Intervertebral Disc Disease (IDD) in Chihuahuas
Because they're small, Chis are susceptible to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IDD). Dogs can get one of two types of IDD, one occurring in younger dogs, the other more frequent in senior dogs.
A Chihuahua's back has disks that cushion typical spinal pressure. When one of these discs fails (or 'slips'), the Chi experiences severe pain.
Your dog's vet may also call this a 'slipped disc’ or 'disc disease.' Though humans have different anatomy than dogs, we can also suffer from slipped discs.
Signs of Pain
Your dog may exhibit the following if in pain due to spinal problems:
- Loss of appetite
- Shaking (It's normal for Chihuahuas to shake a bit, but she'll shake more than usual)
- Excessive panting and drooling
- Trouble walking
- Sensitivity when you touch his back
Examination and Treatment
Chihuahuas can't talk, so your dog's veterinarian must examine the dog and conduct tests to see how severely she is affected by a slipped disc. Tests can involve pinching your dog's paw and lightly touching his spine. Dogs can also get CAT Scans and MRIs to determine the extent of the injuries.
Vets often prescribe medication to assist in the treatment of IDD. Your vet will also ask you to minimize your dog's movement, specifically jumping, and will have you confine your dog to a crate.
How to Prevent Back Problems
It's hard to stop a Chihuahua from being a Chihuahua, and you don't want to change the spirit or personality of a dog. However, you can prevent back problems by minimizing the amount of jumping your dog has to do.
You can accomplish this in several ways:
- Disallowing the dog on furniture
- Training your dog to sit and 'ask' to be picked up onto the furniture
- Teaching your dog to be less excitable when company comes over
Important note: The author is not a veterinary professional. If you feel that your dog is in pain, consult a professional immediately.
Does your dog have back issues? Please add your tips below.
This post was originally published on Examiner.com as Chihuahua Examiner. Republished with permission of the author.