Myelomalacia in Dogs

Myelomalacia, also known as hematomyelia, is a progressive ischemic (local deficiency of blood supply) necrosis of the spinal cord. It is caused by injury to the spinal cord or disc disease. The necrosis begins at the site of the injury and then in time, moves in both directions, up and back.

Symptoms include numbness and/or pain in areas below the injury, hind limb paralysis, loss of tone and reflexes in hind limbs as the spinal cord softens (malacia), hyperthermia, dilated anus.

Diagnosis begins with a complete history of the dog’s health, symptoms, when, where and how the injury occurred. The dog will have a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, x-rays of the spine, an MRI. Cerebrospinal fluid which nourishes the brain and spinal cord, may be taken for further evaluation at a laboratory.

Sadly, no treatment is available today to reverse spinal cord damage.

There are different treatments that may halt disease progression, but they may or may not work. Paralysis in dogs with Myelomalacia is permanent. Some veterinarians advise euthanasia so that the dog does not suffer.

A good friend’s sweet dog, Blackberry, has myelomalacia. Alternative treatments can help and Blackberry will undergo acupuncture. Massage. acupressure, TTouch, all may help. Recommendation is to discuss the problem with a holistic vet. Meanwhile we keep Blackberry in our prayers.

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