Herniated Disc in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery
A dog’s spine comprises several joints, each with a disc of cartilage, known as the intervertebral disk, that absorbs shocks. Herniated disc in Dogs occur when the disk ruptures and leaks, making it less effective in shock absorption and prone to cracking.
Symptoms of Herniated Disc in Dogs:
The symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common signs include:
- Back pain
- Impaired motor skills (paresis), but the dog can still walk
- Loss of sensation
- Paralysis (inability to walk)
Treatment of Herniated Disc:
- Diagnosing a herniated disc involves advanced imaging such as MRI or CT scans. The treatment approach depends on the symptoms:
- For severe cases with paralysis, loss of sensation, or continuous pain, surgery is recommended for the best prognosis.
- Mildly herniated discs with only pain may initially respond to strict rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and muscle relaxants. Surgery can be considered if the pain persists.
Recovery and Rehabilitation:
After surgery, strict rest for a few weeks is necessary. Initially, the dog may find walking challenging and may need assistance with urination. Post-rest rehabilitation through hydrotherapy or physical therapy helps rebuild the muscles. The recovery process can take up to six months, but the prognosis for dogs to recover fully is often good.
When to Seek Veterinary Care:
If your dog shows signs of back pain, it is essential to contact your vet, as there could be various conditions causing these problems.
In conclusion, a herniated disc in dogs can range from mild pain to severe paralysis. Timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, such as surgery and rehabilitation, can lead to a favourable prognosis for recovery. If your dog displays any signs of back pain, seek veterinary care promptly to ensure the best possible outcome.