Coonhound Paralysis In Dogs

Acute Polyradiculoneuritis (Coonhound Paralysis) in Dogs

Coonhound paralysis explains the acute inflammation of several nerve roots and peripheral nerves in dogs and also cats. 

Causes Of Coonhound Paralysis

Coonhound paralysis is strongly correlated with over-stimulation of the dog’s immune system, which may be due to interaction with a raccoon (particularly raccoon saliva) or other stimulating agent, like vaccine, viral respiratory infection, or viral or bacterial stomach infection.

Signs Of Coonhound Paralysis

Since Coonhound paralysis is an emergency condition, symptoms frequently occur unexpectedly. At first, a dog will exhibit signs of fatigue in the hind legs and a change in voice or a loss of bark. Coonhound paralysis occurs over a few days which can lead to complete paralysis of all four limbs. The disorder leads to a lack of muscle tone, and ultimately to a loss of muscle.

Diagnosis of Coonhound Paralysis 

Diagnosis is typically done by the veterinarian during a medical exam. The history of bite wounds by a raccoon will raise the fear of this unusual disease. Blood work, X-rays and other studies may be suggested to rule out other causes.

Treatment And Recovery From Coonhound Paralysis

While there are no particular medications available to treat coonhound paralysis, nearly all dogs can be treated successfully. For mild to severe cases, management requires a mix of diligent nursing care and physiotherapy. If a dog has serious respiratory distress due to paralysis, hospitalization and breathing support may be needed. Often fluid treatment is required if the dog is dehydrated and is unable to drink properly. Home nursing will require hand-feeding and proper bed rest. 

Dogs will require a heavily padded bed which can also be rotated over to avoid pressure sores. Urine or fecal matter must therefore be kept sterile in the environment to avoid associated scalding and bacterial infections. Basic physical rehabilitation workouts will have to be done at home to combat muscular atrophy. This will include gentle stretching of each dog’s limb; the vet will explain the precise procedures for you.

Pet massage and swimming therapy have also been found to be beneficial for dogs suffering from coonhound paralysis. Overall, the prognosis for coonhound paralysis is quite good. Most dogs recover completely in the span of a few weeks or months and some even recover naturally, In exceptional cases, dogs never fully recover and will require supportive treatment permanently.

Home Care And Prevention Of Coonhound Paralysis 

Continue providing supportive care. Recovery can take weeks or months. The dog would need help in eating and drinking. Physical exercise is required multiple times a day and the dog should be also be groomed.

Avoid exposure to raccoons. Dogs who have had Coonhound Paralysis before can get infected again, so it is necessary to prevent re-exposure in these situations.

  • Jessica

    Jessica is a passionate pet lover and veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. Her blog serves as a reliable source for pet health advice, ranging from preventive care to handling emergencies.

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