Q:

What is FCE in dogs?

A:

Quick Answer

FCE stands for fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy. This is a disorder found in dogs where a part of the spinal cord doesn't work as it should. The cord is damaged due to a blockage in a blood vessel, which can be a result of rough play, fighting or simply landing wrong after a jump.

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Full Answer

The symptoms of FCE vary in severity from a wobbly gait to paralysis. Dogs experience pain when the injury is sustained, while some experience an inability to respond to pain after this sudden injury. Weakness in the affected limb is also a common symptom of FCE. The nerve damage is usually permanent, but it is unlikely to get worse after the first 24 hours when the dog is stabilized. Roughly 74 percent of dogs that suffer from this injury do show some amount of improvement over time with physical therapy and care.

It is possible for a dog to remain permanently paralyzed, requiring specialized care, such as using wheels that allow the dog to move independently and regularly, and turning a bed-ridden dog to prevent sores. This can be difficult for the owner, since FCE is most common in very large dogs. Smaller breeds with other related underlying conditions are also at risk.

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