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How Does a Greyhound Get IVDD and Back Problems (and What Can I Do About It)?

Greyhounds are not genetically predisposed to suffer from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). However, they may still get it due to severe trauma, obesity, and the most common of all - old age. The breed may also suffer from other back problems, which may happen because of infections or sudden injuries.
How Does a Greyhound Get IVDD and Back Problems

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In the unfortunate case that your greyhound may suffer from IVDD and other back issues, your best bet would be to visit the vet. They’re experts for a reason and will provide accurate treatment plans leading to your canine’s recovery.

What Is IVDD in Greyhounds?

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition affecting tissues on dogs’ vertebrae. It’s an ailment that most commonly happens with chondrodystrophic breeds such as dachshunds and corgis. However, it can also occur with large canines, including greyhounds, especially those in their senior stage.

Dogs diagnosed with this condition have hardened intervertebral discs. The phenomenon makes the spinal column prone to rupture or complete breakage. This can happen suddenly or gradually, with your canine running around one minute and then collapsing down the next. Here are the three types of IVDD:

Hansen Type I Disc Disease

Intervertebral discs are known to have viscoelastic properties. They’re able to compress when the dog’s vertebrae are flexed, twisted, or extended. However, with type I IVDD, the middle part of the disc, which is in a dense, liquid state, gets extracted and oozes out. This phenomenon occurs due to the damage in the disc’s outer portion, leading to dehydration and calcification.

The damaged disc turns hard and solid, significantly restricting your canine’s movement. In severe cases, your greyhound may even lose their mobility and develop full-body paralysis. Note that type I IVDD mostly affects the spinal column’s middle part and spreads upward.

Hansen Type II Disc Disease

This variation of IVDD is more likely to occur in canines with proportionate limbs. It’s also more similar to human disc disease, with the outer part of the disc (known as annulus) bulging and sticking out. Often time, the annulus gets torn due to sudden movements and starts to squeeze out the spinal cord.

It’s a condition that’s the opposite of type I IVDD, which has the inner, liquid part of the canine’s disc flowing out. However, both variations exhibit the same symptoms, which makes the ailment tricky to diagnose. Here are some signs that differentiate type II IVDD from the first variation:

  • Type II IVDD occurs gradually, unlike type I, which may happen out of the blue
  • Dogs with type II IVDD show reluctance to move, including an unwillingness to go on walks or climb the stairs
  • Most often diagnosed to large breed dogs ages 5 to 12 years

Hansen type III Disc Disease

The third type of IVDD is also known as ‘high-velocity low volume’ disc disease. It’s mostly found on canines exposed to heavy physical activities or trauma. In this condition, the spinal disc’s nucleus exploded due to sudden damage to its external portion.

Unlike type I IVDD, the oozing out of the inner part of the disc won’t lead to spinal compression. This means the condition is not as bad and can be treated without surgical operations.

However, if left untreated, type III IVDD can develop into myelomalacia. It’s a severe condition involving the spinal cord’s death, leading to respiratory arrest. Your greyhound may also suffer from extreme pain, loss of limb control, and even total paralysis.

What Age Do Greyhounds Get IVDD?

Greyhounds do not belong on the list of dog breeds that are at high risk of suffering from IVDD. However, they are still susceptible to this ailment once they reach middle to old age. To note, intervertebral disc disease is a condition that won’t likely manifest in dogs under two years of age. Exceptions may occur, though, especially on canines that have chondrodystrophy.

Though old age is the main reason greyhounds get IVDD, some may contract the ailment due to environmental or lifestyle factors. The condition may remain undetected until your canine’s discs get ruptured or destroyed. As such, it’s important to allocate time for regular checkups.

Note that it’s best to watch out for any subtle changes in your greyhound’s behavior and posture to minimize the risk of IVDD.

How Do You Know If Your Greyhound Has IVDD?

