Coonhound Paralysis

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

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Progression of Disease and Recovery

Emmit is a 6-yr-old black Lab recently diagnosed with coonhound paralysis. So far, he became fully paralyzed quickly, was back walking (shakily) at about day 4, and then at day 7 got worse again.

Emmit's dad asks:
Can anyone provide insight into the typical progress? It seems to be two steps forward and one step back... Is this typical? I hear a lot about steady but slow progrees. We had pretty rapid progress, and BAM! it all went sideways... Any insights would be helpful...

My Goya certainly did the "normal" get worse until hitting the bottom, then make slow but steady progress (no back-sliding) until he was recovered (about 8 months). I have not read anything to the contrary in my reading on the web.

The timeline of Goya's first bout is in Gary's post on 28mar2006 "Details of first bout with coonhound paralysis", with some longer-term history in our post on 27mar2006 "Overview of Goya's History". The whole blog is the timeline of the rest of his disease and recovery the second time he had it.

Can everyone with experience with this disease please tell us the course of weakening, paralysis, and recovery as comments to this post, so we can collect as examples here as possible?

Thanks, Bonnie


  • At Thu May 21, 09:31:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good morning Bonnie, First of all, thanks so much for posting details abiout our little lab on your blog, He is so important to us, and any little bit of information helps!

    I am happy to report that little Emmitt seems to be on the mend. He is walking much better, and has actually began negotiating stairs (up only). I actually saw him break into a slow trott this weekend. We were out at the cottage and he made it into the water, probably his most favorite place. You could just see the sparkle in his eyes again! I wasn't sure we would ever see him that happy again, but things are definetly looking up! Everyone tell you he will get better, but when all you can see is the happiest most active dog ever l aying down unable to walk, it is tough to imagine him getting better. But he IS!!! Thanks god!

    Anyway, I though I would provide this update, and thank you again for taking such an interest in Emmitt and helping to source further information for us!

    Cheers and take good care!

    Emmitt's thrilled Dad.

  • At Thu May 21, 10:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Big hugs and kisses to Emmitt and his thrilled Dad.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but this series of comments seems to say that Emmitt is showing clear signs of recovery within a few weeks of being stricken. He may have a way to go to get back to normal, but visible progress is being made (trotting, stairs, etc.)

    Thanks for telling us his progress, since others can take heart when their dogs are just lying there and patiently await the return of the sparkle in the eyes.

  • At Fri May 22, 10:07:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Bonnie,

    He is certainly well on the road to recovery! Emmitt he is showing more than clear signs of recovery, he up and walking, he is jumping on the the bed, he is even jumping off the bed! He has a ways to go to get back to his old crazy self, but over the last couple of weeks, I have become confident that he will get there.

    For anyone out there who is feeling the way I was about a month ago, that this could be the end, that you couldn't imagine your faithful friend getting better as you carried him out to the yard eight times a day... I know it is tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but trust me when I say, you and your pup will get there. It will take work, and tears, and time, but you will get there, and it will all be worth it!

    And when he is better, you will almost forget (almost...) how difficult it seems right now...

    You will get there.

    Emmitt's dad

  • At Tue Jul 07, 03:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger anono said…

    I have just found this blog. I have 4 YEAR OLD 1/2 MASTIF that has been diagnosed with coonhound paralysis. he was bittten by a raccoon on memorial day weekend and developed weakness in hind legs (just a little drag) about 2 weeks later. He now is fully unable to walk or lift himself more than to sit up on elbows. He often needs assistance to get to elbows. He seems to have stablized and this has been his condition for about 8 days now. Things are difficult for me as a single woman with a 100+ lb dog. My son is helping and we have a routine that "Big Dog" (dog's name) cooperates with. Thank goodness it is summer! I can lift him with two towels and he is able to kind of move his legs like a marionette and he can also stand for a few seconds to pee. Poo he must lay down for but he waits until our trips outside. I notice that keeping him cool helps his strength. On warm days or if he lays in the sun he is weaker. I keep him cool and almost always in the shade if outdoors. I am so looking forward to improvement. As I said, he has been at this stage about a week and I hope this is as bad as he gets and we see just tiny improvement soon. Thanks for the blog!

  • At Wed Oct 07, 11:38:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, my pittbull, Sallie, has come down with this horrible disease for the second time in 6 months. this time is so much worse! it is only day 4 and she cannot lift her head or shake her tail and makes horrible sounds to breath. the vet said her diaphram is restricted and she is struggling to breath. This did not happen last time. I'm so torn as it is terrible to watch her struggle for every breath. respiration is not an opption. my vet said this could be the worst or she could get worse as this disease is pretty unknown as to treatment. I slept with her on the floor last night and wondered if I should have her youthenized to spare her this horrible agony. Does anyone out there have experience with our specific situation. the first time it took about 6 weeks of all the regular stuff but this is painful to watch. HELP! in Wyo

  • At Wed Oct 07, 12:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger Giraffe said…

    Goya was much worse the second time also. It was painful to watch, and required a large time commitment. Bonnie and I, had several discussions about what the right course of action was. We just didn't know what was right. For us, we were convinced that, after the initial onset of the illness, Goya would get better (and he did). Given that prognosis, nursing him was an inconvenience we could handle. We could handle it, but was it the right decision for Goya? I think so but don't really know.

    Goya though didn't have breathing issues. He was medically stable. We had to handle basic nursing issues. The most we had to deal with was an occasional force feeding when Goya seemed to be depressed.

    I feel for you and Sallie. I hope for the best.

  • At Fri Oct 09, 03:29:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I forgot to ask if Goya's second bout lasted as long as the first? Sallie's breathing has calmed down somewhat but still no movement at all. We give her fluids sub-q and she licks her food from my hand. hoping this will go faster because it came on so much quicker. Thanks so much for responding. The first time this happened it really encouraged me to read all of the comments. Thanks from Wyo

  • At Fri Oct 09, 04:16:00 PM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Actually, Goya's second bout was much worse -- 8 months instead of 6 weeks. It was during the second bout that we started this blog.

    BUT I don't think this is comparable to Goya's situation because his second bout was several years after the first. He was much older -- an 8-year-old mastiff is an old gentleman indeed.

    I'm so glad to hear that Sallie's breathing has stabilized. Now its just nursing. Hang in there and let us know how it goes, because it helps other folks to hear the stories, as you have noted.


  • At Tue Oct 20, 11:09:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, thought I'd update. Sallie has been down for 2 weeks, seems longer. her breathing got worse again so I took her in to put her down. She was so tired and panicking. the vet had us give her a sedative and a steroid to calm her down. she could have stopped breathing but it worked well and she finally got some peace. We did this for 2 days. We put the sedative in her vein for immediate relief and then in her muscle for longer term. its just what she needed. We took her off fluids 2 days ago and she is holding her head up and chewing on her bone. The diapers are off and she cries to be carried outside. She is kind of moving her legs. she lost a lot of weight and muscle tone but it seems so easy now to take care of her compared to he last 2 weeks! I can actually leave her for several hours. One thing I did both times was to purchase one of those sleds for 4-wheelers. She is heavy so I can pull her around the house and outside. Also it keeps all her bedding under her and you can lean her against the sides to keep her sitting up, which is easier for breathing and her muscles. Anyway, I feel we are on the road to life again. Thanks for your blog!

  • At Tue Oct 20, 11:43:00 AM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    To Salli's human,
    Thanks so much for telling us about Sallie's progress. I can just imagine you pulling her around in the sled. During Goya's first bout, when he wasn't so bad that he couldn't lay sternally, the vets at Ohio State pulled him around in a Little Tykes wagon and it was adorable (he was too big for it and they had to remove one side so his feet could hang off) - he seemed like a benevolent king smiling at his subjects.
    Sounds like the support you are getting from your vet combined with the love and care you are giving her has set Sallie on the road to recovery. (Chewing on her bone! Yeah!).
    Please let us know how it goes,

  • At Sun Oct 25, 05:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    bonnie, good news at the 3 week mark. Sallie got up and walked out of her sled! Just this morning I had to carry her outside. We have definately turned a big corner and back to the land of the living. She is wobbly but last time she was good in only about a week. So glad I didn't give up on her, I think she is too.

