Just like humans, dogs may suffer debilitating spinal injury and back problems. Disc disease is most common is small breeds, and mainly in those with long backs and short legs like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds. This problem is most likely going to show up in dogs who are five years of age or older. When it appears in older dogs who haven’t previously had any back problems it’s often the result of the normal wear-and-tear on the vertebrae/spine. The spine is a chain of bones held together by ligaments, with intervertebral discs in between each vertebra that act as cushions. These discs provide the spines flexibility and the discs are shock absorbers for the back and are filled with fluid, collagen and other substances.
When the disc suffers a loss of this fluid it begins to calcify and loses its resiliency. Eventually, the degenerated disc may rupture, which compresses the spinal cord. The spinal cord is very important, as it carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. This causes the dog severe pain in the neck and back and may compromise function and feeling in the legs.
- Behavioral changes, such as not wanting to jump or hiding
- Intermittent or consistent pain
- Hunched back
- Wobbliness or weakness in their back legs
- Refusal to move
- Loss of appetite
- For dogs who have Disc Disease in their neck, weakness in their front legs and a reluctance to move their neck.
The most severe signs are complete paralysis due to compression and /or damage to the spinal cord. Diagnosis is based on signs, and sometimes X-rays confirm the condition and pinpoint the location of the problem. At home care might be confinement, prevent obesity, restrict activity, especially running or jumping, or physical therapy. A vet may prescribe pain medication, or anti-inflammatory drugs, although, treatment depends on the severity of the signs.
If your dog has one, or several, ruptured discs and his symptoms include:
- loss of mobility or use of any of his legs
- loss of bladder/bowel control
- loss of feeling (i.e.. he can’t feel pain) in his legs or rear
… then surgery is most likely going to be the treatment that your veterinarian recommends.
Holistic treatments that may help:
To assist in pain management for your dog the Benefab® Canine Comfort Shirt fabric emits far-infrared rays, keeping muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments supple and relaxed. The shirt provides supportive compression for anxiety and comfort. It helps harmonize bodily functions safely and naturally stimulating recovery time, promoting blood circulation, increasing oxygen flow, and ultimately reducing pain and stiffness. Material is also breathable with wicking qualities. Keep your dog comfortable and on the right track with our line of canine therapeutic products.