IVDD is an ailment that is tricky to diagnose, especially for type II variation that happens gradually. However, it’s still helpful to know the common symptoms to identify if it’s manifesting in your beloved greyhound. Check out some of the general signs of IVDD below:

  • Extreme back and neck pain
  • New swaying gait
  • Total loss of front limb function
  • Inability to feel pain
  • Lack of neck muscle control
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Limping or paralysis in four limbs

You can also have a clue on which part of your canine’s spine is damaged leading to IVDD. Note, there are three kinds of intervertebral disc disease depending on the afflicted spinal area. Look over the table below to see the symptoms of each:

Cervical IVDD Thoracolumbar IVDD Lumbosacral IVDD
  • Arched back
  • Unsteadiness on all limbs
  • Head held low
  • Inability to support body weight
  • Unwillingness to move
  • Struggling to walk or move normally
  • Numbness on all limbs
  • Tight, hard belly
  • Muscle spasms
  • Unable to control hind legs when walking or moving
  • Knuckling of hind paws
  • Numbness on the hind legs
  • Inability to use hind legs normally
  • Weakness in hind legs
  • Pain when jumping
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Inability to control bowel movement
  • Dilated anus

If you’ve observed one or more of the mentioned symptoms on your greyhound, schedule a visit to the vet immediately. Your veterinary surgeon will perform several tests on your dog to provide an appropriate diagnosis. Some of the tests may include:

  • CBC testing
  • Urinalysis & fecalysis
  • X-rays of the spinal cord
  • Myelogram
  • CT scan
  • MRI and lumbar puncture

Is IVDD Genetic in Greyhounds?

Greyhounds may be genetically prone to bone and back problems; however, IVDD is not one of them. They’re not entirely safe and immune to the condition, but they’re not likely to suffer due to genetic makeup.

Instead, your canine may suffer from this ailment only once they reach the geriatric stage. That, or there are several environmental and lifestyle factors that led to the disease. For instance, your greyhound may have lost their balance or suffered traumatic injuries that damaged his spine.

For reference, dwarfed canines are most commonly diagnosed with IVDD due to genetics. This is because their appearance and bone structures have been primarily altered to look a certain way. Examples include beagles, dachshunds, Pekingese, and Lhasa apso. Non-dwarf breeds include German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, and Labrador retrievers.

What Percentage of Greyhounds Get IVDD?

Greyhounds are less likely to suffer from intervertebral disc disease than other breeds. As such, there is no definite percentage showing which part of the canine IVDD population they occupy. The condition is more common in smaller dogs that suffer from chondrodystrophy rather than tall breeds.

For reference, IVDD is the most common in dachshunds, with a reported prevalence of 19 to 24 percent. Other higher-risk breeds include pugs, bulldogs, beagles, and Pekinese.

This doesn’t mean greyhounds are immune to IVDD, though. They may not belong under the chondrodystrophic classification, but they can also suffer from the ailment. It may be due to an unfortunate accident or obesity, leading to damage to the spinal column.

How Do You Prevent IVDD in Greyhounds?

Total prevention of IVDD in greyhounds is impossible, but you can definitely minimize the chances of it happening. Here are some easy and practical ways to lower the risk of intervertebral disc damage in your canine:

Keep Your Pet’s Weight Within the Healthy Range. Obesity is one of the main reasons for spinal stress, which can lead to IVDD if left unsupervised. Greyhounds are naturally a thin, lanky breed, so you should be able to see if they’re getting on the heavier side quickly. To note, they should weigh between 60 to 70 lbs (27 to 32 kgs).

Choose a Harness Over a Collar if You’re Going on Walks With Your Greyhound. Using a neck leash has a higher chance of harming the seven cervical discs on the head and neck area. On the other hand, a harness will transfer the force of any pulling or jerking action toward the chest, protecting your canine’s spine.

Discourage Jumping Behaviors on Your Greyhound. The breed is known for its low-energy characteristics, but some are still energetic and born jumpers. This increases the risk of spinal damage, especially if they leap from high places.

Trim Your Greyhound’s Nails to Maintain a Good, Healthy Spinal Posture. Long nails tend to change a canine’s gait and posture, which may lead to your pet losing traction. Slipping and other accidents may occur, causing a compromised back.

Make Your Greyhound Take High-Quality Joint Supplements. These vitamins help provide added nutrients to your canine’s diet and minimize the risks of diseases. Note that the supplements should be given only in the proper dosage, so it’s best to have your local vet’s advice.

