Ruptured Disk Disease in Dogs


Spinal disk disease (known as canine intervertebral disk disease) is a common problem encountered in small animal practice characterized by premature inflammation and hardening of the disk material between the vertebrae. Sometimes herniation of this material against the spinal cord can cause varying degrees of back pain and limb weakness, as well as even sudden paralysis.

The problem can be acute or chronic and certain long-backed breeds are certainly predisposed such as Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Dachshunds to name just a few. A recent study of dogs with severe neurologic symptoms from disk herniation benefited dramatically from acupuncture along with or instead of spinal surgery compared with dogs given spinal surgery alone.

This several thousand year-old system of medicine has been increasingly used to treat a variety of conditions, but its best track record is in treating acute and chronic back and joint pain. While many veterinarians will often only offer medical management with NSAID pet meds or expensive back surgery, acupuncture should be offered as well in managing these difficult cases. To find a trained veterinary acupuncturist in your area see

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  2. My toy poodle’s back limbs are paralyzed and I’m looking for boots to protect her feet as she drags them along. What would you recommend?


  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Check with a local veterinary orthopedic specialist in your area, who usually can be a resource to locate these if they exist.

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