  • At Mon Oct 26, 10:09:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey There, Emmitt's dad here... Its been about 6 months since emmitt's bout with CoonHound paralysis, and I am happy to report he has made a full and complete recovery. I thought about your blog as I watched him running full tilt around the park yesterday and decided I wanted to share the good news. It took a bout 3 months before things were pretty much better just lacking endurance. Over the last few month, his endurance has returned and he is like nothing ever happened.
    I can't imagine how difficult it would be to have to go through it all again.

    I am thrilled to hear that she is making progress and things are looking up. not too long down the road she will be back to her old self, I am positive!

    Take good care,

    Emmitt's dad.

  • At Sat Nov 14, 04:27:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too have a dog stricken with Coon Hound Paralysis on 9/4/09. My vet misdiagnosed as disc disease but my constant internet research found correct diagnosis 1 week later. I immediately started heated massage and range of motion exercises (2-3 times a day). Angus stood on his own after 2 weeks. I only did 3 water treadmill sessions and only go to therapist when improvement is significant enough to warrant more challenging exercises.

    At this point (10 weeks into recovery), Angus can walk a mile without a break. However, I'm still massaging and doing strengthening exercises with him. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. I love Angus but refuse to baby him too much. He surely want to recover as much as I want him too. Angus lost 15% of body weight in those first two weeks and I'm certain most of it was muscle. Very important to massage and strengthen their muscles daily.

    Unfortunately, I was not aware that they could have additional bouts with the paralysis once they recover :( Thanks for the blog.


  • At Tue Nov 17, 11:50:00 AM EST, Blogger claw71 said…

    I lost my dog, Kosar, a husky/retriever mix in September.

    She was 15. When things first presented I thought she had sprained her back and rest would do the trick. Then her back legs got weaker to the point where she couldn't stand. When one of her front legs became spastic I thought it was a blood clot in her brain. She wan't in pain and seemed otherwise in good health and spirits. Unfortunately her paralysis got worse and she died of respiratory failure.

    The progression of paralysis was swift. We noticed weakness on Tuesday after Labor Day and she died in the evening on the following Monday.

    I never took her to a vet. When I realized that her symptoms were textbook GBS I knew there was nothing that could be done. Perhaps sticking a respirator down her throat and tube feedings for a week would have prolonged her life but I feared my 15 year-old dog might not make it. I preferred to help her at home and deal with the consequences.

    It wasn't easy and I still wonder if I did right by her. She died at home while I was stroking her fur and telling her we'd help her through as long as she wanted to fight.

    It's hard because I knew saying goodbye was a reality but I thought it would be cancer, heart disease or a stroke that did her in. Not some random immune disorder that she might have had the strength to push through five or six years earlier.

  • At Tue Nov 17, 10:19:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Dear claw71,
    I am so sorry to hear about Kosar, but thank you for sharing her story here. At 15 she was much older than the other dogs we have heard about so far. At least, from our experience with Goya, and the other stories we have heard here, Coonhound Paralysis is not painful and you were with her throughout.
    Our thoughts are with you,

  • At Tue Nov 24, 04:55:00 PM EST, Blogger lunafaille said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At Tue Nov 24, 04:56:00 PM EST, Blogger lunafaille said…

    Hi everyone,

    We have a bassett/husky (odd mix, we know) that has had Coonhound Paralysis for 5 weeks now, and we are starting to get a bit discouraged that she may not ever get up again, and were hoping someone out there had a dog that has had as lengthy recovery as this (not that we hope anyone's dog is sick - but you know what I mean), so we will know it is possible. We'd also like to get some ideas or feedback on how to get her on the path to walking again.

    She's an older dog (possibly about 7 years old) that is a rescue, and she contracted it by digging through a trash can that some raccoons had pilfered through.

    At first, she had immediate paralysis from the neck down, facial drooping, loss of sensation in her right front limb, excruciating neck spasms, and a hoarse bark for about a week to 10 days. Then, the muscle spasms slowly subsided and she began moving her limbs a little more everyday, with her left front limb at normal strength and flexibility already.

    The other limbs are weak, but do move. She has sensation in her right front paw again, wags her tail, and moves all limbs vigorously when she dreams. Her bark is back and she can sit up and chew on a bone once we place her in that position, but just can't do it on her own. When she thinks she's going on a car ride, she can drag herself a few feet with her strong left front limb!

    She seems to be at a standstill in her recovery, and is very whiny - we think because she wants so badly to get up, but can't.

    We take care of her just like you would a paralyzed person - feed/water her, turn her every 2 hours, change her diapers/puppy pads, perform passive range of motion exercises, but we'd like to see her get UP, but are having a hard time figuring out how to do this.

    If it were summer, we could put her in her life jacket we bought her and get her in some water and get those limbs moving, but it's cold here now. We've tried to get her up with harnesses, but she is so heavy and long, that it's difficult and cumbersome.

    Anyone have any ideas, feedback, etc. about rehabilitating this dog? We love her dearly and want to give her a fighting chance, but we can't do this for months on end, nor would she like to, we think. She seems depressed most of the time (this was a very active dog that loved the outdoors).

    Any input would be appreciated!


  • At Tue Nov 24, 06:05:00 PM EST, Blogger Giraffe said…


    We used the hoyer lift and livestock sling to maneuver Goya around. We also had to build handicap ramps to negotiate the stairs. Even with the ramps it wasn't easy. The hoyer lift was not that expensive to rent. We called medical supply shops in the area. We didn't tell them it was for our dog, we weren't sure if that would have made a difference to them. The hoyer lift was better than an engine lift we looked at from an auto supply store. Both lifts are a hydraulic arm supported by a steel V with the supported object in-between the legs of the V. The Hoyer lift can bring the legs of the V together while supporting the dog. The engine lift had solid legs. We needed the ability to bring the legs together to be able to get through our front door.

    The idea of swimming I think is great. Goya really liked the physical therapy tank. We don't have a lake nearby that we could have taken him to. Perhaps there is a physical therapy vet nearby.

    Goya seemed to like just being outside supported by the sling/hoyer lift. We live in Pittsburgh, so we could take him around the corner to Starbucks, though we only did that a couple of times. Mostly we just took him outside, until he (or we) got cold and then we took him back in.

    I do believe your dog will get better. It just seems to take time. Goya was down for a long time, but he seemed to get back his abulatory abilities and could do many of the activities he enjoyed before the illness.

    Best of luck.

  • At Tue Nov 24, 06:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Just to make Gary's comment very clear - Goya did NOT die of coonhound paralysis. He recovered and had 9 good months walking to the coffee shop and being the darling of the neighborhood. He died of an unrelated, painful, bone cancer a few days before his 10th birthday.

  • At Mon Dec 07, 03:08:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    lunafaille just read your story. been like 10 days ago when you blogged but how are things. Seems like with our sallie the first time that we were so surprised when she turned the corner. Don't give up cause it can happen in an instant when you don't even expect it and it is so exciting and everyone is excited. Seems like there is no set time for recovery. Atleast you are seeing improvement. To me that is what you look for even if it is just a little thing. What a strange disease.

  • At Tue Dec 29, 02:09:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a border collie called Jan. She came down with paralysis after being bitten by a raccoon. The paralysis struck on 7th Nov 2009, she started to try to get up on 10th Dec and was fully walking again by the 14th, much happiness all round. Unfortunately this morning 29th Dec she seems to have relapsed and is now paralyzed again, such sadness, can anyone please tell me if this is likely to be an expected relapse or the result of another bite.

