Back Problems and Your Pet

Smaller longer bodied dogs like the Dachshund, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and Beagles are usually more likely to have back problem but back problems can effect most animals they are less prominent in cats but can still occur.

Pain can be caused by several different conditions ranging from cancer to an enlarged prostate. The most common problem is a slipped disc. When the gel-like cushions called discs protect the spinal-chord bulges out putting pressure on the chord causing inflammation of the nerves it can cause pain and other symptoms.

Lower back and neck are most common areas for disc problems to occur. In the lower back they will often arch their back or hold a rigid position. Your pet may be reluctant to move and may even cry out if the spine is flexed and sometimes even touched. The rear legs can become weak or unstable and they may also lose control of their bladder.

The neck area can be stiff causing your pet to hold their head at an odd angle and may also have weakness, instability while also having muscle spasms. Weakness and instability from this area is usually less severe than that of the lower back area.

If you notice any discomfort, stiffness, strange spasms or unexplained actions discuss with your vet so a thorough exam can be done. An x-ray can show any calcification or signs of the narrowing of the discs.

Treatment varies with the severity of the case along with the cause. Usually an anti- inflammatory is used in conjunction with pain medicine and bed rest. Spinal injuries need time and patience to heal.

If it keeps recurring it will sometimes result in a needed surgery to remove the old disc material and long term physical therapy.


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