Radial Nerve Paralysis Average Cost

From 464 quotes ranging from $300 - 3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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What are Radial Nerve Paralysis?

The radial nerve is the largest nerve in the front leg, and is responsible for extending the elbow, wrist and toes. When this nerve is damaged, dogs appear lame, often dragging the front paw on the ground. Trauma above the elbow is the most common cause of radial nerve paralysis in dogs. There will be a complete loss of sensation in the upper foreleg and upper side of the paw. While visually shocking, radial nerve paralysis is one of the most common nerve injuries in both dogs and cats. The severity of symptoms varies per the amount of damage to the radial nerve, and particularly where along the nerve pathway the injury occurred.

The radial nerve originates under the upper front leg from a group of nerves called the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus comprises nerves that extend from the spinal cord in the neck region.  Since the radial nerve is behind all movements of the elbow, carpus (the wrist), and toes, it is the primary nerve of support for the limb. Hence, the dog’s mobility and stability will be tremendously impacted if this nerve is injured. Dogs with radial nerve paralysis will lose the ability to control their triceps and the muscles that extend down the front leg, and accordingly, they are unable to extend the elbow. The result is a limb that can't be placed in a fixed standing position and is unable to bear body weight. The leg will remain flexed or bent, and may dangle in front of the dog.

The radial nerve is the largest nerve in the front leg, and is responsible for extending the elbow, wrist, and toes.  When the radial nerve is injured, paralysis of the front leg can occur.

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Symptoms of Radial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

  • Leg remains flexed or bent
  • Will be unable to stand or bear weight on the leg
  • Dragging of the paw
  • Loss of cutaneous sensation on the forelimb

Types

Radial nerve paralysis is characterized by the degree of injury to the nerve.

  • Neuropraxia  - This is a temporary loss of nerve function without anatomical injury; the dog will regain full use of the leg 
  • Axonotmesis – This injury causes rupture of some of the nerve fibers within an intact sheath; the prognosis for this degree of nerve injury is unclear, though there is a chance that the nerve will regrow and the limb will regain a degree of function  
  • Neurotmesis – In this case, the nerve is completely severed, including the fibers and the protective sheath; if the dog can sense pain with pressure, there is a chance that the limb may regain limited function but without the response, prognosis is poor.

Causes of Radial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

  • Trauma to leg (such as hit by automobile
  • Tumor
  • Nerve damage
  • Nerve lesion
  • Neoplasia
  • Nerve rupture

Diagnosis of Radial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

Three levels of injury are associated with nerves and the outcome will depend on how much of the nerve is damaged. Neuropraxia is the most desirable option as it represents only a temporary loss of nerve function and bears no long-term physical damage. In the case of Axonotmesis, nerve fibers rupture inside of the sheath (protective covering) due to pinching, crushing or sustained pressure to the nerve. If the injury is quickly addressed, there is a chance that the nerve will re-grow, returning the limb to guarded function. In the worst scenario, Neurotmesis, the nerve, nerve fibers and protective covering are completely severed. Prognosis is poor as there is no chance that function will be recovered. 

Careful diagnosis plays a considerable role in treating foreleg paralysis. While trauma to the radial nerve is the most common cause of such an injury, other neuromuscular diseases and neuropathies may be at play. Additional causes of radial nerve paralysis include a tumor occurring or around the brachial plexus.

A thorough history and physical examination by an orthopedic specialist (likely to have the necessary technology) is essential. Electrodiagnostic tests will be helpful. Neurologic examination should follow or accompany physical examination.

During examination, the major nerve groups should be routinely tested. Cutaneous sensation testing is valuable when attempting to localize forelimb paralysis.

Treatment of Radial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

Nerve injuries bear some mystery, and are difficult to treat. Nerve repair may happen only at the hands of a skilled neuro-specialist. 

  • Recommendations may include:
  • Daily manipulation (as instructed by the veterinarian) of the muscle, joints, and tendons
  • NSAID’s
  • Cortisone or prednisone as the nerve heals
  • Laser therapy
  • Massage
  • If after 3 to 6 months, no reparation is apparent, it may be necessary to amputate as many dogs may self mutilate due to strange sensations from the leg

Recovery of Radial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

The limb must be protected during recovery. Re-injury is quite possible as the dog attempts to use the healing leg and paw. During recovery, the dog may lose muscle function. Physical therapy may be helpful to maintain blood flow in the muscles. If any injured nerves begin to re-grow, the animal may experience strange sensations from the affected limb, and self-mutilation may occur. In this case, amputation of the limb may be considered.

