Coonhound Paralysis


Neuro Corner Answers

Dr. Andrew Isaacs
DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)
Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center

Primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, seizure management, luxations/fractures of the spine, and surgery for brain tumors



After reading the article below on Coonhound Paralysis, is there a difference in symptoms between this and myelomalacia that we see in so many dachshunds?  How would you tell the difference when an IVDD prone dog is brought to your clinic?

“Coonhound Paralysis is a peripheral (outside of the spinal cord) nerve disorder. It is suspected to be an immune-mediated (the body attacking itself) destruction of the conductor material around the nerves exiting the spinal cord. This disease is initiated by an organism that has been transferred from contact with a raccoon. Dogs of any age or breed that have had contact with a raccoon within 7-14 days previously should be suspected if there is a progressive weakness to paresis or paralysis starting with the rear limbs and working forward. Rarely are the front limbs affected first. Rapid muscle atrophy is commonly seen. Occasionally facial paralysis, change in bark, or difficulty eating or breathing are seen. Recovery is usually complete but can take weeks to months.”


Yes, we see Coonhound Paralysis (polyradiculoneuritis) 3-5 times a year.  On exam it is pretty easy to tell the difference from a disc episode. With Coonhound the reflexes are decreased in all limbs and with support conscious proprioceptions (CP) are intact.

With myelomalacia there will be lack of deep pain sensation and with Coonhound Paralysis sensation is maintained.  With Coonhound Paralysis only the ventral nerve roots are involved (decreased to no motor function), but the dorsal nerve roots (sensation) are maintained.


This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the dog IVDD community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

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