  • At Wed Dec 30, 10:59:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    From everything I've read about the illness, once they've contracted it, they are more susceptible to a relapse, so it;s very important to keep the pet safe from the offending cause (raccoon saliva or blood). No one is sure why this is, not even vets.

    I'm sorry about your doggy. Our baby Rina has been down for 2.5 months, but is showing lots of improvement, though she is not walking yet.

    Keep your chin up!

  • At Wed Dec 30, 12:44:00 PM EST, Blogger Giraffe said…

    Goya also came down with coonhound paralysis twice. The second time was why we started this blog. He also recovered both times. Though you should have a physically easier time with a border collie, the psychological strain on you and the dog is probably the same.

    In Goya's case the relapse recovery was more prolonged. However, he was much older the second time. In both of his cases, we never knew what the source of the disease was. We never thought he had any interaction with a raccoon, or any other common source.

    Best of luck, and I hope Jan is running in the yard again soon.

  • At Sat Jan 09, 09:59:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi guys,

    I'm not sure if you are still reading and replying to the posts. I
    I live in Australia and our dog was diagnosed with coonhound paralysis on Thursday by a specialist vet, today is Saturday.
    Isla is a mini foxie terrier, almost 5 years old. On Monday, she was running around crazy as normal and when running down the stairs seemed to have slipped down the last few stairs. She did not show any signs of having hurt herself straight away. A couple of hours later, she was trying to climb out of her beanbag and her back legs were slipping out from under her, like she was on ice. Within a couple of minutes, she was struggling to get up but could still use her front legs.
    At first I thought she might have a paralysis tick or something like that. She began vomiting and I took her to the local vet, who took me she'd just hurt herself falling down the stairs on was vomiting, drooling and had watery eyes because she must've hit her head and been concussed, although i did not see her hit her head.
    This was around 4pm. By about 9.30pm that night, she was not able to use her front legs. She could still look around and wag her tail though. I called the vet and he said she was fine and to call them back if her breathing got worse.
    I swear I slept so lightly that night, just to make sure i could hear her.
    The next morning (Tuesday) i noticed her breathing was shallow and this concerned me. I called the vet and took her back in there and the vet told me that i needed to take her to a specialist vet because she had declined very rapidly, either that or enthuanise her.
    Aside from the fact that i love my beautiful little Isla with all my heart, I wanted to fight for her because i knew she was still metally all there.

  • At Sat Jan 09, 10:00:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My partner and I spent all day trying to get financial support to take her to the specialist and finally arrived at her consultation on Wednesday at 12 noon. By this time, Isla's eyes were very dry, she was struggling with blinking, her limbs were still paralysed, she was not wagging her tail so much anymore. She was not eating nor drinking, once she smelt food she wanted to eat but it just seemed like she struggled with this. We had to squirt little bits of water into her mouth in an attempt to keep her fluids up. Despite this, i believe that she was dehydrated because she just wasnt getting enough.
    The specialist vets were not sure what was wrong with her when they first saw her. We do not have raccoons in Australia and no one knows how a dog can contract the paralysis. I have no idea. I wonder if it came from a possum maybe?
    The specialist vets were so kind and generous with their time and support. They took us through the possibilities of what Isla could have and Coon hound paralysis was probably the second least probably on the list. Isla had a blood and urine test, she had a drip put in to keep her hydrated, she had an injection for mysemia (or something like that) and a chest xray. By this time, Isla's eyes were really dry, her nose was congested and she was having trouble breathing through it. She still had enough fight in her to pull away when someone was trying to wipe her nose or put drops in her eyes though!!
    The specialist vets concluded that although her oesophagus looked as though it was working fine, they believed it was slightly paralysed as well and did not want to take the risk or her choking. At first they were baffled by her eyes, nose and oesophagus not working properly because they'd not seen it before but soon found information stating that this can happen with coonhound paralysis. Most of the other suggestions had been discounted because she either didnt test for them or didnt have enough symptoms to point to them.
    So they diagnosed her as having coonhound paralysis.
    Thursday she looked probably the worst she has been, i felt physically sick in the stomach. I think it had all happened so fast that, like she couldnt understand what was happening, i was struggling to get a hold of it as well. I mean, how could such a beautiful, happy, joyous dog be struck down so much that she cant even sit up and she struggles to breathe?
    We needed to bring her home, but couldnt if she wasnt eating or drinking. We decided to have a feeding tube inserted into her stomach so that she could come home and we could feed and nurse her until she got better (hopefully). The operation to have the tube inserted went really well. We saw her just before and just after before we had to come home.
    Her eyes were much brighter and she seemed more alert. Her eyes were seeming to produce more tears and were more lubricated. Her nose was more clear and she was having an easier time breathing.
    Today is Saturday and the vets have told me that Isla has had a bit of diaorhea today, but otherwise she is doing fine. They are starting to feed her liquids through her feeding tube.
    I will be travelling back down to pick her up on Tuesday.
    I am glad that their are other ppl out there that love their pets as much as me, I'm sure some ppl think i'm crazy wanting to spend this money to get my dog better but i love her and cant imagine life without her.

    Here's to hoping, praying and looking to the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • At Sat Jan 09, 11:17:00 AM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    To Isla's mom or dad,
    So sorry to hear about your ordeal. Please know first of all that although it is commonly called "coonhound paralysis", it can be contracted without any contact with raccoons. The vets think it is a reaction to _something_ in the dog's environment (often the salivia of a raccoon), but NOT necessarily anything having to do with raccoons. Goya did not have any contact with raccoons either. Please see Gary's post on Tuesday, March 28, 2006, where he reviews other things our vets considered and gives links to them.

    If it is coonhound paralysis, that can easily get worse and worse for 10-days to 2-weeks, and then start getting better. But that is a long time to wait when you and Isla are so distressed. With Goya, he seemed not to be in any pain -- the coonhound paralysis never affected his breathing or digestion, as it does with some dogs - he just seemed confused about why he couldn't move. We could live with a bemused mastiff for a few weeks to see if the downward progression would stop (mastiffs are often bemused about the world anyway, the big goofs that they are). So our choices were not as difficult as yours seem to be with Isla's more distressful symptoms. We just had to handle feeding, elimination, and turning him over to prevent bed sores, not listening for him to breathe, IV feeding, and re-hydrating his eyes and nose.

    Best of luck to you all and please do not hesitate to post if there is anything we can dothat could help.


  • At Tue Jan 26, 03:14:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow - thank you all for your input. We also have a siberian husky (just over a year old) who has come down with this disease. As with all the previous post I have read, it attacked Zeus very quickly and actually our Vet diagnosed it on our initial visit to him, before Zues had lost all his movement on December 17th, 2009. Unfortunately, as with other post, Zeus's condition has not improved at all over the last 6 weeks. He continues to eat and drink very little and has no control of his limbs nor can he wag his tail. He does stretch and will raise his leg (when on his side lying down) so as to scratch his belly. We take him outside 3-4 times a day so he can go to the bathroom and he actually will sit(roll) up on his belly and then can scootch with his hind legs so he can urinate and then scootch a little farther forward so as not to be laying in his urine, but that is the extent of his movement. He still has no control of his front legs and if anyone out there is familiar with husky's, he is a "talker", but do to this disease, can't even talk anymore. It is so sad to see him laying there with his mouth going up and down with no sound. From what I have read, this can last up to 4 months, but then I read some of your blogs talking about 8 months to full recovery? I certainly hope not, but if that's how long it will take, I guess we will stay the course with hopes that it wont be that long. It is just so sad to see our pup(we still think of him as that even though he's a big husky at 65lbs), in this condition. If anyone out there could possibly give us any suggestions or possible treatments it would be most appreciated. Hoping for the best


  • At Sun Feb 07, 07:14:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Follow-up to post on 11-14-09 for black lab Angus. He's about 98% after 4 months of recovery. Although he may not have been as badly effected as some other dogs mentioned at this site. He was unable to stand on his own for 2 weeks, but always had good appetite and able to stand (with assistance) long enough to take care of his business. He's back to walking 3-6 miles a day, jumping, and does run when chasing birds, squirrels, etc. His breathing is the 2% where he continues to struggle.

