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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16534
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Can you reverse canine paralysis of the hind legs following

Customer Question

Can you reverse canine paralysis of the hind legs following distemper
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'd like to help with your concerns about paralysis of the hind limbs secondary to the Canine Distemper virus and if that paralysis can be reversed.
The short answer is that if the paralysis is due to a wild or field strain of distemper then it is likely permanent and nothing can be done to restore function. That is because the paralysis caused by a unattenuated, true infection is due to destruction of the nerves, and at this point there is nothing we are capable of doing to regrow nerves.
If this is due to vaccine associated Distemper symptoms that can be another story. Dogs that display neurologic symptoms after being vaccinated for Distemper may respond to immunosuppressive doses of steroids. That is because the symptoms are more likely associated with inflammation and antibodies formed against the vaccine rather than true destruction of the nerves themselves, at least initially. If a dog is paralyzed for a period of time however then no treatment is likely to be successful, the damage at that point if probably permanent.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.