Our dogs both active and sedentary are susceptible to back injury just as we are. It can occur at anytime and may seem to have come out of nowhere. The symptoms can be subtle like just not walking as long on walks or reluctant to go up stairs. Or it could be dramatic with full blown paralysis and inability to rise. Here are a few preventative tips to help your dog avoid back pain.
1. Use a harness instead of a collar. Avoid a choke collar, actually avoid any collars around the neck. Constant traction and pressure across the cervical (neck) vertebrae causes more tension and micro trauma. Put a collar around your own neck and yank on it a few times and you will feel what your dog feels. Use a harness always!
2. Find a doggie chiropractor. A skilled veterinary chiropractor can detect spinal issues and make the proper adjustments.
3. Nail care is important, especially in older patients. Dogs with overgrown nails actually are walking on their nails instead of their pads. This causes posture imbalance that are felt in the spinal cord.
4. Take it easy. Don’t overdo exercising especially in the heat of the summer. Dehydration can lead to injury and weakening of the vertebral disk.
5. Don’t give up hope. Even if your pet becomes paralyzed it may someday walk again. Using a combination of acupuncture, nutritional therapy and physical rehab we have turned hopeless cases into happy running patients!
Scott Sanderson, DVM, Animal Wellness Center