Spinal injuries are scary, be it for humans or dogs. Damaged spinal cord tissue does not regenerate efficiently, so the consequences of an injury can be crippling. Although canines do recover from partial spinal cord injuries because the surviving nerves can replace the damaged nerves, in any case, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Dog Spinal injuries are not uncommon. Apart from brittle bones due to aging, the most common causes of vertebral fractures in dogs are car accidents, blows to the area, and falls from heights. Dogs do not know how to keep themselves from further aggravating their injury. And so you have to intervene. First, and foremost, limit their mobility and seek veterinary help. But this is where the tricky part comes. How do you carry a dog with a spinal injury? Or, what do you do to take care of them at home? In this article, we are going to find that out. But first, here, take a look at some of the signs that indicate a spinal injury in canines.
Obvious signs of trauma during a spinal injury are pain, gait disturbance, lethargy, and paralysis of varying degrees, with impaired urination and defecation. A vet performs accurate diagnoses by excluding concomitant injuries, assessing neurological function, and using additional diagnostic methods. The simplest, most accessible method is the X-ray. In addition to the fractures of the vertebrae and the structures surrounding them, we can also see dislocations of the vertebral joints. The second necessary approach is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which will reveal structural disorders in the spinal cord and hematomas in the spinal canal.
- Arched back
- Posture alterations
- Difficulty urinating or inconvenient removal
- Pacing behavior has increased
- Unwillingness or incapacity to stand or walk
- Unwillingness to tilt head
- Pain vocalizations when moving
- Abnormal or unsteady gait
- When touched, barking loudly, or howling
Knowing the proper way to hold your dog is essential to avoid further worsening the spinal injury. Avoid using sudden jerks or force. Instead, lift them gently from the front and the rear simultaneously, firmly supporting their chest and back. Next, make them lean against your chest, keeping the spine aligned. And provide your pet with a safe, non-slippery area to resume walking and assist as needed, possibly using a sling for support.
- Loss of coordination
- Fecal or urinary incontinence
- Loss of sensation in the leg
Depending on the severity of the situation, the veterinarian will recommend either conservative or surgical treatment. Conservative treatment is given to animals with minor damage to the spinal column, which does not cause problems with motor functions. Such treatment suggests reducing mobility and the appointment of anti-inflammatory therapy. But when the spinal cord gets compressed, surgical intervention may be necessary. Almost all dogs need a long period of rehabilitation using physical therapy. And all the mentioned physical therapy exercises must be carried out under the supervision of an experienced physical therapist.
An integrated approach is a must when diagnosing and treating dogs with spinal column injuries to achieve maximum benefit. It will immensely improve the health and life expectancy of your injured dogs.
$3,500 is a typical cost for the complex imaging for dog spinal injury. Surgery is a high-cost proposition. The cost of IVDD surgery depends on many factors, but you can expect to pay between $6,000 to $8,000 for a lower back injury in dogs. But talk to an experienced Animal PT to see if you can do it without surgery and get the injury treated with minimally invasive procedures. Remember surgeries can be toll-taking and do not guarantee successful treatment.
As long as you are committed to your four-legged friend’s recovery, give them unconditional love as they do, and the necessary care, they may still lead a happy healthy life even without completely recovering from the injury and you are bound to see positive results with regular physical therapy.