The causes which give rise to inflammation of the membranes of the cord are also responsible for inflammation of the cord itself, and mostly affect both structures in varying degrees at the same time.
At the onset of the disease more or less stiffness is observed in the spine. The animal, when made to turn, does so in a wide circle. Finn pressure over the spine occasions pain. The hind-limbs are repeatedly moved and sometimes strike the ground, or they are shaken as if to detach something objectionable adhering to them. Sensibility becomes diminished, and a rolling movement behind is observed when the animal attempts to walk. Muscular paralysis of the parts behind the seat of disease soon follows, and the patient falls to the ground unable to rise. The bladder now may fail to empty itself and become distended with urine. The faeces escape involuntarily in consequence of paralysis of the muscle (sphincter ani) which closes the anus. The bowels are constipated, but there is little, if any, rise of the bodily temperature. The farther forward the disease exists in the cord the more extensive will be the paralysis. When in the region of the neck the fore-limbs as well as the hind will become disabled, and the muscles of respiration will at the same time be involved, and occasion great difficulty of breathing and more or less disturbance in the action of the heart.
These affections of the spinal cord and its membranes usually become complicated with some rapidly destructive lung disease, or with inflammation of the bladder or kidney disease, to which the victim sooner or later succumbs. Should he escape these immediately fatal affections he remains paralysed and useless. Little, therefore, is to be expected from treatment of an animal so affected, and both humanity and economy will be best served by his immediate destruction.