Complete paralysis is most commonly caused by traumatic spinal cord injury – road traffic accidents or falls from windows. Partial paralysis affecting the hind quarters is caused by injury, or in dogs in particular slipped discs.

Handling A Pet With A Back Injury

Pets with back injuries may have other more life-threatening injuries. Check for these and for signs of shock then do the following.

  1. Keep the back as straight as possible during handling. Muzzle the pet if necessary.
  2. Find a hard, flat surface such as a piece of plywood that can be used as a stretcher. It should be small enough to fit in a vehicle. Place this along the back of the injured pet.
  3. With the help of others if they are available, speak soothingly and grasping the skin over the hips and the shoulder blades, gently pull the pet onto the make-shift stretcher.
  4. Secure the pet to the stretcher using heavy duty tape or similar material over the hips and shoulders. Prevent neck movement if there are neck injuries.

In the absence of hard material for a makeshift stretcher, fold over a large blanket so that it is thick and firm and draw the pet onto it. Secure the pet with tape, lift the blanket from both ends, using it as a stretcher.

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