Paralysis Due to Spinal Cord Lesion in Dogs

Schiff-Sherrington Phenomenon refers to a condition in which spinal cord is transected (cut across) by an acute and mostly severe lesion to the second lumbar (part of the back between pelvis and thorax) vertebrae (located in the lower back), causing exaggerated posturing in the upper extremities (front limb extension). Hind limb paralysis (regarded as the release phenomenon) can also occur due to damage to the border cells and interneurons located in the lumbar spinal cord, which normally exert influence on the spinal segments below the transection.

In other words, this condition occurs when the spinal cord is transected in the midthoracic region or a little lower, the stretch and other postural reflexes of the upper extremity become exaggerated; if the transection is made in the sacral cord, a similar effect is observed in the lower limbs. The effect is regarded as a release phenomenon, release from an inhibitory influence normally exerted by the spinal segments below the transection.

Common symptoms associated with this condition are

Unusual gait

Unable to walk or stand

Forelimbs are rigidly extended

Hind limbs show spastic paralysis (upper motor neuron lesion) or flaccidly paralyzed (lower motor neuron lesion)

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