Accidentally Rolled My Dog Under My Car

Four days ago I hit my dog. Fortunately he rolled between the wheels of the car. No broken or dislocated bones, but some kind of spinal damage. To write that makes me want to vomit.
He’s a 50#, 11 year old mix who is the light in my life. He spent one night at the vet’s, and we were sent home with Rimadol and Tramadol and the instructions to wait for spinal cord swelling to go down.
His front end seems to be fine. His hind end is paralyzed. I turn him every few hours, he’s on a good padded bed and pee pads, seems comfortable as long as he doesn’t have to defecate (which freaks him out doing it in the house). He’s too stoic to do the deep pain toe pressure, but will pull his leg away from me when I mess with his back feet, and can move his tail.
I just ordered the “Toe-up” braces because his back toes knuckle under when I stand him to move.
I can’t believe I was such a GD* idiot and so careless as to hit him. We have an appointment in another week to check his progress. Any thoughts as to any kind of timeline for possible recovery from a swollen spinal cord and nerve damage? I can’t get through an hour without crying. He’s been truly the best dog ever.


Oh you poor things. Both of you. It was an accident! Be gentle on yourself. :worried:

(I accidentally let a heavy door shut on my cats tail last year. It had a kink he couldn’t straighten for a week, then it went back to normal. Not the same but similar?)


First off, I’m so sorry! Second, accidents happen. This same thing happened to my dad with their Jack russel mix Rico when he was around the same age as yours. I wasn’t living at home at the time, but Rico was in pretty bad shape and I don’t think they thought he would make it. My parents aren’t super pampering with their dogs, but he was on some meds to kill the pain for a while. He couldn’t use his hind end for a while but with enough rest though he got better! And he lived to be darn near 20 years old so there is hope. Dogs are friggin tough. Hang in there and try not to beat yourself up too bad :two_hearts:.


Please don’t beat yourself up {hug}

A friend nursed her cat through similar injury & he lived well into his teens.

:pray: Your guy (& you) make it through this setback.


When you go for the recheck, ask your DVM about acupuncture.


I am so sorry. What a horrible way to start the new year.

Keep him comfortable until you can get him an MRI for a spinal cord injury or slipped disc. Then perhaps surgery and rehab.

Hugs and jingles to you both.


I’m so sorry! It was an accident - if we own animals, sooner or later we’re going to be the unwitting cause of something similar. I know it’s useless to say ‘don’t beat yourself up,’ but truly - try not to!

Do you get him up with a sling and try to walk him a little (it might take two people), or did the vet say not to do that? Did he have x-rays at the vet to be sure it’s a spinal cord issue, and not something else? I had a spaniel who was hit by a car and we went a week thinking she just needed rest; turned out her pelvis was shattered, and the vet had never done x-rays to be sure (this was a long time ago, not my current vet!). Would hot and cold compresses help with the swelling - bring blood in to the area to facilitate healing, then send it back out? Just trying to think of things that might help that aren’t invasive.


No advice to give just my deepest sympathy. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry for this terrible accident, your sweet pup’s injury, and for the intense regret you’re dealing with. Jingling like mad that your dog recovers completely.


So very sorry for you both. I lost a dear sweet collie like this when a friend rolled over her.

If you can try to use a big towel for a sling and help the dog walk around, even if the feet don’t move and touch the floor, sometimes it does help get them moving. As long as your vet approves.

Years ago I re-trained a paralyzed cat who couldn’t walk, but with regular pt using a sling, she actually got strong enough to walk. It took weeks of pt to also re-train her brain. The body and brain can do amazing things when trying to heal. Don’t give up yet.


Hugs and jingles! I hope he bounces back quickly :heart:


@Tarlo_Farm, please offer yourself a little grace and kindness! It wasn’t intentional, and you are doing everything in your power to take good care of him!

Sending virtual hugs and jingles your way!


@Tarlo_Farm. I went back and reread your post again because your despair over your dog is so visceral to me. Please as everyone has posted give yourself some grace. Life and all its sometimes profoundly sad/devastating outcomes is so often beyond our control. You have to reframe this and consider it was NEVER your intention to cause harm to something you love. It happened. And it sucks. Now you are doing everything in your power to aid your dog. Give yourself a hug. And some forgiveness. Whatever the outcome, and I pray it’s a good one, it’s crystal clear your dog is well and truly loved. Hold onto that. Use it as a shield against the negative thoughts and regret. Regret is a cold cruel bitch. All you can do is move forward. Best healing wishes to your dog and to you.


Thank you all for your kind words. I know what you say is all true. I’ll get there, but not yet.

To those of you who asked about the X-rays, yes. I’m a retired high school Biology teach and had the children of my vet(s) in class, so I know the family. My vet went over the X-ray with me in detail and gave me as much time as I needed to talk, question, and understand. Her main concern was that a couple discs may have slipped enough to damage the cord, then slipped back into place, so we couldn’t see the extent of the damage. There was nothing on the image other than an air pocket from a slight puncture somewhere in the airway that has healed by itself.
He’s not getting worse. That too was a concern. He’s also getting used to the routine of rotating and holding him up to change pee pads, so he doesn’t struggle.
I have done the sling, but he hates it. And if there was swelling in the cord I didn’t want to, in the first couple days especially, risk any chance of further irritating it, so we haven’t used the sling. I just gently pick him up and hold him.
He has started to attempt a tail wag, so I like that.
Again, your kindness also brings tears to my eyes. Not a good week for mascara.


Hang in there. You’re doing everything you possibly can. That matters. My Dad, rest his soul was a vet. He often said “cage therapy” could heal
even the worst maladies. Cage therapy was his euphemism for staying still and letting a body heal.


@Fjordboycharlie, do you know how long it took for Rico to show some paralysis recovery? I’m fine if this takes months as long as he recovers enough to walk. I’m thinking of getting a cart to allow him to move around outside the house a little more freely in the meantime.

Been there done that, I know just how you feel. I’m so sorry.
Ask the vet for several days of prednisone.
If there’s just swelling etc it can work with sets on spinal inflammation. I’ve seen it many times.


Truth! The other thing my Dad used to tell me is that no animal should ever suffer trauma without steroids coursing through their veins. I know that’s simplistic. But in the bigger scheme…It makes sense.


Thinking of you and your dog and hoping he gets better. :heart: It’s only been a few days so his body might need more time to heal and recover. Keep us posted on how he’s doing.

Agree with everyone else that you should go easy on yourself. It certainly wasn’t intentional and you’re doing all you can to help him.

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From your description, I’d be cautiously optimistic wrt return of function, at least partially.


I just text my parents and they said that it was about 3 days or so before he could stand. She said he scooted around a bit before that.

They kept him warm and comfortable, dribbled water into him for a day or so and then put food close by him. He eventually got up on his own. They were pretty sure he had a collapsed lung as his chest felt the way a person’s does when there is free air in the tissue.

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