Dog ate chocolate?

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Dog is paralyzed.

Species: Dog
Breed: Mini Schnauzer
Age: 2-5 years
How are you?
I have been reading lots of articles at your site and they help me more than I can imagine.

However, I never thought that I will be one who ask the saddest question to you.

I have a mini Schnauzer female dog which was born Oct 9, 2010. She is very active and lovely dog. My whole family members have been treating her as a little sister.

Yesterday afternoon around 4:00 PM, when my two kids entered home, and found Bibi was laid down on the floor and could not stand up or move.
So, as soon as I got back to home, I took her to Banfield to find out the problem, and they asked me bring her to Emergency Vet Hospital.
After the initial quick check-up by a doctor, he told me that she need be taken CT for further check up which cost me $2000.00.
This is the detail for the check-up
Visit Summary:
Bibi was presented for evaluation of acute onset tetraparesis. She was found unable to walk this evening. On presentation, she was tetraparetic. Her vital parameters were normal. She was unable to stand up. Neurological examination revealed conscious proprioceptive deficits in her right forelimb and right hindlimb. She was weak on the right side and stronger on the left side of her body. Her spinal reflexes were intact except for her right forelimb. Her cranial nerves were also normal. Her owner was advised she has a C5-T2 myelopathy from a problem in her neck. I advised blood tests and a cervical
CT scan to further evaluate her. Therapeutic plan and prognosis will depend on the result of this test. However, with appropriate therapy, prognosis is expected to be good. Her owner declined all
recommended diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and elected to take her home.

Right sided C5-T2 myelopathy - R/O fibrocartilaginous embolism, intervertebral disc disease, trauma
vs. others.
However, I took her out and brought to home because they cannot take CT at that time, and I cannot afford to have her CT for $2000.00
One of my best friend is Well-Known Chiropractor and Acupuncture in town, and she took more than 10 X-rays on Bibi, and cannot find any disc problems at least. And she treated her by Acupuncture. She told me she will treat her at least two months or until Bibi is fully recovered.
This morning, She can eat some, and moving her head a bit. But she doesn't want to drink water. When I pinch her four legs, and she re-acted and responded, but slowly. She urinated at her bed last night.

My main question is, I remembered that Bibi ate three grapes a couple of days ago while I prepared a dinner. Can it be the reason for her illness? Is she too young for having a stroke? Her weight is only 16 lbs. We have no idea what cause her paralyzed right side.
I do not know what to do now?
My daughter and son have cries all night long. I cannot watch her in any pain under paralyzed.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh I am sorry to hear of Bibi's situation.

I can understand not wanting to spend the money on a CT as this is very expensive. Unfortunately with this type of problem, there is no less expensive way to get a more accurate diagnosis.

I'll translate for you what the visit summary is saying:

Tetraparesis means that all four legs were unable to move. "Proprioceptive deficits" means that there is nerve damage to the right front and the right hind limb. The right side of her body seems to be more affected than the left. The right front leg seems to have even more nerve damage than any other leg.

What all of this means is that there is a significant problem in Bibi's spinal cord and this problem is probably somewhere in her neck.

Unfortunately when this happens, most dogs need surgery. There are some that can heal with anti-inflammatory medication but when the nerve deficits are this pronounced usually surgery is necessary.

If your friend who is a chiropractor and an acupuncturist is not a veterinarian then what she is doing with Bibi is actually illegal. Practicing veterinary medicine without a licence is a criminal offense in most states. There are some states that will allow a chiropractor to work on an animal as long as they are under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. I am sure that your friend means well but she could actually risk losing her license to practice chiropractic medicine because of this. Doing chiropractic adjustments on a dog with a possibly herniated disc is definitely not recommended and has the potential to do far more harm than good.

Bibi's illness is definitely not due to eating grapes. While some dogs can get grape toxicity the symptoms are an increase in thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea and definitely not paralysis.

From everything that you have described, there are really only a few possible reasons for Bibi's symptoms:
-severe intervertebral disc disease. When this happens a portion of disc material from between the vertebrae can push on the spinal cord and cause full or partial paralysis. In some cases, if it is caught early enough and the damage is not severe, dogs can recover with hospitalization and intensive steroid therapy. But, most dogs with this problem will need surgery. Unfortunately the surgery is quite expensive.
-fibrocartilaginous embolism - This is similar but instead of a disc protruding into the spinal column, a piece of cartilage is the culprit. I have heard of rare cases of dogs recovering after months of physical therapy but in most cases when a dog has this condition they do not recover.
-trauma - if Bibi had suffered a spinal cord injury such as from a vehicle accident this could do this, but this is unlikely given she was in the house.

What I am going to say here may be a little bit harsh but unfortunately I see only three options for Bibi:

1. Have the CT done and if surgery is possible, have surgery done. The cost is high, but this is her best chance at recovery.

2. Have the vet hospitalize Bibi and try steroid therapy. If there is no improvement in a few days then option 3 is probably needed. If there is some improvement you could keep going and probably treat her at home. This option *may* work, but from what you have described I think the chances are low.

3. Euthanasia. If #1 or #2 is not an option for you then unfortunately this is what I would recommend.

Given your situation, here is what I would recommend. I would advise that you have your regular veterinarian examine Bibi and also have a look at the medical records from the emergency visit. They will be able to determine if there is any improvement at all, and if there is any chance that medical therapy could work. If they feel that this is not an option then unfortunately it may be time to let her go.

I'm so sorry to deliver this hard news.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you very much for answer.

Yes, it is the most painful news I've ever got.
I do not know how to explain this to my two children.
I made a few calls to my vet, and others to get 2nd & 3rd opinions. So far, just like you wrote earlier, take CT or MRI , then get the surgery done. So I told my friend, the Chiroprator, that I need to bring her for CT tonight, and take your advice that jeopardized her license and career.
However, after a few calls, I found that the surgery can cost upto $12,000. Is it normal?
One last question, Is Bibi in any pain? I hope she is not in pain while I am looking for the best way to cure her.

Again thank you for your help.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

$12,000 sounds high to me. I usually tell people to expect between $4000-6000 for back surgery.

It is hard to say whether Bibi is in pain until we know what the cause is. Fibrocartilaginous embolisms are not painful, but disc protrusions usually are.

Customer reply:

Thank you again for your answer,

I will get the result for CT this afternoon, and I will look for another estimate for the surgery. I will make a decision by this afternoon.

However, Bibi doesn't want to eat anything this morning.
Should I feed her with the food, or buying something else?
Any recommendation for the food for her?

Thank you,


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry for the delay. I was not online for most of the day. If Bibi won't eat I wouldn't try to force her. If she is not eating it is because she is not feeling well. It won't hurt her to go without food and there likely isn't a food that is going to make her eat at this point.

I hope you got good news with the CT.

Dr. Marie

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.