Suppose your dog cannot walk properly; canine lameness or paralysis in dogs affects their ability to work properly. It is usually a common symptom of injury or unusual anatomy in pets.

Your pet will likely be discomfort. The lameness can affect one or more legs and can be persistent or intermittent.

It can be more severe at specific times of the day, either early in the morning or late at night. Other times it can occur right after exercise or after your dog finishes relaxing.

Although many mobility issues develop over time, canine paralysis can happen anytime. Sudden paralysis and mobility loss can be alarming for a pet owner, and you may not know what to do.

Some symptoms you can expect to see in a dog with canine paralysis include an inability to flex the leg joint and bear weight on the leg and pain. Other indicators include lameness, weakness, and abnormal gait.

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At the same time, some dogs will drag their limbs and be unable to wag or move their tail. Some cases show dogs have drooping eyelids and drop food from the mouth.

Reasons Why Your Dog Cannot Work Properly

dog cannot walk properly
lame dog – image by karolina grabowska

Vestibular Diseases

Dogs suffering from vestibular diseases also find it difficult to walk correctly. Since they have lost their balance, they might fall or wobble when walking. Additionally, dogs with vestibular diseases typically have a head tilt and walk in the tilt direction.

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The most prevalent cause of a dog’s incapacity to walk is arthritis. It usually develops with age, but it can also happen in puppies. Arthritis develops in the majority of dogs due to joint wear and tear.

Cruciate ligament tears, poor nutrition, joint infection, extra stress from heavy exercise or injury, age, and obesity are more specific causes. Over time, these canines deteriorate slowly and steadily.

Injuries Could Be Why Your Dog Doesn’t Walk Properly

You should suspect an injury if your dog is walking but refuses to distribute its weight evenly on all four legs.

Examine the dog’s paws for splinters, wounds, blisters, toenail damage, or any other signs of harm. Additionally, injury to the spinal cord of your pet can also cause it to move gingerly.

Excessively hot or abrasive pavement surfaces can burn a dog’s paws, while frost or ice can cause injury. In such circumstances, it can result in an irregular gait to escape the pain in its paws.

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Wobbler’s Syndrome

This defect produces an uneven stride in dogs of any age. It results from a narrow vertebral canal or a ruptured disc in the neck that can compress the spinal cord. Large-breed dogs are prone to the disease.

Dogs with wobblers syndrome have deformed vertebrae or cannot connect properly during development. It not only affects gait but also produces discomfort. The symptoms develop with the dog’s age; however, in rare cases, symptoms appear suddenly.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This genetic condition occurs when the spinal cord’s white matter degenerates over time. It develops as hind leg weakness that can lead to paralysis.

Although the symptoms of this condition are similar to arthritis and hip dysplasia, however, in this condition, the dog wobbles, stumbles and falls with no pain.

Hip Dysplasia Is One Reason Why A Dog Cannot Walk Properly.

Hip dysplasia occurs due to wear and tear to the hip joints. It is a congenital condition and can present in your dog as early as four months. Though it is prevalent among large dog breeds, it can affect any dog.

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Lower activity levels, trouble utilizing the back legs for anything, and indications of discomfort in the hip joints are symptoms of hip dysplasia. Although it is similar to arthritis, it only affects the hips.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

This disease occurs when the discs between the spinal vertebrae rupture. As a result, there is an inadequate cushion between the disc; the insufficient cushion results in the disc rubbing each other directly.

Your pet will be hurt and in pain. It can lose the functionality of its legs and might become paralyzed. The discs between the vertebrae can erode gradually or tear suddenly. Nonetheless, the rupture is due to continuous wear and tear.

Fibrocartilegenous Embolic Myelopathy

This type of stroke occurs when fibrous cartilage enters and blocks a blood artery in vertebrae, cutting off blood supply to the spinal cord.

All dogs can be affected by this disease. The symptoms occur suddenly, even though the dog has complained of pain for several days. One or more limbs stop working altogether, and one side of the body is usually more afflicted than the other.

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Treatment And Care For Your Pet That Suffers From Canine Paralysis

Surgery Is Often Best If Your Dog Cannot Walk Properly

Depending on the severity and origin of your pet’s paralysis, surgery may be able to mitigate the effects or even correct them.

Some surgical options are available for tumor removal, amputations, and spinal surgery to repair nerve damage. Immediate medical attention and early diagnosis can help your dog get back on its feet as soon as possible.


You can use drugs and antibiotics to treat the symptoms of bacterial or fungal infections. A veterinarian may also prescribe pain relievers if your dog is in pain. Make a medication regimen to ensure you don’t forget to take your prescription.

If Your Dog Doesn’t Walk Properly, Therapy Could Help

Therapy can help dogs who suffer from canine paralysis or other traumas that affect their walking ability. After their course of treatment was completed, dogs in the medical trial demonstrated improvement in this study.

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Acupuncture, stretching, massages, or working with a physical therapist are excellent choices to help your dog recover. However, the underlying reason for your dog’s mobility loss will determine the therapy type required.

Home Care

Consult your veterinarian to assist you in devising a strategy for properly caring for your dog. However, limit your pet’s mobility by putting him to rest, especially if he has spinal problems.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions to the letter until your dog completely recovers. Even if your dog appears to be in full recovery, give him the entire course of medication.

Additionally, various helpful devices are available to help make your life simpler and get your dog moving again, whether the paralysis is temporary or permanent.

How To Prevent Canine Paralysis In Dogs

Hip dysplasia and Degenerative Myelopathy can be avoided by eliminating the disease from the breeding line and ensuring that your dog follows a balanced diet and exercise program.

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Arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, and fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy are not preventable diseases. However, you can manage these diseases in your dog.

Ensure your dog is appropriately treated and finishes its medication to avoid repeating this problem. Also, treat any infections and other medical issues that may cause your dog to walk gingerly.


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