If your dog is suffering severe pain or the condition has caused an apparent neurological deficit, your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization for intensive care and treatment. If the condition is still relatively recent, your dog may be managed medically on an outpatient basis. In others cases, where the disc and/or spinal cord has become severely affected, surgery may be required to decrease pressure on the spinal cord. During surgery, your veterinarian will remove any infected tissue and fluid, and may also remove a portion of the affected vertebral bone if called for. Antibiotics can be used to control the residing infections, and pain killers can be used to control the pain that is associated with this disease.
Living and Management
While your dog is recovering you can help to keep it comfortable by providing a soft, dry, well padded surface in a quiet location in the house. Cage rest might be suitable under the circumstances, both to prevent the dog from moving and exacerbating the problem, and to protect it from others (other pets, children, etc.). Wherever you set your dog up, encourage it to keep its movement to a minimum by placing its food close by. Be sure to check on your dog throughout the day.
Because your dog will need to rest a lot as it heals from the injury or infection, you will need to make sure that it does not lay in the same position for too long, changing its position throughout the day to prevent ulcers from developing due to prolonged rest in the same body posture. Observe your dog's response to treatment and inform your veterinarian if you notice anything abnormal. If your dog is having a great deal of difficulty moving, you may need to carry it outdoors for relief of its bladder and bowels. Otherwise, keep outdoor trips to a minimum, with slow walks close to home.
Your veterinarian will need to see your dog for a follow-up evaluation, to make sure that the site is healing properly. Response to both medical and surgical treatment is variable in different animal patients depending on age, breed, size and other considerations.
Complete antibiotic treatment is mandatory for successful treatment and eradication of the infection. Often, the symptoms will retreat soon after beginning medication, but this does no mean that the infection has been thoroughly eradicated. If such treatment is stopped prematurely, symptoms will recur, perhaps even worse than before. If your dog has been prescribed pain medication, follow your veterinarian's directions strictly. One of the most avoidable causes of pet deaths is due to over medication.
Term used to refer to animals that have a spine or backbone, including fish and mammals
A bone in the spinal column
The study of the spine after dye has been injected
The term used to describe the movement of an animal
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness