8 Ways to Help Dogs with Back Pain
By Helen Anne Travis
Back pain in dogs can be caused by any number of conditions: weight gain, an injury, anatomic abnormalities, degenerative conditions, arthritis, infection, or even cancer. Some breeds, including Dachshunds, are more likely to experience back pain, says Dr. Babette Gladstein, a holistic veterinarian in New York City. French Bulldogs and Pugs are also more prone to pain, says Dr. Michel Selmer, a certified traditional Chinese veterinary medicine practitioner at Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington Station, New York. All of these breeds, and others, suffer from a genetic condition called chondrodystrophy that makes it more likely that the discs between their spinal vertebrae will degenerate over time.
Subtle signs of back pain in dogs can include loss of appetite, panting, and taking longer than usual to get comfortable, Selmer says. “Any change in behavior can be an indication that there’s a problem.” Other symptoms include reluctance to exercise, stiffness, crying out when moving or being touched, unsteadiness when standing or walking, and an abnormal gait.
If you suspect your dog is experiencing back pain, limit your pet’s activity and call your veterinarian immediately. Here are some of the treatments and techniques he or she might recommend to get your dog back up to speed.