What is a degenerative disease? It is a disease, where a part of your dog, like the spine, deteriorates and may require emergency pet care. Dogs suffer from many degenerative diseases for which there is no preventative care. We here at Crestwood Court Veterinary Clinic in Vancouver, WA, will show you the most common ones.
Also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, this is a disease of the spine that causes inevitable paralysis of the hind legs. This disease can be hard for a veterinarian to diagnose, since the early signs are identical to osteoarthritis. Just what causes degenerative myelopathy is unknown, but genes are thought to play a big part. The disease is seen mostly in medium to large breed dogs, especially German Shepherds, but has been found in smaller breeds as well. Diet and physical therapy can prolong the onset of paralysis.
Degenerative Lumbosacral Stenosis
This is another disease of the spinal cord. The vertebrae of the lower back press down on nerves, causing pain and increasing weakness in the hind legs. Symptoms begin when the dog is between 3 and 7 years old. It affects larger dog breeds, particularly German Shepherds. Orthopedic surgery is often successful at treating the disease.
Disc Associated Wobbler Syndrome (DAWS)
Also known as “Wobbler’s Disease,” DAWS causes the neck vertebrae to grow into the spinal canal. This affects older dogs of larger breeds starting at age 7. Doberman pinchers are especially prone to this disease. Dogs with DAWS tend to only live another 4 years after being diagnosed. DAWS is treated with medication and surgery.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Small dogs have their degenerative spinal diseases, too. This disease causes the spine to press together. It’s seen in Shih Tzus, beagles, and “long dogs” like dachshunds. The dog can be affected as early as a year old. The symptoms can come on suddenly or appear gradually over time. Some dogs need pet surgery. Surgery is far more successful in dogs being brought to the vet in the earliest stage than in a later stage.
This disease causes the growth of bony spurs on the spine. In appears in many dog breeds, but Boxers are most commonly affected. Symptoms appear when the dog is older. This condition causes back pain and lameness, but not paralysis. Many dogs can be treated with medication and diets to reduce excess weight.
Contact Our Veterinarian in Vancouver, WA
If your dog is having trouble walking, please take your dog to a vet. If you live in the Vancouver, WA, area, contact Crestwood Court Veterinary Clinic at (360) 254-8811 to make an appointment today. We offer advice on preventative care and also offer emergency pet care services including pet surgery.