Coonhound Paralysis

This blog talks about our experience when Goya (our 150lb English Mastiff) came down with coonhound paralysis (also called acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Goya history of physical progress

In response to someone's email, I dug out the notes gary and I had made about Goya's progress oving his body through this disease. It might help others get a picture of the fits and starts and how slowly he started to come around. These dates are before we started the blog. Aftr April 1, we put progress on the blog (like sitting up, walking, taking stairs, and standing up), so you can find that progress in the posts.

Here's the timeline of his physical progress.
  • 12/05/05 -- weakness in back legs in morning; couldn't stand at all by nighttime -- it took a few days for him to hit bottom with the tail and bark being the last to go.
2-weeks passed when he was really bad and we were figuring out how to care for him. We didn't take notes during this period.
  • 12/17/05 -- I saw him move his foot while dreaming -- a vet-tech told me this was not a sign of anything but I took it as hopeful anyway
  • 12/19/05 -- definitely wagged his tail when my daughter walked in the room, wagged often by 12/21
1-1/2 months passed with no notes about physical progress. We were writing notes every day about what he ate, drank and eliminated, so I believe no noticable physical progress was actually made in this period.
  • 01/31/06 -- jerked his foot when I squeezed his toe (while cutting his toenails). Did this repeatedly. This was the first movement we had seen in almost 2 months. (Unfortunately, I didn't write down which foot moved.)
  • 02/04/06 -- moved his front feet while dreaming very definitely. We hadn't made any notes of that since the middle of Dec so I assume we didn't see it in the interim.
  • 02/05/06 -- interested in chewing a plastic milk bottle (his favorite toy). He did it on his side, with me holding the bottle, for about 5 minutes. This was the first sign of him showing much interest in activity other than being petted.
  • 02/08/06 -- front paw moved while dreaming
  • 02/09/06 -- 1-2 inches of movement in back left foot when I tickled between the pads. He tenses th muscles in his front left leg when I squeezed his front paws. It is now 2 months since he went down and I can finally get any movement repeatedly in response to an action I take.
5 weeks passed with no notes about physical progress.
  • 03/16/06 -- in anticipation of getting a hot dog, he _almost_ rolled from one side to the other. This is the first note of him rolling. NOTE: He _still_ (August) can't roll from one side to the other on his back reliably, even though he can walk. To get from one side to the other, he pushed himself up on his belly and tucks his legs under him (it looks painful, but he never complains). He did roll over 3 times on March 16th, but hardly ever again.
Almost 2 weeks passed.
  • 03/29/06 -- he pushed against my legs with his front feet.
  • 04/01/06 -- took "steps" while in the cattle sling (that is, he didn't have any weight on his feet, but he moved them appropriately when they brushed the floor as I rolled him from the couch to his mattress).
This is where the blog picks up on his physical progress and notable improvements appear in the blog from here on.


  • At Fri Sep 01, 11:49:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for this web site. My golden retriever became paralyzed overnight (a week after getting her rabies vaccine). Today is day 2. Last night she couldn't move anything at all, even tail wagging was gone. Vet thinks it is Botulism, Tick Paralysis or Polyradiculoneuritis. After reading about Goya, I am sure this is what my dog has, it just progressed a lot faster. I am praying for her recovery. She did drink a little water this afternoon at the vet office but would not eat anything.

  • At Wed Sep 13, 09:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Thias must be week 4 (sorry I didn't see the comment sooner). According to all I have read, you had passed the worst of in by the end of week 2, so I hope she is showing some signs of progress. Good luck. Bonnie.

  • At Sat Sep 16, 08:56:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The night that I posted this e-mail on Sept. 1, my Golden died during the night. I went to the vet office when they opened at 8:00 on Saturday and she was already dead. We had a necropsy performed by the State Lab but haven't heard back yet. I just wish I knew what she had. She was recovering that day though.

  • At Mon Sep 18, 11:34:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been reading through you blog, and it is helping us alot with our Golden Retriever who is believed to have coonhound paralysis. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Our golden 'dakota' had a VERY fast onset, and we thought she had ingested something at first. We rushed her to the vet, and they dismissed her thinking she had drank some beer. The next morning her front paws weren't able to move either, so she was hospitalized over night. We have had her at home now for 2 days. She wags her tail, and has really happy moments. The medications seem to depress her alot. And I cannot imagine how frustrated she is. Any advice on ways to keep her moving? She will shimmy out on the lawn to go to the bathroom. And we are encourage her to crawl...we just don't want to push her too much. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks...Lara

  • At Tue Sep 19, 11:35:00 AM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    I am so sorry to hear about the Golden who died. I hope at that you've found out what happened to her. Best of luck to the second Golden, Dakota.

  • At Tue Sep 19, 08:52:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm just curious, did the vet keep Dakota on IV's? Our golden was getting better and was able to move her hind legs and head and front paws a little. She was even lapping water a little, but the vet took her off IV and I think she died of dehydration. We have no word back yet from State Vet Office. Best of luck to you and your golden. I hope Dakota has a quick recovery. Michelle

  • At Wed Nov 29, 08:31:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes-Our Black Lab had coonhound Paralysis also-back in 2004-any questions please ask---we have been through this also...

  • At Wed Nov 29, 08:33:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our 10 year old Black lab had Coonhound Paralysis in 2004. My Mother and I looked everywhere for informaion on this- please-if you have any question let me know.

