Hind Leg Paralysis

There are a number of health related conditions that can cause what is known as hind leg paralysis in a hamster. Hind leg paralysis is a condition that affects the animal’s ability to use the hind legs and may become paralysed. Causes may include spinal trauma, myopathies, viral or bacterial infection, or muscle and bone degeneration through lack of exercise or a nutritional cause mainly by way of a deficiency in vitamins D and E.
Vitamin D is crucial to the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus. If calcium levels become too low in the blood the body responds by dissolving existing bone as it's source of calcium. It is usually the biggest bones in the body that are the first casualty of this process, this is the bones around the hip's and hind legs. The loss of calcium can also decrease muscle tone leading to very weak muscles and can render bones and muscles to become so weak they cannot support body weight.

Most animals that are exposed to natural sunlight are thus assured a good source of vitamin D. Caged animals kept in the home can lack a source of natural sunlight and it is important to make sure they receive this vital vitamin. However, herbivorous diets are very likely to contain sufficient vitamin D. but with improper husbandry and an improper diet a vitamin D deficiency can occur in any species. Pregnant females that are lacking, or are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to have babies that are also deficient in vitamin D. This may lead to soft bones and leg deformities in their offspring’s.
In a Syrian male hamster that is around 6 months of age, the onset of hind leg paralysis (dragging the back legs) could be an indication of hereditary defect. There is no cure for this problem.

One of the main causes of hind leg paralysis is a condition that can sometimes result from a bacterial infection. This is when the hamster contracts a bacterial intestinal infection known as Campylobacteriosis. The bacteria involved is Campylobacter: the infection will at first manifest it's self as a severe bout of diarrhea often referred to as Wet Tail although the infection is not always life threatening it can present major health issues. In a case of Campylobacteriosis the hamsters own defense system attacks the nerves of the PNS. The PNS (peripheral nervous system) is outside the central nervous system, meaning the brain and spinal cord these are the outer nerves that control the limbs.
After contracting Campylobacteriosis the immune system makes antibodies against the components of the Campylobacter bacteria, these antibodies then attack components of the body's nerve cells because they are chemically similar to the bacterial components.
When that happens paralysis of the hind leg or the whole body can result. In the case of hind leg paralysis this should in due course resolve itself with the pet eventually regaining most of the use of his legs again. With total body paralysis euthanasia may be the only option in this case.

Hind leg paralysis: This 5 week old hamster contracted Campylobacteriosis, the infection was treated successfully. But this left him with his hind legs paralyzed
hind leg paralysis

After a 10 day course of treatment he is now beginning to regain the use of his hind legs.The left seems a bit stronger than the right one at this stage.

hind leg update

After a further 10 days of care he has now made a good recovery, and using both back legs quite normally. We have aptly named him Hop-a-Long

hind leg




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