Backpain Overview

Canine Herniated Disc

Herniated disc is a major neurologic problem, affecting both, canines and humans. Both species can be affected by cervical (neck) disk disease with similarities in the symptoms and outcome. However, in the thoracolumbar (mid-back) area, unique species differences alter the symptoms and outcome of canine versus human disk disease.

For more information on "canine herniated disc", read Understanding Your Pain.

In a herniated disc, part of the disc shifts to a position that irritates the nearby nerve for that spinal area. The vast majority of herniated discs occur in the lower back or lumbar region. This produces symptoms of lower back pain and leg numbing, mid back pain, pain in the back of head and back and neck pain. For low back pain treatment, exercises for lower back pain are advised for humans. For back pain remedy, back pain therapy and back pain medication are used.

Intervertebral canine herniated disc is usually suspected based on the signalmen (breed, age, sex), history of appropriate clinical dysfunction, and a neurologic localization of the cervical or thoracolumbar areas.

Humans walk upright with most jarring forces being transferred straight up the spinal column from the legs. Consequently the lumbar intervertebral disks are at highest risk of injury and possible herniation in humans. In comparison, dogs walk on all four limbs with jarring forces normally applied at a right angle to the spinal column. As a result, the most common site of disk herniation in the back of dogs is this thoracolumbar junction where the spinal cord is present and is secondarily compressed by herniated disk material. Thus, the clinical presentation of thoracolumbar disk herniation in dogs can be far worse than just shooting pains down the legs. It is common for dogs to show profound paralysis of their hind limbs from the resulting spinal cord damage.