"After pups are born, you should constantly be checking for any abnormalities as they grow up."
It can be life-changing to know that our furry family members are experiencing something painful that will hinder them from doing things they love like taking walks to the park, and running and playing. Among the many spinal illnesses that affect your dogs, Spina Bifida is one of them.
Here's a thorough discussion on what Spina Bifida is about, symptoms, diagnosis, and proper management so that you and your dog can still live a fun, happy life.
WHAT IS IT?
Spina Bifida is a spinal illness in dogs. The spinal cord is protected and surrounded by the vertebrae of the spinal column. If during the fetal development the vertebrae doesn't completely grow around the spinal cord, a part of the spinal cord is exposed.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Spina Bifida is a congenital abnormality. After pups are born, you should constantly be checking for any abnormalities as they grow up. Usually when the pup has Spina Bifida, he crawls/walks differently compared to his other littermates.
The veterinarian will record the history of the puppy’s environment and his development. The pup will also undergo a series of examinations both neurological and physical.
HOW WILL I KNOW?
Even if Spina Bifida does not worsen as the puppy grows older, the symptoms of having this diseases is more than enough to make it hard for the pup. Some dogs don't develop signs, others do.
- Weakness of rear limbs
- Incomplete paralysis of one or both hind legs
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of sensation in the region between the tail and the reproductive part
- Fecal incontinence
- Urinary incontinence
TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Generally, there is no known treatment for Spina Bifida. Depending on the severeness of the dog's condition, some have a great deal of discomfort and pain and are usually euthanized early on. For some who don't have severe cases, you can do some things to improve their quality of life.
Maintain good hygiene. Bathe your dog regularly and groom him to keep him happy despite his condition. His skin is at high risk of chafing and becoming sore especially at the hips, elbows and ankles. Always check these areas.
Provide proper nutrition. Providing your dog a good, healthy diet is a perfect way to boost up his wellness. But make sure that this diet is advised by your veterinarian so it will provide him with the proper nutrition he needs.
Dog diapers and pee pads. Going back to what's stated above, to avoid your dog from bathing in his pee and poop, dog diapers and pee pads are such great help in keeping your dog comfortable and your home clean since dogs with Spina Bifida are known to also suffer from urinary and fecal incontinence.
Go out. Your dog's condition should never hinder the both of you to experience the world together. There are wheelchairs and carts that will help you and your paralyzed dog move around.
Having a dog who is experiencing Spina Bifida is never easy for you and your dog but there are things you can do and provide to make your dog's life better even with a disability.
"Dog diapers and pee pads are such great help in keeping your dog comfortable and your home clean since dogs with Spina Bifida are known to also suffer from urinary and fecal incontinence."