    Although they may get better on their own, I do HIGHLY recommend my regimen of heated massage (spinal cord, hips, shoulders), range of motion exercises, and encouraging them to push themselves physically -- whether crawling or For owners: PATIENCE, FAITH, and LOVE.

    Good Luck to all of you still working with your dogs towards recovery.


  • At Mon Feb 08, 03:25:00 PM EST, Blogger Giraffe said…

    Thanks Brenda, I am so happy to hear that Angus has recovered so well.


  • At Tue Feb 09, 04:02:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey all, with emmitt (six year old black lab) the progression we beleive to be quick, I was out of town on business and my wife left the house at 8am, he was fine, absolutely normal. At noon or so when she returned home, he could not stand, but was able to scootch around barely, and we think he likely fell down the stairs as we found him on the main level, and he always sleeps upstairs. As things progressed, he also had very droopy face and a lot of food would get caught in his jowls, whcih I had to clean out after anything he ate. I added in some pure mean to his food to ensure he would continue eating. I would carry him around to do his business, luckily he was only 55 lbs or so. He also lost 10-15% of his weight during the ordeal. The eyes were a baffeling problem to me. He was unable to blink his eyes for some time, and I would set my alarm to wake up in the night to put drops in them. He would always let me do it without a fight, I think he knew I was helping him... He did also have a relaps, after about a few days of steady recovery, but it wasn't weeks later as described by some of these experiences. I think it was just a bump in the road to recovery as comapred to another boubt of the illness.

    Good luck, and know that these pups will pull through!

    Keep the faith!


  • At Wed Feb 17, 05:15:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We have a Border Collie/English Shepherd mix. As you know, they are VERY active. She was fine last Friday, something looked a little off on Saturday, but then I decided I had imagined it. On Sunday, however, she could not pull herself up. She could walk a short distance after we got her up, but did seem to have trouble with it. She loves to be outside, so I put her on her bed, out of the wind (highs in the 30s) but in the sun. Checked on her an hour or so later and she had drug herself to the grass. I think to have a BM as she hadn't for a couple days. This was on Tuesday. She has not been able to support herself since then. She does wag her tail, and so far she eats and drinks. She can roll herself now and then from side to side, and can lift her head and chest to look around. She had a large growth last week diagnosed as an infection from her molar. That was Thursday, she was put on an anit-inflammatory and antibiotic. And then this hit Saturday/Sunday. She went back to the vet today (went on Monday because of the near paralysis) for more blood tests and checking. Everything seems to be 'normal'. Sounds like this disease. She is 9 years old and not happy about being sedentary. Do the range of motion exercises simply mean moving and bending limbs? And for how long do you do it? 15 minutes? 5? An hour? I am in Arkansas and the weather is mostly in the 40's right now. She loves to be that too cold? HELP!!!

  • At Wed Feb 17, 05:49:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OK....word from the vet on our Border Collie. He says not this disease because she is still responding to stimulus. He tapped her joints and is getting a response. And as noted, she does move her tail and can push a bit with her legs while lying down. Thoughts?

  • At Wed Feb 17, 07:29:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    The first time Goya had the disease, he did not lose all responses in his extremities. He could push himself short distances to relieve himself, just as you describe that your dog does. But he was still diagnosed with coonhound paralysis by the neurologists at Ohio State Veterinary school. I don't know what your vet is seeing, but in our experience, full paralysis is not necessary for it to be coonhound paralysis.

  • At Wed Feb 17, 09:28:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    To the Border Collie's owner -- answering your other questions.

    Q: Do the range of motion exercises simply mean moving and bending limbs?
    A: Yes, moving the legs in a bicycle-like movement is the exercise we did.

    Q: And for how long do you do it? 15 minutes? 5? An hour?
    A: For as long as you and your dog like it and can do it. My guess is that your dog would be happy with your attention, as much as you can give (given that you have other things to do in your life). I set up a TV in the room Goya was in and I would do the exercises for a few minutes in between other household chores, or I would do them while watching a TV show (about an hour). He sometimes gave me a dirty look after a while, which told me he was tired of me fussing with him, but most of the time he wanted me to do it as long as I had the time.

    Q: I am in Arkansas and the weather is mostly in the 40's right now. She loves to be that too cold? HELP!!!
    A: For my dog that would have probably been too cold because he was always an indoor dog. So it depends on your dog's tolerance for cold, I suppose -- I would ask your vet. We did set up a tent for Goya so he could be outdoors for long periods of time and not get rained on (this was later in the springtime). I put a blow-up baby pool on the floor of the tent with towels down for him to lay on, so if he peed, the bottom of the tent wouldn't get ruined. Maybe you could do something like that for your dog and include a lamp with an incandescent light bulb inside the tent for a small amount of warmth (a friend told me this is a common practice in her area of Colorado foothills - dog houses have light bulbs to keep them just a little warmer). Again, I would ask your vet on this one.

  • At Thu Feb 18, 11:57:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Thank you for your information on my Border Collie. I have another question: It is supposed to be in the mid 50's today, so a nice day. Our dog definitely has a tolerance for cold. She normally gets very perky when summer is over and she finally gets cool weather. At any rate, I put her out on her bed in the grass so she could be outside. I put her in a spot where I can watch her. She quickly began crawling off the bed and has been dragging herself around on the ground. I don't know if she wants to be in a particular spot, or if she just wants to be able to do her roaming thing. We have over 100 acres that she normally roams at will. She pulls with her front legs, puts her tail up and pushes with her back legs. Should I let her continue to do this if she feels like it as it will work her muscles, or should I bring her back on the porch or in the house where she sits still and can rest and heal? THANK YOU!!!

  • At Thu Feb 18, 01:36:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    To the Border Collie's owner,
    Just to be clear again, I am not a vet and you should talk with your vet about this, but I can tell you what happened with Goya in a similar situation.

    Mastiffs like to lay in one spot when they are healthy, let alone when they are paralyzed, so I knew it wasn't a desire to roam when he crawled around. For him, he only moved when he needed to poop -- he would crawl to a place he deemed appropriate and then crawl a little ways away to get out of the mess and then collapse from exhaustion. Everything I had read or heard indicated that every movement he could exert himself to make was just making him stronger (the muscles start to atrophy during the paralyzed time), so I was happy to see him crawl.

    HOWEVER, when my husband was traveling, I couldn't get him out to he grsss alone and much to my horror, he crawled across the asphalt driveway to get to the grass (only grass was appropriate for elimination in his mind, you see) and he tore up his feet and legs, scraping the skin horribly. Then as he lay in the grass, bugs came for the blood and he couldn't do turn around enough to do anything about the bugs himself. He was too heavy for me to get him back in the house after he did this crawling on his own -- I remember being at a loss as to how to help him and save him from the bugs without opening more wounds... it wasn't an easy day. I finally got some neighbors to help me lift him enough to get him back into the house that day.

    Soooo, bottom line, I would see the crawling itself as a good thing, but keep a careful eye on whether she is tearing up her skin by crawling. Again, I am not a vet, so this is just my non-medical opinion based on my experience with Goya's first bout of coonhound paralysis (when he wasn't as paralyzed as during his second bout).

