Back Problems in Dogs

by Dr. Deva Khalsa on November 1, 2012


This short story is about a very short dog named Max, for Max is a Dachsund.

Max, as is true for many Dachsunds, had back trouble.  He had a very long back and very short legs.  And he liked to jump.

While he was playing with his brother Max got bumped and he let out a yelp..  Ouch !  His disc bulged out, putting pressure on the large nerve that forms the spinal cord.

After he hurt his back, his owner brought him to her local veterinarian, who gave Max steroids (prednisolone) to relieve the pain and swelling.  Strict cage rest for a month was also recommended.   Max was not getting better.  He would seem to feel better, but the problem would return.  Suddenly, he was unable to use his hind legs to walk. His back legs had become paralyzed.  He could not urinate on his own.  His veterinarian discussed expensive back surgery, but said that it was probably too late for that to help.  Fortunately for Max, he still could feel in the tips of his back toes, but just a little.

Max had a bulging disc in his back. The pressure from the swollen disc had destroyed some of the nerve tissue in his spine.  That’s why he couldn’t walk.  He had been taking steroids because they suppress the inflammation in the spine, helping to keep the nerve tissue from becoming even more damaged.  It’s the usual treatment for this kind of problem.  Once again, the symptoms are suppressed, but the real cause of the problem is not addressed.  For Max, steroids were necessary and they helped keep the swelling down until Max was treated holistically.

A dog’s back is like a suspension bridge between his hips and his head.  While our spine is a vertical pole, a dog’s spine runs parallel to the ground.  Imagine placing a dozen dominoes side by side so they make a long column.  Now push on each end and watch where it gives.  The dominoes toward the middle begin to bulge out. When the pressure between the top and bottom of a dog’s spinal column is uneven, the vertebrae (segments of the backbone) can become misaligned. This puts pressure on the discs, which form cushions between the vertebra.  Max’s back is extra long and prone to problems. It’s just the way Dachsunds are put together. Other breeds with long backs such as the Basset Hound are also prone to back problems.

I begin my treatment.  First, pain and inflammation are relieved by using a special lazer on the affected area.  Next, some homeopathic remedies are carefully and gently injected into acupuncture points near the injury.   Max’s muscle spasms have decreased.  The muscles on either side of his back had gone into spasm in an attempt to protect his spine and this had only made his pain worse.  Now  these muscles are  more relaxed and  I can adjust his back with a chiropractic adjustment. His vertebrae are gently moved back into their correct position. Max already looks brighter and more relieved. I carefully place acupuncture needles along the sides of his spine.  I also place 4 more tiny needles in some special points on his legs.  This relieves blockages and reinstates the harmonious flow of energy along the spine.

Max goes home with Chinese herbs and homeopathic remedies, which will work to keep any swelling to a minimum, alleviate pain and promote rapid healing.  He returns for his follow-up chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture treatments.  With each treatment, the mobility and strength in his hind legs improves.  Control of his bladder returns and Max can now urinate on his own.   As Max improves the remedies are changed to those that would help rebuild the nerves that lead to his bladder and hind legs. Finally, Max receives nutritional supplements to strengthen his spine.

If Max had contracted a bladder infection, I would have put him on antibiotics because,  when considering his condition, they would have been necessary.  His systems were weakened by the painful illness and the use of steroids and I would not want the infection to spread.  I would also have dispensed Cranberry. ( See Chapter- Garden of Eating    Page   ) The antibiotics would have been dispensed with probiotics(friendly bacteria) and followed with holistic preparations to prevent any further bladder infections.

Max is running and playing again.  His brother is still bumping him and Max still likes to jump.  But now his owner practices preventive holistic health care.  Every few months, she brings Max into my clinic for a checkup.  We give him acupuncture and a chiropractic adjustment.  Max loves this.  As far as he is concerned, it is his day out at the spa!

Wisdom of the wild

There is an innate wisdom that is always at work within both our own and our dogs’ bodies.  Without any conscious thought the cells work at a furious pace headed toward order and health.  They are well acquainted with the actions necessary to continue in their pursuit of life.  Mankind has worked to support the inherent objectives of these cells, augmenting and supporting their ability to heal, for thousands of years.

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