Radial Nerve Paralysis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Asher
Weimaraner
18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Knuckling,

Our dog is an 18 month Weimaraner and was hit by a truck 3 months ago exactly. He’s gotten better about raising his right arm and he will get it basically all the way up when you tell him to “shake” I was just wondering if you think there’s a possibility he’ll regain use of his front leg. He’s still knocking under and kind of skinning up his leg, but not badly like I’ve seen on the videos and pictures I’ve looked up.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
It is very difficult to give a prognosis on this type of injury, some dogs bounce back whilst others will continue to have problems their whole life. This is one of those situations where it is literally wait and see, take each day as it comes. The extent of the nerve injury will determine the overall prognosis which is difficult to gauge. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My labrador is 9 years old.Be suffered a leg injury(hairline fracture) 3 months ago..The vet says his bone has healed completely but he still cant put his front paw on the ground and limps with his paw dangling..Is there a chance that his radial nerve is damaged?I'm very depressed and feel hopeless seeing that he cant walk on all fours.

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Miller
Jack Russell Terrier
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Not bearing weight
Dragging front leg

My Jack Russell ran into the side of a moving car 2 weeks and 5 days ago. We immediately took him to the animal hospital where they kept him for 2 days due to a fractured shoulder and punctured lung. He still isn't bearing any weight in front leg. I've noticed he seems to be holding his paw higher and not dragging it as much. I've also noticed when he lays on his back and stretches that leg is also starting to stretch. Is there anything I can do to help him rehab the leg. His breed is so hyper keeping him demobilized is difficult so I have created a make shift sling to keep him from causing additional damage. I know that amputation is a possibility but I don't want to do that until I'm positive we have given the nerve enough time to heal. Is there anything additional I can be doing for him at home?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations

Nineteen days is still early for this level of trauma; I know it isn’t of much comfort but rest is the best treatment (along with pain management). I haven’t examined Miller, but these injuries may take over a month and then he may still not walk perfectly; other injuries like brachial plexus avulsion are also possible for shoulder trauma. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.vetary.com/dog/condition/brachial-plexus-avulsion

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Mia
Golden Retriever
3
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Are there any neuro specialty centers that have made strides in treating nerve damage in dogs. My Golden was hit by a car and has no front paw leg feeling 24 hours after the accident.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Nerve damage is always a difficult case to manage especially in cases when there has been trauma from a road traffic accident; identifying the specific area of traumatic injury (radial nerve, brachial plexus or spinal issues) is important. A set of x-rays now may indicate something (and will give a comparison for later x-rays) as well as reflex test to determine if there is sensation higher up in the limb. I would recommend finding your nearest specialist once Mia is strong enough to be discharged to discuss her case and options; but please keep in mind that a full recovery may be unlikely. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://find.vetspecialists.com/

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Dixie
Labrador Retriever
18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Self Mutilation
Carrying leg

Our labrador was hit by a car 2 weeks ago injuring a front leg. She was dragging her leg with no function at first. After an xray, our veterinarian determined there was no broken bones or fractures, but nerve damage caused her to drag it. She was in a splint bandage for 10 days, and she now carries her leg, but will not carry weight yet. Her bandage was removed overnight to drain injuries on foreleg, and she has appeared to chew off the carpal pad above her paw. We promptly re-bandaged the leg to keep prevent more self damage. Is this a sign the nerves are healing if tingling is beginning in her paw? If so, is there a positive outlook, or should we consider amputation?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
It is too soon to consider amputation, but the overall prognosis is still unknown as we do not know the full extent of the injury; radial nerve issues and brachial plexus avulsion may cause permanent damage leading to a lifelong limp, only time will tell whether amputation is necessary. Chewing off the carpal pad may have been done due to pain there or out of boredom (if she doesn’t have sensation there); reflex tests would be useful to track any progress but it will be a wait and see situation over time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Mel
Australian Shepherd
6 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

My dog fell from our truck window and seems to be experiencing radial nerve paralysis. X-rays came back clear. It has been 3 days since the event and he is still not carrying any weight on his front right leg. How concerned should we be about future amputation? If there was a chance his nerves would heel, how soon would/should we notice? We are keeping him immobile using a sling.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Rest is best in these cases, but as far as recovery is concerned it is more of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ as each case is different; any recovery will take time and three days is early days to see any improvement at all, recovery will be measured in weeks or months. As far any amputation, that will be a bridge to cross if you come to it but you should see some improvement over the coming weeks. I would recommend more restricting movement in general rather than slinging the leg into an unnatural position; just my preference. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

We are almost two months past a similar incident, and the pup is no longer using the leg when sitting but uses it once for every two steps when running. the muscles seem to be deteriorating a bit in that leg as well. What can I do to assist in the healing process?