  • At Thu Feb 18, 07:00:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks, Bonnie. We have been in contact with the vet, but he has discounted this disease. He has put her on an antibiotic to treat meningitis, and she is still on her anti-inflammatory from her infection. I don't agree with the meningitis thing, as he is going with it not knowing what else it could be. To me, she displays MANY more symptoms of this than meningitis. I will continue to give her the medicine as my husband is on board with it, but continue to follow the recovery protocol all you folks have outlined. Our dog is still in pretty good spirits, so we will just keep working with her. I believe she really did wear herself out today as I went to see if I could help her get to a spot and she was not interested in putting her legs down at all. We are using a sling type of thing to support her and yesterday she was attempting to put some weight on herself, but not after her crawl through the grass. We will try when my husband gets home here in a bit, just to keep her moving. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I absolutely understand you are not a vet, just gathering all the info I can from all avenues.

  • At Sat Mar 06, 12:36:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Follow-up post from 2-7-10 and original post on 11-14-09 regarding Angus.

    First, thank you so much Bonnie for your continued support on this site. You've been a great help to so many people. And, thanks Gary for 11-15 post.

    Angus was back to old self for nearly 3 months before he tangled with another coon. You guessed it ... 10 days later he became paralyzed -- on 3-1-10. Here we go again. He is worse this time. However I started heated massage and range of motion exercises on day 1 instead of waiting a week trying to get a correct diagnosis.

    This time he cannot support any weight, he cannot role over on his own, it has paralyzed his tail, and even his neck is partially paralyzed which is why I believe he's also having trouble eating.

    We're on day 6 and I hope it does not get any worse.


  • At Sun Mar 07, 07:45:00 PM EST, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Poor Angus; poor you. Goya was also much worse the second time -- the few days when he couldn't wag his tail were the worst because he couldn't communicate that he was still glad to see us. Best of luck,
    Bonni & Gary

  • At Sun Mar 14, 10:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Follow-up from 3-6-10 post on Angus. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow. His neck continues to get stronger over the last 3 days. This makes it easier for him to eat and drink. My therapy regimen continues which takes approximately 1.5 hours in am & pm.

    I'm reassessing my timeline goals for his recovery. I have been too optimistic. Hoping now that he can roll over on his own at 6 weeks and stand on his own at 3 months??? Yikes -- that's overwhelming to think about! I had better just take one day at a time.


  • At Fri Mar 26, 02:47:00 AM EDT, Blogger welovetea said…

    Hey there! Our lhasa apso puppy, Xochi, injured her spine just 8 days ago so we're just starting out on this process ourselves...We just started a blog for her, as well! ( It has been an exhausting week but we're hanging in there. Thanks for sharing about your experiences!

  • At Tue Apr 13, 04:33:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I am the one with the Border Collie/English Shepherd Mix. Missy is her name. Through February and March we continue to carry Missy in and out, and did passive exercises. Toward the end of March when she was starting to crawl farther (indicating a bit more strength), we began standing her up with my husband supporting her and I lured her with a treat to step forward. It was difficult, and her toes turned under when she tried, but she eventually got to where she was correcting it. Then, about a week and a half ago, she took a few steps without being supported!!! Yea!!!! She turned her back toes under, but a couple more tries later in the day and she had corrected that!! Now, we stand her up and first thing in the morning she can walk, squat to go potty without falling, and walk down stairs if they are wide enough and not too steep. What progress she has made!! She still can't get herself up, really. If she is on a particular incline she can, but not from a starting flat position. But there is definitely hope, and I feel sure as she builds muscle she will make more and more progress. Thank you for this blog....we may not have continued without the indication it would improve!! I would have, but not sure my husband would have. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • At Tue Apr 27, 12:01:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Iknow there aren't any recent accounts but can anyone tell me if their dog ever had their esophagus paralized along with this horrible disease? Car'mel is a 1 yr old St. poodle with coonhound paralysis. We are on day 8 from first symptom and it's been slowly downhill all along. He can still hold his head up if you set him up on sternum, but cannot eat or drink without produceing so much saliva that he chokes. Am praying his lungs continue to work and he is on an IV to prevent aspiration pneumonia. Sure could use a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • At Tue Apr 27, 03:51:00 PM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Goya never got that bad, but the general information I found on the web a few years ago talked about dogs that have had their breathing effected and have recovered. The bottom line was "if you nurse them, they will recover." I haven't found any specific cases on the web, though.

  • At Wed Apr 28, 01:30:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for responding. I hadn't found anything either so I did an AskaVet and he that the cranial X nerve is sometimes effected which can include the esophagus. We are on day 9 and today he pooped for the first time in 4 days, ate 2 scrambled eggs with out the slime, and the choking!!!! I don't know if it is timing or the medications we have tried. But I am grateful for a baby step. I have worked as a Vet. Tech for 30+ years and had never seen or heard of this disease until my dog contacted it. I still don't know for sure how Car'mel contacted this. It is possible that he came in contact with a raccoon while staying at my daughters. It was the first time I had left him as my husband and I had out of town business. He loves going to my daughters to play with her dogs and his brother. Nobody else got sick so am not sure why him. I know we have a long road ahead of us from reading your blog. You can be sure I will not take the chance of a second exposure!!!! They can come to my house to play in the future. That was the key word, future. I never stopped believing there would be one. Will update again later.

  • At Sat May 01, 09:37:00 PM EDT, Blogger Bonnie said…

    To Car'mel's mom,
    So glad there is progress!!!

    Goya was a city dog and did NOT come into contact with a raccoon either time he came down with this paralysis. That common name is a misnomer left over from a time when they thought the infection vector was through raccoon saliva, but has now been discarded since dogs that have no contact with raccoons have come down with it. Both times Goya had it, we had just started some construction in our house, so I am wondering if it was some toxin in the walls that was stirred up by the construction, but that also might have been a coincidence. We also had two other dogs in the house at the time and neither one of them got sick, only he was susceptible.

    We'd all love to hear about Car'mel's progress.

  • At Wed May 12, 09:56:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just wanted to update Car'mel's progress and to see if you have any suggestions. It has been 4 weeks since first sign of illness and Car'mel is walking, eating, drinking some, (I still worry if he's drinking enough)and wanting to play with our other 2 dogs. It seems like when he's getting an antibiotic called Baytril and Reglan for the paralized esophagus he does alot better. Kinda like you wrote about the doxycycline. When I try to discontinue the injections (he moves real good when he sees the syringe!Poor baby I don't blame him)he will have trouble keeping his balance,doesn't
    eat as well and sleeps alot more. I'm going to see if I can put him on the oral version of these two drugs since he doesn't seem to be having all the excess saliva and can maybe keep them down. I also have been giving him cooked ground venision with dry food and water. He loves it!!!! Maybe he will forgive me for the many shots and SQ fluids I have had to give him. It amazes me that he can do so well for 2 days and then have him go backwards for a day or two. What a strange and unpredictable disease. No two dogs are the same. Everybody has something different to contend with. Any suggestions to keep the progress going forward instead of back?

  • At Wed Jul 28, 11:38:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Yvonne said…

    Hey Bonny, first I would like to say a big THANK YOU for making this blog!! I am from Germany and this disease is rarely known over here. It isn`t even mentioned in a medical book. The dog of my boss is suffering from this disease. She is now on her 4th day of it and her legs are completely paralized. She eats and drinks pretty normal.
    From all this comments we have an idea of dealing with this disease. But is there any medical therapy one of you can commend?

  • At Wed Jul 28, 01:00:00 PM EDT, Blogger Gary said…


    Be sure to check out the story on Goya's first bout of Coonhound Paralysis for the other possible diseases that have similar symptoms.

    If you are sure that this dog has Coonhound paralysis, then nursing care is all the only treatment we have found. It sounds like if the dog is eating and drinking normally, then administering nursing care may be easy. That is assuming that you aren't dealing with a dog the size of Goya.

