Paralysis in Pets

The decision to take care of a paralyzed pet is not one to be taken lightly but it can be done and the owner pet bond can continue and even grow stronger. Things to consider before making this decision are; is the paralysis permanent, the size of the animal, time involved, and the home environment. Care of the pet will involve expressing the bladder / bowels to prevent bladder infections and other complications. The animal must be exercised by means of a cart or a towel. Skin ulcerations can develop because of laying in one position too long or the animal dragging itself about. The pet must also be bathed often to avoid urine burn and to eliminate as much odor as possible.

Paralysis in pets is usually assumed to be because of an accident but there are other causes. Poisoning and infections can cause paralysis occasionally, as can certain tick bites. Paralysis can be caused by a blood clot or a piece of bone in the spinal artery, this condition is sometimes reversible. Paralysis in some small dogs can also be caused by degenerative disc disease and this will usually resolve itself in a few weeks. There are other causes but they are beyond the scope of this article.

Certain products and tricks will help in the care of a paralyzed pet. A large waterproof sheet of some kind is necessary, for large dogs an office chair mat is a good idea. A bed or mattress of some sort that promotes circulation is a possibility but must be washable or covered with waterproof material. Mobility carts and diapers are available as are special shampoos and rinses that will not dry the animal’s skin out from the frequent bathing that is necessary. Wet wipes are probably the item you will use the most. Human products such as diapers for incontinence or even baby diapers may be used if they fit the animal. Protection from insects of any kind is an absolute necessity. The animal will not be able to shoo flies away so the animal should not be allowed to lie anywhere where flies might be able to stay on the animal for any length of time. The animal should be protected against fleas with a waterproof product due to the frequent bathing that is required.