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Powder
American Bulldog
10 years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

My 10 year old American Bulldog just started limping. No accident or injury that I know of. He looks like he has foot drop, which I have had before. This has happened a few times before, but only lasted a few days. This time has now been going on for a few weeks. He has lots of fatty tissue bumps all over, could one of them be pushing on his nerve. He can stand on it, & walks with his foot out right, but sometimes he drags it. When he gets excited, it doesn't seem to bother him as much.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
If Powder has many lipomas, it is possible that one may be causing an issue with walking and general movement. Foot drop has a few different meanings depending on where you’re from but it may be due to spinal issues, trauma (slipping on a ceramic or hardwood floor) among other issues; it would be best to have Powder’s leg examined by your Veterinarian to determine if there is any specific joint affected and possibly some x-rays to rule out other causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you for answering my question. I will make an appt. with our vet to check him out. I appreciate your response!

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etta
German Shepherd
9 month
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

sharp pain when rising, 7 days post surgery

is it possible to have radial nerve damage during elbow coronoid surgery? My dog has intermittent sharp pain when she rises, although no foot dragging and only occasional drop of the paw when sitting

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations

The radial nerve runs to the cranial side of the limb, however Surgeons must take care not to damage the nerve or a branch of the nerve or the ulnar nerve which both run down the leg. Seven days is still early post surgery and Etta may still be feeling some discomfort after the surgery. Movement restriction and pain management is important for now; a neurological examination of the limb would be useful if the discomfort continues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

It is the acute episodic nature of this problem that is disturbing to me. I am restricting any sudden or quick Movt, just gentle walking and passive range of motion. thanks.

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Bonzo
Labrador Retriever
9 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Paw dangling

My labrador had a hairline fracture 3 months ago and even after regular treatment he is unable to put his front paw on the ground.He limps with his paw dangling.The vet says his bone has healed completely but chances are that his radial nerve could be damaged which is why he is still not putting his foot down..Please let me know if there are certain medicines which can heal nerve damage.I cant afford expensive treatment...I live in India.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Nerve damage is unpredictable and usually doesn’t end well, medical therapy is unrewarding; if you are looking for a possible treatment I would be more tempted to go towards acupuncture. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/acupuncture-therapy-small-animal-neurologic-conditions-proceedings

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Darcey
Schnoodle
4
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Our four year old schnodle had a car accident three weeks ago - her front leg has radial nerve damage with no feeling at all. Our vet has tested for feeling several times but no feeling what so ever she is also loosing muscle tone in her shoulder - she has to wear a lamp shade as she is chewing her paw - how long do we wait until we decide to take drastic action re amputation - our vet is certain that feeling will not return.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
If there is a lack of deep pain sensation, the likelihood of a return of sensation is unlikely; I would give it a few weeks before deciding to amputate the limb. Dogs generally adapt well to amputation of a single limb so you would see a quick return to activity if amputation was performed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you - would surgery not be an option to try and repair the damaged nerves ?

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Axe
Stag x wolfhound x deerhound
7 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Dragging leg

Medication Used

His on two lots of pain relief and two antibiotics

My dog was in a accident on Friday and got hit by a car. He has had his jaw wired back together but there is concern for his front leg as he will not apply pressure to it. He had two big cuts stitched back up. But I'm wanting to know if there is anything else I can do for my 7 month old puppy. He is like apart of the family for me and im not wanting to give up on him as I'm wanting to give him the best life I possibly can. I understand I can get his like removed but I'm just wanting to know if there is another opinion before than? Any other treatment to see if his leg can be fixed or help the nerves in any way.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations

Traumatic events like road traffic accidents are very difficult to determine the prognosis for some injuries; the front leg lameness may be caused by spinal nerve damage, peripheral nerve damage or due to severe pain in the limb. I cannot say how bad the injury is or a treatment to try as I haven’t examined Axe and it is still early days after his injury; time is a great healer and the leg should be reevaluated by your Veterinarian at each follow up visit, deep pain sensation and reflexes should be checked as well as x-rays to look for fractures etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hi just gone though a similar accident with my puppy. Seen u asked this 3 months ago was just seeing how your pup has recovered and if there is any improvements

