs hips and spine?

3. Is it normal for deep pain perception to come and go sporadically during healing time?

I'm sorry I'm unable to upload videos because of file size limitations

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1363 Recommendations
Mohua, thank you for contacting us about Lucky. I am sorry that that happened to him. Without examining him, I really cannot comment on many of your questions, but it does sound like he has sustained a significant spinal cord injury, and without having had surgery right away to release any pressure on his spinal cord, he may never recover from this injury. If you are able to purchase a cart, he can be trained to use that, but I'm not sure, personally, that it is fair to submit a dog to a lifetime of painful urinary catheterization and inability to walk. The muscles to his bladder don't sound like they were injured, but it does sound like the nerve function to release his bladder are damaged. These things don't usually improve with time, especially after 3 weeks. Is there a larger town that your vet can refer you to where he might be able to get higher level care? I think he will need it. I am sorry that that is happening to him, at such a young age.

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