BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY
What is the Brachial Plexus
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located in the lower neck, first rib and armpit that supplies the front leg.
Damage to the brachial plexus or the nerve roots supplying this area can be caused a car accident, a fall or a dog attack. This can result in weakness or paralysis of a front leg.
Signs of Brachial Plexus Injury
There is a spectrum of possibilities associated with a brachial plexus injury. This is dependent on the location and degree of damage incurred.
- There may be weight bearing but muscle wastage of the muscles over the scapula. This pets often lose range of motion of their shoulders and elbows also.
- There may be weakness or paralysis of the affected front leg. Muscle wastage of the whole front leg is rapid in these pets.
- Horners Syndrome is possible - this is where some of the nerves responsible for facial muscles and eye muscles are affected.
If the nerve sheath is intact natural regeneration can occur. The nerve can grow back at 1mm/ day. This means it can take months for improvement.
If the nerve has to grow too far to innervate the muscle then recovery of normal function will not occur.
There is no conventional veterinary treatment that has shown benefit in these pets.
Conservative treatments offered by Balance Vet Rehab that may be beneficial for these pets include:
Laser therapy has shown benefit in speeding nerve regeneration in some studies and so should be considered.
It is important to maintain as normal range of motion of joints as possible with rehabilitation. If recovery happens this gives the pet the best chance of achieving optimal function. This should be maintained for months.