Herniated Discs in Dogs and Treatment Options

What a Herniated Disc Is

The disc that sets between the spinal vertebrae ruptures when the dog has a herniated disc. When the disc ruptures the gel-like material on the inside of it seeps out. This material then can become hardened and calcified, which lessens its shock-absorption ability. Pressure can cause this hardened substance to explode or bulge into the spinal canal nearby, where the spinal cord is located. This is the process that is known as herniation. This can result in pain and elevate to feeling loss or paralysis.

Treatment Options for Herniated Discs in Dogs

There is more than one treatment option for the dogs when a herniated disc happens. If the dog is still moving then prednisone can be given to the dog. Treatment with this will lessen the swelling around the spinal cord which is causing the pain and making it unpleasant for the dog to move. This treatment can take the place of surgery sometimes. The dog should not however stay on this treatment too long because steroids like the prednisone can have negative side effects that can cause the dog problems.

The veterinarian could instead recommend limited activity and rest for the dog. This will decrease the amount of stress that dog’s back is being put through. Of course this treatment and the prednisone are only for mild cases where the dog can still walk.

In the event your dog cannot walk or other treatments have not worked, the doctor will most likely want to operate. He will order various diagnostic procedures to be preformed first though. This surgery will help take the pressure off the dog’s spinal cord which is brought on by the hardened gel and other debris.

A great percentage of the dogs do quite well with the surgery, if the nerve damage is not too severe and it is caught soon enough. Rehabilitation is also part of this treatment. Rehabilitation for dogs could involve exercises and underwater treadmills to improve muscular strength. This could also improve how the dog in functioning neurologically.

The major problem with herniated discs is that they can keep happening. As long as there is a healthy disc left it can become herniated. There are some breeds of dogs that have more of a tendency towards this problem than others. The body weight should be kept down in the dogs that are predisposed to this problem. Any dog is good physical health can recover from this problem better than one in poor physical condition.

Also instead of regular neck collars use the chest harness kind. The neck collars can cause stress on the neck. The dogs also should not have jarring motions happen to the back such as jumping off of the furniture.

When you are suspecting problems contact the veterinarian immediately.