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Helping your dog with
Lumbosacral Disease

Lumbosacral Disease (LSD) is degeneration of the lumbosacral joint (where the purple arrow is) and / or compression of the associated nerves. The joint naturally goes through an immense degree of motion when the dog moves, with powerful hindlimb musculature pushing forces through it. Because of this, though, the joint goes under more 'wear and tear' leading to degeneration. It is the equivalent of sciatica pain in humans.

Lumbosacral Disease Overview

Signs of LSD

LSD is painful and debilitating for dogs. Their clinical signs are often long-term and they have a history of;

  1. Reluctance to jump up

  2. Hindlimb lameness / muscle loss

  3. Hindlimb weakness

  4. Difficulty sitting / lying down and raising back up again

  5. Reluctance to wag their tail

  6. Lower back pain

Cause of LSD

The nature of the joint sees a great degree of wear and tear for active dogs and is thought to be more common in medium / large breeds. This often sees intervertebral disc issues and arthritic changes within the joint. There's also several risk factors;

  • Poor diet

  • Inappropriate exercise

  • Excessive weight

Treatment of LSD

Life-long conservative management which is consistent is shown to be successful. This is achieved with several modalities we have here in clinic alongside changes you can make at home.

 

In some cases, decompressive surgery to remove bulging dics can be done at specialist referral centres with good success rates. 

What can we do about it?

Plenty! We have numerous modalities in clinic that we have at our finger tips to help your dog. These include massage, soft tissue mobilisation, stretching, joint mobilisations, targeted exercises, laser therapy, hydrotherapy... shall we continue? These have all been shown to reduce pain, restore muscle function and strength, and improve your dog's quality of life. With each session they undergo constant review of their clinical signs and progression in order to gain maximum recovery at a pace that's comfortable for them.

 

For Post - Operative Patients, we have a comprehensive programme tailored for your dog's specific needs, depending on the type of surgery, how successful the surgery was and their recovery so far. For Conservative Management Patients, we will always assess their pain levels, degree of mobility, muscle strength, amongst more, to enable us to create the most successful treatment plan for them.

 

Alongside what we do with your beloved pooch, there are a number of things outside of the clinic that can help them manage their condition or rehabilitation. Please find information in the sections below!  

Home Modifications

Flooring

Wooden floors and stairs are a big slip hazard for your dog. Try using non-slip mats along the main routes of your house. Alternatively, some dogs may benefit from paw pads (please speak to us before trying this option in case of contraindication).

Feeding Stations

Raising their water and food bowls may seem like a insignificant change to us, but it can really help your dog to be in a more neutral position.

Access to Furniture

Jumping up and down from heights if often a cause of additional pain for your dog. If they enjoy a cuddle on the sofa or the bed, make it easier for them with dog-friendly steps or ramps onto furniture. This also applies to getting in / out of cars! You may also find a sling to be useful.

Keeping Warm

Especially important in the colder months, your dog will benefit from staying warmer. Keep them in a jumper and walk them out with coats. Stay dry too!

Sleeping / Resting Areas

Great quality sleep is essential. Ensure their sleeping area is free from any drafts and in a warm spot. Their bedding should be supportive and not restrictive. Memory foam mattresses without rigid or tall sides are best. Make sure your dog can access the bed and can change position / stretch out easily.

Be Wary of Terrain

Different types of terrain in the garden and on walks can be hazardous, such as steep slopes, loose or uneven surfaces. Be mindful to where they are going.

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