What is Canine Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a congenital, abnormal position or curvature of the spine. Most of the time pets are born with this condition, but scoliosis can also be an acquired condition due to spinal trauma. Scoliosis is a common condition in humans but is also seen in dogs and in cats! With an abnormal spinal curve, the spinal cord is at a higher risk of becoming pinched or compressed. Similarly to intervertebral dish disease (IVDD) spinal cord compression can cause pain and neurological symptoms.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Scoliosis
Diagnosing scoliosis is done with an X-Ray, the curve of the spine will be very visible on scans and is often easy to spot the curve of the spine without scans as well.
- Visible spinal curve
- Pain when petting or touching the back
- Unwillingness to run or play
- Difficulty getting up from a laying down position
Treating Scoliosis in Dogs
With mild forms of scoliosis oftentimes no treatment will be recommended. If your pup starts to act as if they are in pain you can manage it with NSAIDs and crate rest or a back brace like the Walkin' Pets vertebraVe will help stabilize the spine.
More severe cases could require decompression surgery or stabilization surgery to ease the pain and straighten the spine. Early diagnosis and intervention is integral to preventing the scoliosis in progressing to the stage where surgery is necessary and it is uncommon for a dog who has a home to progress to this point. If the scoliosis is caused from trauma, surgery is much more common. In order to keep your pet moving after surgery and help rehab post surgery, a dog wheelchair can greatly improve your pet's post surgical care!
How Common Is Dog Scoliosis
Canine scoliosis is actually very rare, not many dogs a born with the condition but it does still happen!