Disc herniation in dogs - Symptoms, treatment and recovery


In this article we will tell you how to detect the herniated disc in dogs and its possible treatment. Do you know what a herniated disc is? It is a degenerative disease of the invertebral discs. It is very painful and can cause disability or even total paralysis if not treated properly.

Causes of herniated disc in dogs

When the disc material leaves its site or undergoes any alteration, such as lumps or wear, there is pressure in the spinal cord and the area is totally or partially dysfunctional. The pain may be mild or moderate., but sometimes very intense.

As in humans, disc herniation can occur in dogs and the reasons are usually very similar or equal: suffer strong blows, forced movements (such as falls) or trauma that affect the vertebral discs.

On the other hand, it has been concluded that also there are congenital factors that influence the appearance of herniated discs, so some dog breeds are much more prone than others. Disc herniation is common in dogs of breed:

  • Cocker spaniel
  • Poodle (poodle).
  • Pekingese.
  • Dachshund or dachshund (dachshund) by the malformation of his elongated body.

If you have a dog of these breeds, Take special care to avoid the appearance of herniated disc. Being aware of behavior and performance is essential to detect the herniated disc in dogs.

Symptoms of herniated disc in dogs

There are clear symptoms of the presence of herniated disc that can help you detect it.

  • In the first phase of herniated disc of the dog, you will notice that tend to lower your head and bend your back, so relieves your pain. In addition, you can increase your frequency of barking and crying.
  • Difficulty maintaining balance, which causes awkward and low fluid movements.
  • Episodes of urinary and fecal incontinence.
  • Loss of sensation in the extremities, as if they were asleep.
  • In cases of severe disc herniation, You may suffer paralysis. This you will notice because the dog will crawl

It is very important that you are always aware of your friend's health. If you notice any symptoms of herniated disc in your dog, go immediately to the veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment can make the difference between the life and death of the animal. The earlier it is treated, the easier the recovery will be.

Treatment of canine disc herniation

Dogs affected by herniated disc They usually need anti-inflammatories. In case these do not improve the situation, a simple surgery, in which the damaged disc material is removed to relieve pressure between the vertebrae. This operation does not usually present complications and in most cases completely solves the herniated disc in dogs.

To avoid disc herniation in your dog, cwear it a lot, do not cause it to force movements and always be alert to possible symptoms of problems. The herniated disc is easy to solve if it is detected in time, but if not, it can be a very serious problem for your best friend.

Types of canine disc herniations

When we talk about herniated discs in dogs We can differentiate three different types:

  • Type I: It mainly affects chondrodistrophic breeds (small, long column and short legs), such as poodle, Pekingese or cocker, being more common to appear between 2 and 6 years of age. Can be caused by sudden movements in the spine, and appears acutely or as a progressive evolution of various small trauma.
  • Type II: It affects large non-chondrodistrophic breeds, such as the boxer, the labrador or the German shepherd, appearing between the ages of 5 and 12. Evolution is slow and therefore the manifestation is also later. This hernia causes a slow and progressive compression in the spinal cord.
  • Type III: In the latter case, the intervertebral disc material leaves the spinal canal, causing an acute and severe hernia that often causes the death of the animal.

The veterinarian must diagnose the type of herniated disc, for which he will use different tests, since an x-ray is not enough, so you can choose to perform a myelography, which is a technique that allows you to see the state of the cord through a contrast. CT or MRI can also be used.

Through these tests, in addition to identifying the type of herniated disc, you can see the degree of deterioration of the affected intervertebral disc. We distinguish the following degrees of deterioration:

    Grade I: They have not yet been produced>

Canine disc herniation operation

The operation of the herniated disc in dogs is the treatment of choice for cases of grade III, IV and V. It is an operation that generally offers a good prognosis, consists in the extraction of herniated disc material to cause decompression of the spinal cord. Especially if the dog suffers an advanced hernia, which has reached the degree of deterioration V, it is crucial to act quickly and operate the animal as soon as possible.

Post-operative care should focus on the prevention of bedsores, urinary infections and muscular atrophies.

Rehabilitation and cu>

The rehabilitation of canine disc herniation may require various strategies, such as the use of a treadmill, heat through an infrared lamp or stimulation. Many of these techniques seek to reduce pain, allow the dog to fully recover its sensitivity and facilitate that the dog can return to a normal step, using the minimum weight load in recovery.

It will be of great importance that the owner commit to follow the scheduled program, both in rehabilitation techniques and in pharmacological treatment.

In any case, it should be the veterinarian who tells us how we should act in our home after the operation and what precautions we must take to ensure our dog is quickly recovered.

When we talk about the disc herniation in dogs, as well as various pathologies, it is important to mention that some alternative and complementary therapies can be very useful to facilitate an ideal recovery, we are talking about acupuncture for dogs and homeopathy. If you want to better understand how homeopathic treatments are, we recommend that you read how homeopathic products for dogs work.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Disc herniation in dogs - Symptoms, treatment and recoveryWe recommend that you enter our section on Degenerative diseases.

Because it happens?

For many years it has been said that the dog is the closest thing there is to humans, since some attitudes and even diseases usually develop in the same way, even when they are different species with organisms that do not share any similarity.

However, disc herniation is one of those evils that appear for the same reasons, and that is man's best friend suffers from this only when he has suffered from a severe blow, a painful fall or a delicate trauma that ends up affecting the disks of your column, so it is essential to be aware of the activities of the dog.

However, it has been determined that also There are congenital factors that have a strong influence on the development of this disease, so there are a number of small races that are the most likely to suffer herniated discs. These are the following:

If your canine is one of these breeds, you should take great care to avoid suffering this.

How to know if my dog ​​suffers from herniated disc?

As expected, When the dog suffers from this terrible disease, there are a number of symptoms that will make you quickly detect the problem. These are the most prominent:

    At first, The little one will choose to lower his head and bend his back to relieve the pain, which will also manifest it through brick>

It is important that you are aware of your little friend as soon as you begin to notice any of these symptoms, since detecting it in time represents the primary key so that it can recover successfully.

How is herniated disc diagnosed in dogs?

It is very important that your veterinarian knows your pet's medical history very well.

The detection of disc herniation in dogs is achieved through diagnostic imaging, that is, x-rays of the spine. In this way the variation of the invertebral spaces can be observed, that is, the displacement that the disks have suffered. However, it is not possible to know the level of damage suffered by the vertebral discs by the radiographs, for this a myelography is performed.

Myelography allows you to see in detail the silhouette of the spinal cord, showing where the compression of the spine has occurred.

(Photo via: veterinary rehabilitation)

Other methods such as MRI or CT scan They can also help diagnose herniated discs in dogs.

All these tests are performed under general anesthesia.

What is a herniated disc?

Herniated discs or herniated discs are caused by a displacement of the discs that are between the vertebrae, compressing some or several nerves, which causes a lot of pain and difficulties in standing for a long time or walking.

There are three types:

    Type 1: It occurs when the nucleus pulposus and the fibrous ring of the disc deteriorate prematurely. Attacks small-breed dogs at ages> How to know if my dog ​​has a herniated disc?

To know if you have a hernia, it is very important to be observed daily. So we can detect any new detail that appears when walking or in your mood. This type of evil causes a lot of pain, so we will see that He does not walk as he did before, that he is down and / or that he does not want to jump or play, it will be time to worry. Leaving it that way, you could end up losing mobility.

In addition, some bump may appear, so it is also advisable to gently stroke your back if we suspect you have a hernia.