Coonhound Paralysis in Dogs (Acute Polyradiculoneuritis)

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Coonhound Paralysis

Definition

Coonhound paralysis, technically called idiopathic acute polyradiculoneuritis, is an uncommon but rapidly progressive condition that affects a dog’s spinal nerves and causes temporary but typically not permanent paralysis in all four legs. It probably is caused by a dog’s immune system attacking its own nerves, which is called an autoimmune reaction, but why this happens is not well-understood. Some authorities suggest that contact with raccoon saliva after a bite contributes to coonhound paralysis, but there is no reported or reliable reason for that connection. Signs develop rapidly and often start with hind end weakness. Dogs then may have a change in their voice, become stiff and lose their leg reflexes. Most continue to urinate and defecate normally and can still wag their tails. They chew and swallow as usual, and their appetite and thirst are unaffected. The paralysis generally worsens for several days after signs appear, and then stabilizes. Most dogs recover spontaneously, without treatment and without any permanent damage.

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