    In the US, it took a couple days to get the Myasthenia Gravis results back in 2003, and maybe a week for the Tick borne disease results. Perhaps these tests take less time now. One thing to try (fairly safe I believe) is an antibiotic. That is the treatment for a tick borne disease, and it may help if that is the root problem. I would ask my vet about trying one, especially if a proper diagnosis was going to take a long time. The treatment of MG in 2003 was Tensilon and if the dog didn't have MG then the Tensilon treatment could cause heart problems. I personally would be worried about using that drug as a diagnostic tool.

  • At Mon Sep 06, 10:00:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My dog, Dash, is a 3 1/2 yr old golden retreiver and is in the hospital with a suspected case of coonhound paralysis. He became ill 2 weeks ago today. At first he just walked around with his neck hung low and looked depressed. On day 3 he was totally lame and shaking, but not paralized. I took him into the vet immediately, he was tested for lyme and had x-rays done for a possible neck injury. The lyme came back negative. They sent us home with pain medicine, antibiotics and prednisone. After 2 days he wasn't getting much better so the vet had me double his dose od prednisone. I started to see a huge improvement. He started eating and was able to move around rather well, no getting onto the couch though, which is his favorite spot. On day 10 he started to take a turn for the worse. In the morning he was fine, by late afternoon he was walking very slow. As the evening went by his back legs started to stiffen and drag. He could barely get up the one step we have in our house. By 11:00 pm he couldn't sit or lay down, we had to pick him up and lay him down. By morning on day 11, he was having trouble walking and standing. His front legs were giving out. They would either be completely stiff and slide forward or buckle and he would fall. Being that it was Sunday, Labor Day weekend, my vet was not open. I called around and found a animal hospital with a vet on call who would see Dash. His immediate response when he first seen him was coonhound. He kept him over night for obsevation and to start him with a shot of another steroid, since he was weaning of his prednisone. When I left him at 10:00 am he was still getting up to walk, but was falling down. When the Dr. called me at 5:00 pm, he had said he had gotten worse and was not able to get up at this point and was concerned with his breathing. This morning, Monday,
    around 9:00 he called with an update and said not much had changed. We made arrangement for me to see him at 5:00 pm. When I got there he was horrible, I immediately had a break down. He said with in the last 4 hrs. he had gotten worse, but didn't want to alarm me over the phone. At this time he was completely paralized, his head was shaking, mouth was drooling and his tongue was hanging out. It looked to me like he was having a seizure, but he was alert and he followed me with his eyes. I just had to leave him like that another night and it about broke my heart. The Dr. is still concern with his breathing. He has been a vet for almost 30 yrs and has seen about a dozen of these cases and said this is the most severe he has seen. In the morning he is going to consult with a neurologist to make sure he is not missing anything. He also said if he needs a resporator, he would have to transfer him to another hospital and that could run up to a 1,000.00 a day. Has anyone experienced this, actually having to put their dog on a resporator?????? Has anyone experience their dogs head shaking and drooling? I appreciate any advice given!!!!!

  • At Tue Sep 07, 08:15:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gary said…

    To Dash's owner,

    I am so sorry Dash is having so many problems. As you probably read on the blog, Goya was completely paralyzed the second time (couldn't lift his head) but he didn't need any real equipment other than urinary tubes.

    I have heard of other dogs needing a respirator. What I don't know is any information on how long a dog might be on the respirator. The fact that Dash temporarily responded to prednisone is amazing to me. However, I'm not a vet.

    The second time Goya never had head shaking, or drooling. He seemed to be in control of everything from the neck up, and all the autonomous nervous system (swallowing, breathing, etc.).

    The first time, Goya was much younger. He was a little older than Dash. He recovered relatively quickly only losing control of his back legs, which he lost complete control of for about 2 weeks.

    I wish I could help more. Both Bonnie and I do monitor this blog and perhaps she will remember something I forgot. Best of luck in this difficult time.

  • At Wed Sep 08, 01:22:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for responding Gary. Shortly after I wrote to you last night I recieved a call from the Dr.that Dash had passed. He still believes Dash had coonhound, but he has never seen a case so severe. He said he suddenly stopped breathing around 9:30 pm. I had left him at 6:00 pm. He incubated him and preformed cpr until his heart stopped. I never wanted to leave his side last night after seeing him in such a horrible state. Unfortunately, with his breathing the way it was I couldn't take him home and it was a holiday and couldn't stay with him all night. The Dr. thought if he didn't get any worse through out the night I would be able to bring him home today. Sadly, he never made it. He is going to preform an autopsy tomorrow. He would like to make sure there was not another cause for his sudden illness that was somehow over looked. I myself would always wonder as well if this could've been prevented. I will update you with these results once I receive them.
    Rest in peace Dash....

  • At Tue Feb 15, 10:02:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    tres interessant, merci

  • At Tue Feb 15, 09:55:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work! Thumbs up, and keep it going!

  • At Fri Mar 04, 03:17:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Thanks for sharing the link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


  • At Fri Mar 04, 03:37:00 PM EST, Blogger Gary said…

    Peter. I was unable to determine what link you are referring to in your comment. If you can give me a better idea what link isn't working, I will fix it.

  • At Sat Mar 05, 12:47:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello there,

    I have a message for the webmaster/admin here at

    May I use part of the information from this post above if I give a link back to this site?


  • At Sun Apr 03, 12:52:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Wheaten w/CHP said…


    Thanks for this blog. It has been a great source of information for me as I have been dealing with a case of CHP in my dog for 2 weeks. My dog *seems* to be out of the woods on respiratory issues, and I am now beginning to look at the long term therapy and prognosis for him. That is why I am writing today.

    As background: my 3.5 year old wheaten terrier was had CHP for 2 weeks as of today. He received excellent and immediate vet care, and has been able to stay at home and has not needed ventilation. The paralysis began with a weakened bark and within 72 hours progressed to total paralysis of his 4 limbs and extremely weakened muscles in his torso, preventing him from keeping his head up for most of the day. He eats and drinks from my hand, eliminates while lying down, which is humiliating for him, and I do physical therapy and turn him every 90 minutes or so as he begins to whine out of frustration. This is 24 hours a day. Despite some understandable frustration and irritation, his personality is still near 100% and it is clear that his mind has not been affected - he is still himself, albeit a slightly depressed and frustrated version.

    I am hoping to get some more information about the long term prognosis for dogs that recover from CHP. My understanding is that "most dogs" make a "full recovery". I haven't been able to find much information about how dogs that have recovered from CHP are doing 2, 3, 4 or more years later, and if their "full recovery" means they are 100% back to normal.

    "Most dogs" make a "full recovery". Putting him through weeks or even months of partial paralysis and difficult physical therapy with a 100% guarantee that he would truly make a "full recovery" is one thing. Putting him through this knowing that a) he is at increased risk of this happening again, and that it is likely to be worse the 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th time around) and that b) he may not be able to enjoy the things he did previously, makes be reconsider whether this is fair to him. He was an extremely active dog, and is happiest when he is very active. He attended day care 2-3 times a week, where he was famously one of the most high energy dogs running around the whole time. On the days he wasn't at daycare, he would run with me 3-5 miles and always challenged me to keep up with him. I cannot imagine this dog being happy with an exercise limitation that meant he couldn't participate in these activities anymore.

    Please know that my dog is a member of the family. He eats with us, sleeps with us and has lived a very happy and fortunate life. It would be the most awful and traumatic decision for me to make, but after watching him struggle for the past 2 weeks and having no real information about the future, the idea of whether allowing him to continue like this becomes something I have started to consider. I haven't given up on him - nor will I if a full recovery is truly likely. I am just trying to gather information about what life is like for these dogs long term. I have already spoken with his current vet, his previous vet and the neurologist and PT treating him. No one has anything to offer other than we won't really know how much he will recover until he is there. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you, and best wishes to those of you also nursing your dogs through this condition.

