Any age of dog can suffer a back or spinal injury, especially if this is caused by trauma or an accident. Degenerative back or spinal problems tend to develop when your dog is in middle or older age, but this varies breed to breed and dog to dog.
Treatment of back and spinal problems in dogs
Treatment of your dogs back or spinal injury depends on what condition they are suffering from. Generally, treatment involves a combination of restricting exercise, anti-inflammatories and pain killers, weight management and for some, they will require surgery.
There is a strong link between osteoarthritis and obesity. Extra weight means added stress that pulls downward on the spine. Adipose tissue (fat) also secretes hormones that increase inflammation in joints and elsewhere in the body. Because osteoarthritis isn’t a disease that can be cured, it is better to prevent its occurrence by introducing healthy eating and exercise at an early age. You should also deal with trauma – hard falls, etc. – quickly to minimise any lasting damage to your dog’s body. Giving a joint supplement (even from a young age) if you know that your dog has had any sort of spinal or back injury, is very helpful also.
Whether your dog needs surgery for their back or spinal problem or not, a back brace can give your dog firm support along their spine, giving them full security and reducing pain caused by the pinching of back nerves. Although not a silver bullet, a back brace can be a really useful addition if your dog is recovering from having surgery and needs extra support, or if their spine needs to be supported and kept straight to aid recovery.
Sadly, in some cases, back or spinal injuries result in your dog becoming paralysed or partially paralysed. Where this is the case, a wheelchair can be lifechanging, enabling your dog to still enjoy an active life, despite reduced function of their hind legs.