When a dog
has back pain
, it is important to find out the source of that pain and then to treat it in order to prevent any further complications or damage. Back problems can be as simple as muscle spasms from a particularly energetic day of play on up to intervertebral disk disease which can be caused by genetics or external sources. Whatever the cause, appropriate treatment is important to help return the dog to a pain-free quality of life. Alleviating Canine Back Pain
Once a veterinarian has diagnosed the back problem, following their recommendations is key to treating the discomfort and pain the dog may be feeling. Recommendations may include limiting activity, medication, surgery, or a combination of all three.
Limiting activity may be as simple as keeping the dog quiet and avoiding things like going for extended walks, jumping up on furniture or people or exerting themselves in play. For more severe cases of back pain, the dog may have to be crated to avoid moving, and may even need to be carried outdoors to relieve himself in order to avoid additional injury to his back.
If medications are required, the veterinarian may prescribe any number of drugs or combinations of drugs in order to alleviate the pain. These drugs may include anti-inflammatory agents to relieve any swelling or inflammation in the back, antibiotics if the back pain is caused by infection, muscle-relaxers to alleviate muscle spasms or, in some cases, chemotherapeutic agents.
Surgery may be required depending on the source of the back pain. Injuries to the spine, paralysis due to disk disease, infections of the spinal column and cancer in or around the spinal column may require surgery in order to correct the problem and alleviate the pain.
Some veterinarians are also recommending alternative treatments like chiropractics or hydrotherapy when treating dogs with back pain. Chiropractics realign the vertebra to alleviate pain associated with some back conditions and hydrotherapy allows the dog to regain mobility and strength while reducing pain associated with movement. Avoiding Additional Injury and Pain
When a dog with back pain is home, avoiding additional injury or pain is an important part of the healing process. Some of the things you can do to limit risk of reinjury are:
- Use a harness instead of a collar when utilizing a leash. This will avoid any sudden jerking of the neck and possible additional injury to the vertebra.
- Do not pick up the dog by his front legs. Instead, use two hands and pick up the dog with one hand under his ribcage and one under his back legs in order to provide adequate support for the back.
- Use a chondroitin supplement to aid in the repair of damaged cartilage. Be sure to check with the veterinarian to ensure there aren't any possible negative drug interactions if other medications are prescribed.
- Pain management is important in the healing process, no matter what the condition. For backs, pain prevents movement and so impacts the dog's overall quality of life. Removing that pain by identifying the source of the back problem and then treating it will help the dog return to his normal activities.