Cat being examined

Even without a history of injury, the inability to walk can strike dogs and cats at a moment's notice. Paralysis should be considered a life-threatening emergency, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Prepare to transport your pet using an ironing board or piece of plywood as a stretcher while keeping the animal as immobile as possible. Covering the pet with a blanket may help to keep him calm.

Don't encourage or allow your pet to move around, and do not provide any medication unless specifically instructed to by the veterinarian. Stay calm, and get your pet veterinary assistance immediately, either at your regular veterinary hospital or an emergency clinic.

Never trust a frightened, injured animal not to bite. A soft muzzle should be kept on hand for emergencies. If you're caught unprepared, you can always fashion one out of gauze (or even pantyhose) in a pinch.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.