Use Nonslip Mats and Orthopedic Beds. Greyhounds have a tendency to be clumsy, especially if you consider their long limbs and tails. As such, try to install nonslip mats all over the house to avoid slips and fall accidents. Similarly, you can also purchase an orthopedic bed so your canine can sleep without discomfort.

Opt for Elevated Food Bowls. Greyhounds are tall, so they’re bound to experience discomfort if their bowls are at floor level when eating. To avoid unnecessary neck and back strain, raise their food bowls instead. This will also keep their disc vertebrae in check and maintain their alignment.

Get Adequate Exercise. More often than not, you’ll find your canine lounging on the sofa. Greyhounds are low-energy breeds despite being raised for racing but note that they still need exercise. Doing so will maintain and increase muscle tone, making supporting their back and weight easier.

How Do You Treat IVDD in Greyhounds?

There are two main ways you can heal intervertebral disc disease in greyhounds. First, you can try conservative management, a nonsurgical method applicable only to canines in the early stages of IVDD. There’s also the option of surgery, which is the only treatment for more severe cases of the ailment. Look over the details below:

Conservative Management or Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment of IVDD can only be effective if your canine’s condition has been diagnosed early. It’s an option not available for greyhounds that have lost their ability to walk and are suffering from incontinence. This treatment is known as conservative management and focuses on minimizing your pet’s pain and discomfort.

With the right guidance and patience, affected greyhounds can freely move their bodies. They’re also able to function like a regular canine, only with a few tweaks to their daily routines. Here are some examples of nonsurgical procedures to cure intervertebral disc disease:

  • Strict Crate Rest
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
  • Physical Therapy
  • Orthopedic Back Brace
  • Low-Level Laser Therapy
Strict Crate-Rest

IVDD is a condition that directly affects your canine’s spinal cord, which leads to a lack of mobility. To treat it, you’d have to minimize the stress and pressure exerted on your greyhound’s vertebral discs.

Simply put, you’ll have to confine your pet in a small room or in their crate for at least four weeks. This limits their mobility, giving their body systems the necessary time to repair and heal the affected vertebral area. You can freely combine this with other nonsurgical methods for greater efficiency.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

There’s no denying that IVDD is a condition that brings extreme pain and discomfort, especially if your canine tries to move. To relieve your greyhound, feed him anti-inflammatory medications once the vet gives the go-ahead. Prescriptions may include steroids and other medicines to reduce swelling. To note, it’s best to administer the drugs during the period of strict crate rest.

Physical Therapy

Yet another nonsurgical way to treat intervertebral disc disease is physical rehabilitation. With this option, you’re hiring a qualified rehab specialist to provide your canine with a treatment plan to heal IVDD. In most cases, the plan combines professional and at-home care you can efficiently perform. It’s an effective route for greyhounds suffering from the early to middle stages of IVDD.

Orthopedic Back Brace

An orthopedic back brace is useful when treating your greyhound’s back pain associated with IVDD. It effectively provides support and stability in the spinal area, leading to lesser herniation. While this option may not address IVDD at the roots, it can relieve pain and prevent further injuries.

Note that when choosing a back brace, it’s best to get one with memory foam layers. This type will offer comfort to your greyhound as it will naturally conform to their back. Remember that the brace’s fit should be rigid but not tight enough to hinder breathing.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a noninvasive procedure that can also treat IVDD in your greyhound. It’s known to alleviate pain and promote tissue and neuronal regeneration. With this treatment, your canine has a huge chance of walking after about two to three months of consistent application.

Aside from these perks, laser therapy can also stop inflammation on sites that have yet to develop. It can be used alongside other methods or as a standalone treatment depending on your vet’s jurisdiction.

Surgical Treatment of IVDD

Surgery is considered the best route for canines with more severe cases of IVDD. Often, these cases can’t be handled with therapy and medication alone. The condition will need immediate medical intervention.

The process involves the removal of the hardened intervertebral discs causing harm to the spinal cord. The surgery has several variations depending on the location of the damaged and herniated discs.

If successful, your pet can recover after six to eight weeks of limited activities. Note that the surgical treatment of IVDD works best on canines that still retain their ability to walk. If the operation is unsuccessful, you can still help your pooch enjoy life in a wheelchair.