  • At Mon Apr 04, 03:36:00 PM EDT, Blogger Gary said…

    To Wheaten's owner.

    In Goya's first bout with CHP he came back to normal. He was running and pretty much the same dog. Note that any mastiff is not much of a running dog.

    Wheaten sounds like he is having a worse bout with CHP than Goya did the first time. At 3 weeks Goya was walking again (if I remember correctly). Having a worse bout may just mean the recovery time is longer.

    Goya's second bout with CHP was much worse than his first. He was paralyzed on our living room floor for 4 months. We took him to physical rehabilitation before he could actually walk, and continued afterwards to make his quality of life be as good as it could be. Like most people I know, Goya wasn't very fond of the rehabilitation training, except for the drying off with the towels part.

    Goya didn't come back completely the second time. He was running to the back yard and his favorite tree, but he seemed to be holding back some. However, he also had limited time to recover. He was relatively old for a mastiff (10 years) and came down with bone cancer before he could completely recover.

    Was it worth it to us to nurse Goya back to health for what turned out to be a short time? Both Bonnie and I would say yes. I was spending the night with him to turn him over, and Bonnie was spending all day. But from our perspective it was the right thing to do for this member of our family.

    Was it the right thing to do from Goya's point of view? I'm no doggy mind reader. However, if I was put in that position, and had family/friends that would take care of me, I would want to try. I am sure I would get depressed during the process of recovery, as Goya seemed to. However, our throw of the dice turned out, it seemed to be the right thing to do for us.

    Best of luck with Wheathen

  • At Sat May 07, 08:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Wheaten w/CHP said…


    Thanks for responding to me earlier post. I would like to put an update here for future readers that are looking for information on recovery. My dog's condition declined in the first 10 days to paralysis and muscle weakness of his entire body, but fortunately did not reach his respiratory muscles. He even lost control over his torso - when I carried him he was like a newborn baby in that his head, back end, legs...all of him, would flop if not properly supported. After two weeks, and shortly after my last post, he began showing subtle signs of improvement. Perhaps coincidentally, or maybe not, he started showing the most improvement when he started getting visits from another dog. After two weeks of near isolation, I invited a playmate over for a few hours each day, and this is when he really started trying to move again. 30 days to the date of his diagnosis, he walked a few feet on his own. He has continued to progress since then. We are now at about 8 weeks past diagnosis, and he is walking again, eliminating outside (finally!) and gaining confidence and strength going up and down stairs. He still cannot jump up or down on couches, into the car, etc. I suspect this is mostly related to the muscle atrophy (which was significant), and that when he has more strength he will regain that ability. I am hopeful that his endurance will continue to increase and he truly will make a full recovery.

    As for relapses, I have been advised to titer test him prior to all vaccinations, and I plan to only vaccinate for the absolute necessities going forward. I do believe over vaccination may have been a trigger in his case.

    Thank you again for this resource. It was really so helpful for me during this really difficult period.

  • At Thu Jun 16, 04:38:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey - I am really glad to find this. cool job!

  • At Sun Jul 10, 01:32:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I admire your blog , it?s filled of lot of information. You just got one perennial visitor of this site!

  • At Wed Dec 14, 02:39:00 PM EST, Blogger Carrie, I am Elder McGhies MOM :) said…

    Hi, I dont know if you are still answering posts but I just had a question...our dog Walter had all the same things, paralysis but not in his head or neck anyway, he was making such great progress, he could almost sit up for a few seconds but then would collapse but we were so happy as he was making progress but we are in week 3 and suddenly his hind end is all floppy and he cant move it. It is like he has regressed and I was just wondering if making progress and regressing is normal in this awful disease? He was doing so well and now I am worried that he could just be getting worse and that maybe he wont start progressing again? Do some dogs regress in their improvement and then start progressing again?

  • At Thu Jan 05, 12:45:00 PM EST, Blogger The Russo Show said…

    I have a miniature poodle in his third bout in three years for what we think is coonhound (we just discovered this site and info, it has never been diagnosed by his vets)

    I was hoping for some discussion as well on what you are feeding your dogs while they are down, and how often.

    I have cared and nursed for him on the other occasions and he would go down and come back in a 2 to three week period. This spell seems to be a bit longer, but i noticed this morning he has more movement in his neck so I am hoping we are on an upswing.


  • At Fri Apr 06, 02:51:00 AM EDT, Anonymous International nursing recruitment said…

    Thanks for sharing...
    Very informative blog....

  • At Sat Apr 28, 11:50:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Don't know if you still monitor blog or not but wanted to give everyone that has had to watch their pet go thru this that there can be a happy ending. Car'mel my 3 year old St. Poodle has fully recovered and it has been 2years since he first battled this disease. He did have a positive diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis 3mo. after coonhound paralasis but has also completely recovered from this as well. For those that experience the drooling and excess saliva I can tell you that if you can fix a bed that the head is elavated it can help with aspirating. I slept next to Car'mel on the floor for about a month so that when he would wake up thrashing unable to breath, I would lift him up (all 65lbs) and massage his throat to help the saliva go down. He would do this 6-10 times a night. I really think ground venison helped him with weight loss and muscle atrophy. SQ fluids made it possible for him to be at home with constant care and ice cubes kept his mouth from drying out but didn't contribute to the choking he would sometimes experience. I hope I never have to deal with anything like this again! Thank you for having a blog like this for people like me that were scared to death. It was my light at the end of the tunnel. That and Prayer. I really thought I was going to loose him one Sunday, when my neighbors saw me crying outside with my paralized dog. I asked if they were going to church. They said yes, came over and said a prayer, and asked the members of their church to say a prayer also. Car'mel steadily got better day by day. Amen.

  • At Wed May 23, 07:23:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My 6 year old German shepherd showed signs of a bite on a Friday, and by the following Thursday was dragging his back end. 48 hrs later he could not even raise his head. He could still breathe and eat/drink if hand fed. He could move his eyes and ears. Sadly, 10 days later, he passed away. We held out for him to possibly get better, but he did not ever show signs of increased movement.

  • At Sun Aug 19, 03:08:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hello , my name is don and our dog, Stella is a Pug Dog . I dont know if this site is still monitored but i thought i would give it a go. About a week ago Stella , overnight became paralysed in front and back legs , it presented as a typical Tick paralyses, we took her to the vet and they could not find a tick or tick entry wound so they suggested she mighthave coonhounds disease. We have her home now after a week and we just need to know if she will get better and what we can do to help her . She does a wee with out problems but she hasnt and cant poo by herself . Has anyone got some tips for us to see her and us through this , some of your stories have been inspiring , thanks and regards , Don

  • At Sun Aug 19, 03:10:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi don here again , i forgot to mention that we live in australia and we dont have racoons , so if anybody else in Australia reads this i would lve to here from u , my email address is

  • At Mon Nov 12, 09:57:00 PM EST, Blogger Frankly Speaking said…

    My 5 year Aussie is paralyzed from what we conclude is Coonhound Paralysis. All other tests came up negative. He has not been able to stand up or support any weight in 3 weeks now. He is able to scooch around to find a good spot in the yard for his duties. But otherwise he is totally dependent on me. He weighs 70 pounds, or did. His appetite is down and of course the muscle loss. I weigh only 112 I'm getting some weightlifting in! He is at times I take him for rides in wagon, in the truck...his favorite place to be. My other dogs lie with him. We do range of motion exercises and groom him everyday. He can't reach his itches!
    Not sure if there is improvement or not, seems to have figured out scooching around a bit more. The thing I was wondering about is that last day or so he has begun to lick his front legs at times. Anyone else have their dogs do that? I'm hoping it is because they are tingling due to nerve repair and not just because he is bored or becoming distressed.

