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Lumbosacral Disease in Dogs

Lumbosacral disease in dogs

Lumbosacral Disease in Dogs

Lumbosacral disease, also known as lumbosacral stenosis or cauda equina syndrome, is a common condition that affects the lower back and hindquarters of dogs. Lumbosacral disease causes pain in dogs. We see it mainly in large breed dogs, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Great Danes, but can affect dogs of any size.

What Is Lumbosacral Disease, What To Look Out For?

Lumbosacral disease occurs when there is a narrowing of the area where the spine meets the pelvis, which can put pressure on the nerves that control the hind limbs, tail, and bladder.

The symptoms of lumbosacral disease can vary, but common signs include:

  • difficulty getting up or sitting down,
  • not wanting to climb stairs or jump,
  • a stiff or hunched back,
  • pain or weakness in the hind limbs,
  • growling or snapping when the lower back is touched,
  • changes in bowel or bladder control.

How Is Lumbosacral Disease Diagnosed?

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to make an appointment for a consultation. During the evaluation, we will start with a physical exam. Because lumbosacral disease shares similar signs to arthritis, we generally take X-rays to evaluate the hips and lower back. This can very often give a clue as to the diagnosis. However, the gold standard in diagnosis is with MRI, but this is not always needed to start treatment.

What Can Be Done?

Lumbosacral disease is treated by various options, depending on the severity of the condition. This includes conservative management or surgery, depending on how severe the symptoms are.

Conservative management involves:

  • rest,
  • pain medication,
  • epidural injections,
  • physical therapy,
  • weight management.

If medical management does not really work, we would explore surgical options. An MRI is done first to confirm the extent of compression, after which surgical decompression can be performed.

Home Tips For LumboSacral Disease

As a dog owner there are a few things that you can do to help your dog that suffers from LS disease. Start by providing a comfortable bed (consider a nice orthopaedic dog bed). Addiotinally, avoid activities that may strain the back such as running and jumping, and moderate otherexercises. The best exercise includes swimming (you may need to help them in and out of the pool), underwater treadmill treatments, or just leisurely walks. And above all, if they are overweight, feed a weight-loss diet (We recommend Hill’s Metabolic) to get them to lose weight. Equally important is to monitor your dog’s condition closely and report any changes or concerns to us.

Remember, early detection and appropriate treatment can greatly improve your dog’s quality of life. So, if you suspect lumbosacral disease in your furry friend, reach out to us for further support and guidance.

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