After the surgery, you can enroll your canine in a physical therapy course. This will help them recover their muscle mobility and strength more efficiently with the help of an expert.

How to Take Care of Greyhounds With IVDD

Taking care of greyhounds with intervertebral disc disease can be challenging. However, you can definitely make them comfortable so long as you’re willing to extend patience and effort. Here are some of the simple things you can do for your pooch suffering from IVDD:

Lifting a Greyhound With IVDD

Once your canine has undergone surgery to treat IVDD, expect them to be immobile during the recovery phase. They can be fully immobile or have their limbs paralyzed, so you’d have to do most of the work for them. This includes picking them up during their feeding window or when they need to poop and urinate.

During these instances, you’d have to train yourself to lift your pooch up without harming their back any further. Pick them up gently and avoid pulling or jerking them towards you. It’s also vital that you support their chest and butt portion to prevent any spinal strain.

In addition, you’d have to closely watch your greyhound as they get settled on the ground. Be alert if they show signs of stumbling, as any kind of fall is detrimental for dogs diagnosed with IVDD. Some canines would also require a lifting harness during the early stages of recovery to keep their spines aligned.

Walking a Greyhound With IVDD

Dogs with IVDD may be restricted in movement, especially if they’re in their treatment or recovery phase. However, this doesn’t mean they cannot go on walks or do any kind of physical activity. In fact, it’s essential for canines diagnosed with this condition to build muscle and bone strength.

As such, you’d have to be responsible and walk your greyhound every now and then. You don’t have to physically strain them when doing so; sticking to short five-minute walks is enough. So long as you have your veterinarian’s approval, you can even increase the duration and walk your dog for longer.

Supporting a Greyhound With IVDD

Aside from walking, you’d also have to support your greyhound in different activities, including the times when they need to feed. To assist with this, get your hands on an intervertebral back brace designed to stabilize your canine’s spine. It’s a useful tool to support their back and muscles, reducing pain and potential injury.

Check out the tips below on choosing the right IVDD back brace for your canine:

  • Choose a back brace that fully supports your greyhound’s back and spine.
  • One trait that distinguishes a high-quality back brace is that it has removable support braces. This provides your greyhound stability while allowing them to move freely during the healing process.
  • Pick a back brace that is made mainly of memory foam materials. This ensures that the brace is breathable while conforming to the back shape of your canine.

Do Greyhounds Have Back Problems?

Greyhounds, like all other canines, can potentially suffer from a variety of back problems. Some of these issues may occur due to the breed’s genetic predisposition, age, and acquired spinal trauma. Depending on their severity, conditions may range from inconvenient to downright paralyzing. Here are some examples of back problems your canine can potentially suffer from:

  • Spinal fracture due to acute injury or cancers
  • Back muscle sprains due to overexertion
  • Bacterial or fungal infection of the spinal discs
  • Ruptured vertebrae
  • Slipped or herniated spinal discs
  • Spondylosis

What Causes Greyhounds to Have Back Problems?

There is no shortage of disorders that causes greyhounds to suffer from back problems. They may range from conditions you can treat at home to ailments that would require medical intervention. Here are some of them:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Spondylitis
  • Spondylosis
  • Spinal Trauma
  • Pulled Muscles, Strains, and Sprains
  • Meningitis
  • Intervertebral Disc Disorder

Arthritis

Like humans, greyhounds are also prone to osteoarthritis. It’s a degenerative joint condition that can affect the spine, especially if your canine is on the older side. Simply put, the ailment causes the deterioration of the joint cartilage. This may lead to more chronic and painful inflammation.

Arthritis is mostly seen in canines of middle to old age, but it can also occur in dogs with a history of orthopedic surgery. Similarly, if your greyhound is overweight and considered obese, they may also suffer from the ailment. Treatment may differ depending on the severity of the arthritis. The process may involve the administration of supplements, acupuncture, or physical therapy.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This is another type of progressive back disease that is more prevalent in older dogs ages eight to fourteen. Canines diagnosed with this ailment suffer from the decline of their spinal cords. In turn, hind limb weakness and paralysis may follow. Complete immobility of the hind legs may occur within six months to a year from the onset.