    Well I must say I'm torn about what to do for him other than what I am. He looks at me with such sadness...unless he knows we are going for a truck ride. He once jumped in front of an enraged racoon that was going to attack my bare legs! His chest was quite torn up after I was able to beat the racoon off of his neck. He is one of the best souls I know. So I'll do my best for him.

  • At Mon Jan 21, 01:27:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can I simply say what a comfort to find someone that really knows what they are talking about on the web. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you are not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  • At Tue Apr 02, 09:45:00 PM EDT, Blogger VICTORIA MARINO said…

    Vickie in Virginia-Thanks so much for the blog histories! My dog, Thorn, is part Australian Cattle Dog and German Shepard. He is currently having his 3rd episode in 4yrs of coonhound paralysis. He is the Alpha of my herd dogs and just wont let Racoon or skunk trespassers on my farm. I was really hoping someone would have suggestions for getting liquid intake in the dogs. Thorn will only take milk @ this point and refuses water. Each episode for him has been less severe but liquids are a problem. I've found he prefers being outside part of the day. He can actually wiggle himself on grass better than indoors when his legs are flaccid. Thorn was down 6wkswith the 1st time and 4wks last time.

  • At Thu Apr 14, 06:32:00 AM EDT, Blogger Kacy Fletcher said…

    Love you sotries and always remind me of our old black lab
    Personal Coaching

  • At Fri Apr 29, 06:06:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mike Hall said…

    I have a lab/pit bull mix that is currently suffering from coonhound paralysis for the second time in 2 years. The first time he did not lose control of his front legs and made a spontaneous recovery after two weeks. This time he has lost movement in all four limbs and can not lift his head. I was wondering if anyone has had a pet who had issues with breathing and can describe what that was like. He is able to eat and drink and can pee, but has not pooped for several days now. Sometimes he seems to struggle with breathing, or breath very deeply, but I've also noticed he seems to be trying to poop so I don't know if that is what his struggle is. I am concerned about what happens when they have issues with breathing and want to make sure if there is a problem I get him to the hospital right away. Thanks anyone who can provide some insight.


  • At Sat Apr 30, 02:53:00 PM EDT, Blogger Gary said…


    I have no experience with breathing problems. Breathing problems are scary. The closest we got was when the vets were checking for Myasthenia Gravis, and Bonnie was monitoring Goya's heartbeat. Bonnie probably saved Goya's life by taking him off the Myasthenia Gravis medicine.

    Goya did have problems pooping, but mainly it seemed because he didn't want to do it in the house, and we hadn't figured out how to move him. You seem to not have this problem.

  • At Tue Jul 26, 09:10:00 PM EDT, Blogger Elsy Chow said…

    I'm not sure if anyone is still active on this page but there are so few resources about this disease and I am broken up over my poor dog Holly. Holly is a 9 year old Cotton deTulear. Three weeks ago she seemed to be walking funny with her back legs. My daughter thought she had a sore front leg. I thought she had a sore back leg. Over the next 2 days she started to lose function in both her legs. We brought her to the Vet who told us to try anti inflammatories for a few days thinking it may have been a stroke. After 2 days with no improvement we were referred to Can West VET specialist to see a neurologist. By then Holly could not walk or stand. But would move her front paws being held up. After many test all coming back negative and a possible 3-5 diagnosis I found this blog. Coonshound disease sounded exactly like what she had. After waiting for blood work we returned to the neurologist a week later. Holly now was worse. She could no longer lay upright sternally. She cried every night. We were worried she was losing her ability to breath. The Dr prescribed a pain killer just in case she was in pain. And agreed she most likely had Coonshound disease.

    After 2 weeks I was hoping she was over the worst but she seems to have lost the ability to hold up her neck. She is very floppy. She lost 1 lb in one week. And she only weighs 9.5 lbs. We are doing physio and massage daily but I worry she will lose so much weight and muscle mass she will not recover. I hope she will start to show signs of improvement. Because it is so hard to see loved ones suffer. My only hope are these blogs and believing that she can get better as many of the other dogs have here.

  • At Wed Jul 27, 10:41:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gary said…

    Elay, My heart goes out to you and Holly. At 9.5lbs Holly is much easier to handle than Goya was, but I'm sure she is just as much a friend. From your description, she is having a bad attack. You didn't mention that they had ruled out tick-borne diseases, and myesthenia gravis, though given the amount of vet interest your vet probably did the right tests.

    2 weeks is definitely longer than Goya's first bout, but shorter than his second. We did have to do physical therapy with Goya to get his muscle tone back the second time. The Blog describes what we did.

    Hoping that Holly gets better quickly

  • At Thu Jul 28, 01:44:00 PM EDT, Blogger Elsy Chow said…

    Hi Gary, Thanks for the reply. I cannot imagine the work that went in to you and Bonnie nursing Goya. It must have been a tremendous feat. Holly is much easier to manoeuvre becuase of her size. but I worry she doesn't have much weight to lose if she does not start bouncing back soon. Yes we did have blood work sent to Sacramento and have the other diseases ruled out.

    It is taking a joint effort from the family to nurse Holly. We won't leave Holly for longer than 2 hours on her own. Today marks 3 weeks exactly to the day Holly showed signs of the disease. I feel like she is still going downhill.
    We really need her to stabilise and turn this thing around. It's surprising how little info there is in this disease and how there is so little we can do to help them. My biggest fear is that we are prolonging Hollys suffering.

  • At Fri Jul 29, 10:34:00 AM EDT, Blogger Elsy Chow said…

    It seemed poor Holly took a turn last night. She continued to lose muscle tone and was having problems breathing. In the end they thought it might not be Coonhound disease and maybe another unknown neuro illness. Sadly, we had to make the decision best for her. Thank you for this blog and the support.

  • At Fri Jul 29, 10:56:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gary said…

    I'm so sorry to hear about Holly. Bonnie and I have discussed whether we made the right decision about nursing Goya. It is always a hard decision and your friend can give you no guidance.

    Thanks for contributing.

  • At Sun Apr 29, 11:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger Fish said…

    #rorysfight you can find our story on facebook and Instagram. What a thing, this coon hound paralysis.

  • At Wed Jun 26, 12:19:00 PM EDT, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm not sure if this page is still active at all, but I'm in need of some input. My 4 year old coonhound Barkley ame down with coonhound paralysis nearly 6 days ago. It was very rapid, and in less than 12 hours he lost all control of his lower body. It continued to progress for several days, affecting his breathing. His oxygen levels have remained pretty stable to this point, and his breathing hasn't gotten worse over the past few days (although it hasn't gotten better either). The doctor said that if he declines to the point where he needs to be put on a respirator it would probably be time to put him down because it costs about $1000/day. I'm very worried about him because I've read that when the disease presents itself so quickly it's much more likely that the dog will need to be put on a respirator. Is there anyone else here whose dog declined so quickly?

    I was also wondering what typical veterinary costs should be. When I dropped him off at the emergency vet, I made a $2500 deposit and was given an estimate between $2500-$4000. Barkley has been there less than a week and the bill is already over $3000. This seems high to me, but I'm not really sure. I read a blog post where someone said they spent $3000 on vet bills during recovery, which seemed to include several weeks in a hospital and several months with an inpatient physical therapist, but I could have misread that. I haven't actually been told what anything is costing me yet (they didn't even let me know when I had exceeded my deposit), so I'm going to ask for an itemized bill when I visit today.

    If anyone who has any personal experience with coonhound paralysis still monitors this page I would really appreciate a response! This past week has been nerve-racking for me. My younger brother took his own life last July at the age of 22, and for the past year Barkley has been my main reason to keep my feet moving. I don't know what I would do without him, but I'm also quickly running out of money and I'm really worried that I won't be able to afford to take time off work in order to provide proper home care while he recovers.



Post a Comment

<< Home