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Degenerative Spinal Myelopathy: Posterior Paralysis

It is most heart wrenching to view a canine who has loss the use of it’s hind limbs wanting so desperately to be mobile. At best, all that can be done is to drag his/her hind legs. these limbs once an asset now a burden. There have been several approaches to the treatment of this horrifying problem like surgeries, steroid, and massage therapy and also acupuncture. This can be a pathological condition occurring at birth and not manifesting itself until later in life. This is a problem of misalignments (subluxation) between vertebrae. This misalignment causes inflammation, which over time, creates ossification at the base of the of the vertebrae (spondylosis), nature’s way of preventing movement between the articulating surfaces thereby initiating an inflammatory process affecting the spinal nerves supplying motor impulses to the hind limbs, causing posterior paralysis.In not too severe cases should the inflammation be addressed successfully, there is marked improvement in several weeks. In more severe cases, when degenerative changes are occurring, I have enlisted the help and support of a chiropractor. Presently, in veterinary medicine, this is a developing aspect of the profession. Though not yet a part of the veterinary curricula, there are “workshops” by knowledgeable veterinarians in the art. I have a friend and colleague who has learned chiropractic procedures and techniques that have become an integral part of her practice. She says it is a new weapon for her to use against diseases. There are large animal veterinarians practitioners adjusting the spines of race horses with great success.

Though posterior paralysis is the direct cause of degenerative spinal myelopathy, the spinal nerves emanating from the spinal cord does effect all organs and parts of the body from the cervical area(neck) to the base of the tail., heart,lungs,liver, kidneys, spleen, etc. can be involved. Should there be a problem of one or more organs in these areas resulting from a blood “workup”, you should consider the possibility of a spinal X-ray, especially in older canines.

There are four phases to this pathology:
Phase one: usually observed in the young and can be reversed via spinal adjustments.
Phase two: this can stop the progression via spinal adjustments
Phase three: can slow the process via spinal adjustments
Phase four: nothing can be done, the degenerative process is too extensive.The patient is on “borrowed time”