Dogs can suffer from back problems the same way humans do. Namely, there are specific sets of symptoms and signs which can show the owners that their dog is experiencing back pain. Any race of dogs can have this problem, regardless of their size. Body weight plays an important role and obese dogs are more likely to suffer from back pain.
Symptoms of Back Pain in Dogs
Dogs who are experiencing back pain may yelp when you try to hold them. Also, they might have difficulties walking. Additionally, they might lose appetite, be prone to whimpering, urination retention, clumsiness or refusal to walk the stairs or other demanding surfaces.
Usually, this back pain is related to sore muscles in the area. However, there are cases when pain in your dog's back stems from a disc injury or degenerative disc disease. These cases can evolve into nerve damage and possibly paralysis, accompanied by excruciating pain.
The Dog's Back
Dogs, as well as humans, have a spine made of numerous vertebrae which run from their skulls to the end of their tails. Each pair of vertebra has a cushioning area made of cartilage discs which guard the inside of the spine through which the spinal cord runs.
These discs can get damaged due to “wear and tear” or a direct injury. Once parts of the discs are displaced, the spinal column gets exposed to excessive pressure.
Since these disc problems are more serious than muscle sores, you need to know how to recognize them.
Diagnosis of Dog Back Pain
In order to see whether muscles or discs are causing your dog's back pain, you are to support the dog with one hand under the belly flipping one of the hind feet so that the top of the paw touches the floor. If everything is in order, your dog is to place the leg and the foot in a normal position immediately. If the dog fails to do this, nerve damage can be the reason behind it. In this case, or if the symptoms linger for a longer time, you need to seek veterinarian assistance as soon as possible.
The vet will identify the problem. For this process, he/she uses X-ray or CT scans, apply gentle pressure on the spine and do various other diagnostic tests.
Once the dog is diagnosed, the treatment usually consists of cortisone injections or steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Also, the dog is supposed to rest until its body recovers. If all else fails, the dog may need to undergo surgery.
The recovery period may last for about 2 weeks, during which your dog may need all the care it can get. Do not allow it to move excessively, let alone jump around. For moving the dog use a chest harness, or the leash and do your best to reduce its weight if the dog is overweight. Finally, glucosamine and chondroitin are best supplements for a quick cartilage recovery.