  • At Fri Mar 16, 09:41:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our Austalian Shepherd/Border Collie contracted coon hound paralysis on December ll, 2006. I designed a sling which is the best I have seen. We are taking her to a vet who does acupuncture and has her on Chinese medicines, as well as some other herbal remedies. She is recovering nicely, taking steps in her sling. She can take almost all of her weight on her front legs, and some on her back ones. Hopefully, she will be able to walk again soon. She shows every sign that she will have no problems with her legs moving independently. They are moving just as they should. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. There is so little good info.

  • At Tue Apr 24, 03:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really got alot out of your blog - my sherpherd mix has what we beleive to be coon hound paralysis - she is still inable to move - she wags her tail and eats and drinks with our help - but it has been 2 weeks tomorrow - we are maintaining her the best we can, very difficult to watch, was glad to hear of someone else having gone through this - she has gotten a bit lonely and this has been hard on her - we are gone during the day and when we get home she demands all our attention - I am worried about her getting depressed - did this happen with yoru dog at all?

  • At Mon May 14, 07:06:00 PM EDT, Blogger Ed said…

    Thank you for this web site. I am amazed at how many vets know little or nothing about coon dog paralysis. Ours recommended putting our dog down when he didn't get back up in two days. Just so everyone will know, dogs can be down six weeks to 4 months or more. They take intensive nursing care - we've had to express his bladder several times a day, hand feed, give him water from a bottle, clean up poop, etc. But if someone will just take care of them, they WILL recover in almost all cases. We've had two down with coon hound paralysis (from vaccinations and a gastrointestinal disorder). We don't know a lot, but if we can be of ANY help or encouragement to anyone, please e-mail us at Thanks again and may God bless your efforts to save your dogs.

  • At Sat Aug 04, 04:22:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have an Airedale 1 year old. On Saturday she started to look like she was feeling poorly. By Sunday morning, she was walking stiffly. I took her to the emergency Vet for several X-rays of her spine and hips; all was fine. The vet sent us home with pain pills and a 300.00 bill. By Sunday evening, she stopped walking and her front paws were not working either. One front paw was curling under. Her limbs were both rigid and limp at different times. I went back to the Emergency Vet that night at 10pm and again they were shaking their heads stating I needed some type of neurological check. I left her overnight because I was worried the paralysis might go into her respiratory. It never did. I took her over to my regular vet on Monday and she had to be carried everywhere. Both vets said possibly menegitis or GME. I had her stay at the Vet Hospital for two nights and then brought her home. I am treating her with prednisone and antibiotics. It is now Saturday (a week later) and she is not walking, and I am massaging her limbs and carrying her outside. It looks as though her tongue is a bit affected which may be facial paralysis. She has never had any seizures or neurolgical shaking. The limbs are rigid at times and then limp at others. She has never carried a fever this whole time. We are located in Florida, but have a fenced in backyard that is against a large woods. My pup was jogging 30 minutes with me on Friday prior to this happening on Saturday. She has always been healthy and happy. She is an outstanding dog. I am not ready to give up on her, but the Vets state she will probably never walk again. Does this sound like coonhound paralysis to you? Any information will help. She is eating and drinking fine. Her digestive system seems to be working fine. It amazes me at the speed that she digressed from a healthy dog to being flat on her bed in 2 1/2 days. Her front legs were still working and then they stopped after her back legs went. Anything you could tell me would be a big help. We are dealing with her as a paralyzed baby almost. I just want to believe that she will get better and your blog site has given me some hope. Please if anyone can detail something to give me any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you, If you have any specific information or want contact me by email it is


  • At Fri May 08, 01:13:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Dondee said…

    I just buried my Sammy - 9 yr. old border collie-
    Timeline: Late Sat. eve. noticed he didn't want to move. Back legs. Sunday a.m. noooo back legs. Noon Sun. no front legs.
    Only tail waggin and watching everyting he possibly could.
    Got vet meds in by mid-Sun. aft.
    Anti-biotics, pain killers and shot. Vet only took one guess.
    Coon hound paralysis.
    Built "manger" for him in our hot tub ready for his rehab. Bought carriers, etc to make sure we could best take care of his needs.
    Mon. 3:00 update..... brought him out to pee, get some sunshine, visitors came for support. Had lots of ice chips but by now wouldn't eat. Talked to vet .........his breathing became labored and jaw was dropping.
    5 min. later he passed in our arms.

    So many more details but don't want to cry right now. Plus, he was my pack leader. Two very depressed buddies that I do not know how to console. Help!!

  • At Fri Sep 18, 10:35:00 AM EDT, Anonymous john said…

    My 2 yr. old German Short-hair Pointer fought with a coon raiding our garbage, the next day the dog was completely paralyzed. I took her to MSU Vet Hosp. and they diagnosed coon-dog-paralysis, from contact with a neuro-toxin the coon can carry. They said it kills 80% of the dogs that contract it. I couldn't afford the recommended IV and respirator for a week or more and didn't want to put her down. Took her home, mixed 1 cup of Karo syrup w/ 1/2 gallon of water, kept her hydrated w/ a turkey baster, she could still swallow. Gave her the sugar water and cold sponge baths for three days to keep her fever down. Fifth day she defecated all over the blankets she was on. She was paralyzed for seven days, but recovered completely in three 1/2 weeks. But she was young, very strong and healthy before the disease. Just put my old friend down last week, she was almost 13. Damn, I miss her.

  • At Fri Sep 18, 05:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Thanks so much for your post - it gives a lot of people hope in the face of dire recommendations from vets who have not had much experience with dogs that have recovered from this disease.


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