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Sam
Australian Shepherd
5 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Leg Lameness

My dog was run over by a car approximately 36 hours ago. Was seen immediately by a vet and we were told there was no broken bones, or internal bleeding. He is 5.5 months old, and the vet says that he may have nerve injuries to both front legs. Since coming home after the injury he will not bear weight on either front legs. I think he has the radial nerve paralysis, I'm not sure what to do from here.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations

Trauma from a car collision can be difficult to predict and in cases where there are no fractures shown on x-ray, inflammation of nerves and other trauma may lead to lameness and long-term injury. If there is nothing shown on the x-ray, it may be a case of taking a wait and see approach with cage rest and anti inflammatories. If you are seeing a worsening of symptoms, return to your Veterinarian for reevaluation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Buddy
Labrador Retriever
8 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My 8 month old pup got hit by a car three nights ago and came home yesterday afternoon. He has been dragging his paw and not moving it. Does he have more of a chance to these nerves returning with him being so young? He is a fit Labrador retriever and never had anything wrong with him. Is there any excerises etc what can help with this?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
In these cases, rest really is best to allow for Buddy to recover; there are some alternative options like acupuncture and laser therapy but these would need to be discussed with your Veterinarian to see Buddy’s suitability for these treatments. Recovery can be long and you may get frustrated but the severity of the injury and whether or not he has pain perception in his paw will determine the prognosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Can u please tell me if u have known pups to get there nerves back and be able to use leg again?

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Tomato
Labrador Retriever
6 Years
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

My 6 year old lab has been diagnosed with radial paralysis and tumor is visible in the xray.
What is the solution? What are the chances of him recovering and in how much time?
He cant walk at home, he was potty trained outside house, now he has no control over all 4 limbs and accidently does it anywhere in the house. That is not a concern, but his condition seems severe. Please guide

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Is the tumour related to the radial nerve paralysis? Generally surgical excision of the tumour is recommended where possible but the prognosis for the radial nerve injury would depend on the severity of the paralysis. From your description it sounds like Tomato has a more serious condition than radial nerve paralysis since this only affects one limb. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Then what could it be? Ortho declared in one look that its radial paralysis
Also when he touched his left frony shoulder he confidently confirmed its a tumor. Never mentioned if both are related.
Im very much worried.
Please tell me what serious condition u think it is?

He has almost lost sensation in all 4 linbs and cannot stand. Keeps crying all day long :(,
We have to help him to make get up. He still cant walk .
2 steps n he falls down

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King
Doberman Pinscher
1 Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Knuckling

My doberman puppy jumped out of my Jeep and broke his pelvis. He underwent surgery and has plates and screws. The surgeon said she could see his sciatic nerve the whole time and wasn’t worried about nerve damage. Now 17 weeks out, he has regained feeling in his effected limb all the way except he knuckles now and wears a dorsi flex boot. I take him to PT and laser therapy. Is there a chance it will return? I am concerned now as it is going on 4 months.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1371 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining King or knowing more about his specific situation, I can't comment on whether the nerve function will return - that would be a great question for your veterinarian, or the surgeon who performed his pelvis repair, as they can assess his function and know more about his specific surgery. That is an intensive surgery, and it is possible that it may take time to recover, but 4 months is a long time. Having a follow up appointment with the surgeon would be a good idea. I hope that he recovers well.

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Buck
Australian Shepherd
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Nerve damage in right front leg. No sensation vet says. On anti inflammatory. Any chance feeling may come back. Been 8 days since injury. No broken bones. Vertabrae slipped.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
Whilst there is a chance sensation may return it is a small chance that decreases each day; the specific type of injury and the location of the nerve damage will play a big part in the prognosis. A full examination and x-ray is required to evaluate this type of case; it may be worth getting another opinion from another Veterinarian in your area as I am unable to examine Buck. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bruiser
Great Dane
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Great Dane is weight shifting front legs, no pain when pressure is applied to any areas. Vet has recommended an mri thinking it is neurological? He runs and plays as usual just shifts weight in front when standing and in the process of laying down.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2937 Recommendations
There are a few different causes for shift weight on the legs, normally in Great Danes we see this behaviour when they are less than a year old due to conditions like Panosteitis. In a dog Bruiser’s age, we would need to consider behavioural/neurological disorders alongside other issues like nerve damage or arthritis. I would get another Veterinarian to check him over before you spend money on an MRI just to be sure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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