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Ruptured Discs in Dogs

continued...

Hansen Type 2 neck discs occur with the wobbler syndrome discussed on page 379.

Treatment: A dog with a sudden onset of symptoms of paralysis requires immediate veterinary evaluation. If surgery is indicated, the best outcome is when it is performed within 24 hours.

Most disc problems involving pain or mild paresis improve with rest and medication. The dog should be closely confined for two to four weeks to allow the disc to return to its former position. Corticosteroids reduce swelling and inflammation. Analgesics relieve pain.

Dogs with neck disc problems should be walked with a chest harness rather than a collar.

Disc injuries that cause paralysis require special handling and transporting, as described for Spinal Cord Injuries, page 375. The most common surgery is called a laminectomy. It involves opening the spinal column and removing the extruded disc material. Dogs undergoing surgery will still need a period of careful rehabilitation afterward.

A newer method is to use of proteolytic enzymes to dissolve the disc material. This is called chemonucleolysis. This may only be appropriate for dogs who are in pain without neurologic deficits. If there are neuological signs, surgery is often the better option because it relieves pressure on the spinal cord more quickly.

Acupuncture and physical therapy may be incorporated into treatment protocols.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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