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  • In a dog, discs with hard exteriors and gel-like interiors appear between its vertebrae, providing support and cushioning. When the disc becomes damaged and the gel interior pokes through to the outside of the disc, vets call the condition a herniated disc and use treatments to help dogs maintain mobility.

    Function

    Depending on the severity of the injury, the aim of treatments for herniated discs in dogs is either to promote healing and reduce inflammation or to repair the damage. Veterinarians may also prescribe pain medications to alleviate a dog's pain while the discs heal.

    Minor Injuries

    If an injury is minor and the dog is still able to walk, veterinarians may simply recommend rest and limited activity for the treatment of a herniated disc, reports the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Moderate Injuries

    For moderate injuries which somewhat limit mobility, veterinarians often prescribe corticosteroid medications like cortisone, which reduce inflammation. Approximately 90 percent of dogs with herniated discs respond to medicinal treatment, according to Doctors Foster and Smith.

    Severe Injuries

    If a dog is completely unable to walk due to the injury, veterinarians usually recommend a surgery called hemilaminectomy. The procedure involves removing part of one of its vertebrae and then using the material to repair the rupture in the disc, explains Michigan Veterinary Specialists.

    Warning

    Hemilaminectomy for herniated discs in dogs is most effective when preformed within one to two days after the injury, explains Doctors Foster and Smith. For this reason, if you notice your dog struggling to walk, seek prompt attention for it from a veterinarian.

    Considerations

    Even with successful treatment, a herniated disc may return, requiring subsequent treatments, cautions the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Source:

    University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Dogs' Disc Problems can be Treated

    Doctors Foster and Smith: Intervertebral Disc (Ruptured Disc) Disease in Dogs

    Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Disc Herniation of the Mid Back (Thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disc Disease)

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