Having a pet implies a very broad level of responsibility and different aspects must be taken into account in order to share a happy existence with her. Among the fundamental care of attention to domestic animals are to provide them with a good diet, a safe, cozy and clean habitat and quickly address any issue related to their health.
In addition, it is important to know any condition that may occur, as well as take it regularly to the veterinarian, for routine checks. In this context, from this space we provide some articles on diseases and conditions that may occur in the pet. In this opportunity, we are going to refer to the herniated disc in dogs, so they can recognize their symptoms and act accordingly.

¿How is herniated disc manifested in dogs?

In dogs, the herniated disc presents as a pathology in which a compression of the spinal cord is generated, either because the disc material leaves the medullary canal (extrusion) or bulging (protrusion). It is a neurological disease that causes a lot of pain in the animal, altering its daily life.
Thus, due to the complications of the disease, the quality of life of the pet tends to change, so it is extremely important to identify the problem early, so that the veterinarian can start, as soon as possible, the appropriate treatment.

The first symptoms of herniated discs in dogs

The closeness we have with our dog makes it much easier to recognize anomalies in behavior or changes that may occur in your routine. This relationship and mutual knowledge allows us to detect the signs that our pet is suffering from a disease or is not feeling well.
There are two different presentations of the condition in dogs: in some cases, the dogs have a strong sudden pain and immediately they register the loss of sensation in the extremities that are affected by the compression of the bone marrow; in others, the dog has sporadic episodes in which it manifests pain and the affected area becomes inflamed. Sometimes, an injection can take the picture back, but it is more likely that this condition will reappear after a short time.
When observing our dog, we must consider as indications that it is difficult for him to perform some movements that are routine for him or that he should get help to be able to get up when he is lying down.
Anyone who has his pet suffering from this degenerative neurological disease in its most advanced degree, agrees that the pain must be very severe because of the way the animal cries and makes it manifest.

Types of herniated disc

Not all herniated discs are presented in the same way, therefore, the diagnosis stage is important to identify the degree to which the disease is found. The simple radiograph is not enough to identify the picture, so it is usually indicated the performance of a myelogram, which is a technique that by contrast allows to see the state of the bone marrow, by an MRI or through a CT scan.
The severity of the hernia is evaluated according to the degree of deterioration presented by the intervertebral discs. For example:

  • The grade I is the mildest, does not present neurological damage, but pain.
  • The disease in grade II has an initial neurological damage because it is the beginning of the development of the hernia in its compression process; here the episodes in which mobilization is difficult become noticeable.
  • In grade III, the compression is present in a serious way and is presented directly in the behavior of the animal, since it will show lack of strength or paresis, usually affecting the two hind legs.
  • The grade IV, as is logical, brings with it a more serious picture, in which the lack of strength in the muscles worsens, even reaching cases of complete paralysis, in addition to not being able to control the sphincters.
  • Finally, grade V is the most serious of all and presents, in addition to total paralysis and lack of urine retention, a complete loss of sensation in the limbs that the discs affect, either front and / or back. .

Main treatments of the herniated disc in dogs

There are two treatments for this disease that are indicated by the veterinarian according to the degree of development in which it is found. In general, when the severity of the condition is in grade I or II, a treatment can be established through absolute rest and the prescription of anti-inflammatories and / or steroids.
When the case of disc herniation reaches the veterinarian in a grade III, IV or V, it is most likely to be referred to an operation where the disc causing the main compression on the bone marrow is removed, restructuring the medullary canal to prevent that similar cases do not arise later.
It is very important to follow the instructions of the veterinarian in both treatments to the letter and accompany the pet in the process.

Rehabilitation and post operative

The care and attention of the owners is essential for the proper recovery of dogs. In any of the treatments, it is important that the pets are accompanied by the family since, sometimes, this type of injuries can bring with it severe depression.
In case of opting for surgical treatment, it is likely that the veterinarian will indicate a series of rehabilitation therapies that can be developed by the owners or specialists, to prevent the muscles and tendons of the affected limbs from atrophying.
Remember that, for these cases, your biggest ally is the veterinarian, so, at the slightest indication that your pet is suffering from any condition, turn to the consultation to be on time to prevent major problems.