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Dog back problems

There are numerous problems a dog can have with its back; (chronic demyelinating radiculomyopathies, spinal strokes, spinal fractures, and tumours). A common problem in certain breeds is a 'slipped disc' which would normally require surgery and rehabilitation for a number of months after.

Commonly back pain is actually not caused by a primary back issue but is a secondary issue due to another joint problem. For example, if your dog has a problem with its right hip, it will try to take the weight off this joint and shift more onto the left, this alters your dog's movement and can place additional pressure through the back. Muscles may be working in a different capacity and tension may build up. If your dog has a shoulder problem they are often sore between the shoulder blades due to a similar shift in weight bearing on their forelimbs.

How can physio help?

Physiotherapy will be provided to try to minimise your dog's pain, strengthen any weak muscles and improve function.  When in pain, lots of muscles can be overactive and cause a dog to 'tighten up' which may limit movement and lead to further issues. The muscles alongside the back can become sore, soft tissue release and massage may be given and low level laser therapy can be used to help with any specific sore points.


Many dogs with back pain will have poor abdominal (tummy) control,  especially your long backed short legged breeds such as Dachshunds. Exercises to get these muscles working will normally be given and progressed as the dog gets stronger. Advice on things to avoid and how to progress walks and activity will always be given along with a home exercise regime which will include functional exercises and possibly some hands on treatment.

The top video shows a Dachshund who had 3 separate spinal surgeries for slipped discs and the bottom shows a puppy who had subluxed the top 2 bones in its neck.  Both have recovered really well (The Dachshund has just had his 10th birthday!) and are loving life.

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