Disc Herniation in Dogs – Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery
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One of the most complex pathologies that can affect dogs is herniated discs. The concept “hernia” is synonymous with a structure that comes out of its natural anatomical position. Thus, when we speak of disc hernias, we are referring to pathologies that affect the intervertebral discs of the spine, causing compression in the spinal cord when they leave the vertebral canal or increase.
Although it is a complex pathology, the prognosis is very positive in several cases. In this article, we show you what the symptoms and solutions of herniated discs are in dogs .
Types of canine disc herniations
When we talk about herniated discs in dogs , it is possible to differentiate three different types:
- Type I: It mainly affects the chondrodistróficas races (small, broad column and short legs), like the poodle, Pekinese, and cocker, being habitual to appear between the 2 and the 6 years of age. It can be caused by sudden movements in the spine and appears acutely or as a progressive evolution of several small injuries.
- Type II: Affects large non-chondrodistróficas races, such as the boxer, the labrador and the German shepherd, appearing between the 5 and the 12 years of age. Evolution is slow, and therefore the manifestation is also late. This hernia causes a slow and progressive compression of the spinal cord.
- Type III: In this last case, the material of the intervertebral disc leaves the spinal canal, causing a severe and severe hernia that, in many cases, ends up causing the death of the animal.
It should be the veterinarian to diagnose the type of herniated disc through various examinations, since an X-ray is not enough. He may choose to perform a myelogram , a technique that allows you to see the state of the marrow through a contrast. You can also use a CT scan or MRI.
Through these tests, he will be able to observe in which state of deterioration the affected invertebral disc is located, besides identifying the type of disc herniation. The different types of deterioration are distinguished as follows:
- Degree I: There are still no neurological damages, so the dog feels pain and a slight irritation, without losing the mobility of the legs.
- Grade II: The hernia begins to compress the medulla and, therefore, the first neurological lesions appear. At this stage, the dog walks but with difficulties, revealing a loss of balance and posture.
- Grade III: The neurological lesions begin to gain a more serious character as a consequence of the high compression of the marrow. The dog has a mild paralysis (called paresis) on one or both hind legs, which means that it can not walk properly.
- Grade IV: The paralysis worsens and the dog begins to show evidence of urinary retention.
- Grade V: It is the most serious degree. Paralysis and urinary retention are accompanied by a loss of sensation in the affected limbs.
Symptoms of disc herniation in dogs
When the dog is immobile or difficult to move the hind legs, it is possible that it is manifesting a herniated disc. You can confirm the problem with the following symptoms:
- Lack of motor coordination
- Altering muscle tone
- Decrease in strength
- The dog stops walking or dragging
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Loss of sensation in the affected area and extremities
- Problems to make the needs
- Adopt anti-bias positions
- Arches the back and lowers the head
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you should call your veterinarian urgently for them to check what pathological condition is involved.
Canine disc herniation
The operation of the herniated disc in dogs is the treatment of choice for the cases of degrees III, IV and V. It is an operation that generally offers a good prognosis . It consists of the extraction of the herniated disc material with the purpose of decompressing the spinal cord. If the dog suffers from an advanced disc herniation that has reached grade V of deterioration, it is essential to act quickly and operate the animal as soon as possible.
Postoperative care should be focused on the prevention of decubitus ulcers, urinary infections and muscular atrophy.
Treatment of herniated disc
As mentioned earlier, the operation is the first treatment indicated for grades III, IV and V. For grades I and II, there are two options that may help treat the herniated disc of your dog, known clinically as conservation treatments:
- The first treatment consists of the patient’s absolute rest. To ensure proper recovery, the dog should be resting in a cage for a month. In this way, the dog is subjected to conditions of immobility, facilitating tissue disinflammation and correcting the positioning of spinal structures. As a consequence, the pain will be decreased and a positive recovery is provided. However, depending on the level of activity of the affected dog, its size and personality, it is possible that the guardian can not opt for this method. It should be you who ensures that the dog rests as necessary, giving all the attention and care he needs. Although the use of the cage may seem an extreme measure, in some cases it is the only one that presents results. Anyway,
- It can also give analgesics and anti-inflammatories , although these medicines present the risk of allowing more movement, which worsens the herniated disc. The inflammatory condition is aggravated because the animal manages to recover much of its movement, but continues to suffer from a disorder in the spine. Therefore, you should follow the veterinarian’s instructions and never administer any type of medicine to the animal on your own.
If within a week you do not notice any improvements or if the dog gets worse, it should be operated as fast as possible.
Rehabilitation and special care
Rehabilitation of canine disc herniation may require several strategies, such as the use of a running leash, heat from an infrared lamp or stimulation. Many of these techniques seek to reduce pain, allow the dog to completely regain its sensitivity and facilitate the dog to return to a normal gait, using minimal weight in his recovery.
It is very important that the tutor undertakes to follow the veterinarian’s guidelines , both in terms of rehabilitation techniques and drug treatment.
In any case, it should be the veterinarian to indicate how the tutor should act at home after the operation, as well as the precautions that must be taken in order for the puppy to have a fast recovery.
Take care of your dog’s health with respect
When talking about herniated discs in dogs, as well as several pathologies, it is important to mention that some alternative and complementary therapies can be very useful to facilitate a good recovery. This is the case of acupuncture for dogs and homeopathy . If you want to understand better how the homeopathy treatments work, we recommend that you read how the homeopathic products for dogs work .
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles that might be smaller than those of Herbal Disorders in Dogs – Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery , we recommend you to enter our section on Degenerative Diseases .