Keeping your pet healthy can be a challenge, but if you are aware of the signs and symptoms of a health issue, you can be proactive. One of the most common concerns among pet owners, specifically cat and dog owners, is spinal health and issues with the spine. Some of the common signs and symptoms of back issues are reduced activity, limping and difficulty with walking/running, decreased appetite and increased anxiety. According to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, common breeds susceptible to spinal issues include Dachshunds, Corgis, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers, although all breeds are capable of having a spinal issue. If your pet is experiencing signs and symptoms of a possible health issue, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away. In many cases, time is essential so that your furry friend can receive the best care. Some treatment options that are common for pets with back problems include physical therapy, hydrotherapy, rest and relaxation, massage and medications. Your pet’s veterinarian can establish a treatment plan that will best suit your pet. Preventative measures can result in spinal protection and decrease your pet’s risk for developing a spinal health issue. Some tips include:
- Regular weight checks, as gaining weight can place extra stress and pressure on the pet’s spine, making it difficult for your pet to stay active.
- Monitoring your pet’s food intake so that you are aware if your pet is gaining weight, or if your pet’s eating habits have changed. Decreased appetite can be a sign of a change in health.
- Scheduling wellness visits with your veterinarian is essential in order to allow for your pet’s doctor to assess physical wellness, as well as discuss your pet’s behaviors and at home routine.
- Daily activity will keep your pet’s muscles strong and support healthy digestion and joint mobility. Taking your pet for a walk or playing fetch are two great ways to keep your pet active and happy!
- If you own a small dog, such as a Corgi or Dachshund, for example, do not allow pets to jump down from high surfaces or run up and down the steps. Dogs can develop back issues from this type of repetitive and high impact activity.
We love our furry friends, and we want to protect their health so we can have them around for as long as possible. Spinal surgeries and medications can be expensive and a very stressful experience for both you and your pet. Taking precautionary actions and allowing your pet to live a safe and healthy lifestyle will decrease the risk for complications. Always contact and follow up with your veterinarian in Philadelphia regarding your pet’s health, and never be afraid to speak up and ask questions. If it keeps your pet healthy and their spine safe, it is always better to speak up and advocate for man and woman’s best friend!