Diagnosing degenerative myelopathy in greyhounds may be challenging. This is because the initial symptoms are the same as arthritis. However, there are subtle differences, including gradual weakness, wobbling, and stumbling during movement.

Spondylitis

Also known as vertebral osteomyelitis, this may be due to bacterial or fungal infection. Said infection may get worse and lead to spinal inflammation in dogs. It’s a painful disease usually treated with antibiotics in the early stages but has a high risk of developing into arthritis. Note that your canine must be diagnosed early to prevent permanent nerve damage due to inflamed vertebral bones.

Spondylitis is an ailment that strictly affects the vertebrae. However, if the spinal discs also suffer from inflammation, it is called discospondylitis. Here are some of the bacteria and fungi causing the infection:

Bacteria Fungi
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Brucella canis
  • Escherichia coli
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Aspergillus terreus
  • Scedosporium apiospermum
  • Paecilomyces variotii

Spondylosis

Not to be mistaken for spondylitis, this disorder is commonly found in older canines. Greyhounds suffering from this disease have bone spurs protruding from their vertebrae. This causes them extreme pain and immobility. This may be caused by traumatic injuries to the spine but may also be due to the breed’s genetic predisposition.

Spondylosis is a noninflammatory disorder that develops in the dog’s thoracic or lumbar vertebrae. Some bone spurs may also occur in the lumbosacral junction or several locations across the spine.

The condition is asymptomatic and may be harder to diagnose than other back problems. To note, it’s an ailment that won’t affect the neurological function of your canine and is not characterized by a lack of coordination either.

Spinal Trauma

Back problems may also stem from spinal trauma, which may be caused by various factors. For one, your greyhound may have been consistently fed with a poor diet. This can lead to weak, fragile bones prone to damage.

Similarly, spinal trauma may also occur due to injury from a severe fall. Poor use of neck collars may also be the culprit, putting strain on your greyhound’s neck and back due to constant tugging.

Pulled Muscles, Strains, and Sprains

Greyhounds are known for being big couch potatoes, but remember that they’re also racing dogs. They may be prone to back problems and discomfort due to pulled muscles, strains, and sprains. This is especially the case after sprinting or even lengthy outdoor walks.

Often, this issue won’t need immediate medical attention. Adequate rest time is enough to provide your canine some time to recover from this particular back problem. However, you should be sure that there’s no underlying condition behind your canine’s discomfort.

Meningitis

Yet another cause of back problems in canines is meningitis. It’s an inflammatory condition affecting the brain and spinal cord membranes. This may occur due to parasites or as an immune-mediated inflammatory response. The latter is a more common diagnosis in dogs, known as sterile meningitis.

The condition usually happens in young canines and may manifest through a lack of appetite, depression, or vomiting. Severe neck pain may also occur, especially if your greyhound tries to move suddenly.

It’s a treatable ailment that your dog can quickly recover from with the proper medication. However, the condition becomes more severe if associated with encephalitis.

To note, it’s an ailment characterized by seizures, blindness, and fainting.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

IVDD is another severe back problem that your greyhound suffers from. It’s a condition wherein the spinal discs get damaged and burst, leading to the spillage of the fluid inside. The prolapse would then impinge on the spinal cord, leading to severe pain and discomfort.

IVDD may happen out of the blue or develop gradually, depending on the type of symptoms manifested. It’s more common in breeds showing dwarfism, like dachshunds, Shih Tzus, and beagles. However, your greyhound may also be susceptible to this due to old age and spinal damage.

When Do Greyhounds Start Having Back Problems?

There is no definite period in which greyhounds start having back problems. Some contract spinal ailments early in life, while others experience them from middle to old age. This will entirely depend on the type of back issues your pet is facing and the severity of the ailment.

For instance, those with spinal trauma may have contracted this condition due to a sudden, unfortunate incident. They may have fallen down or gotten hit by a car, causing severe back problems. On the other hand, some may experience osteoarthritis, also known as joint inflammation. It’s a condition most commonly diagnosed in canines in their geriatric stages.

Similarly, some conditions may also develop early in life due to genetic predisposition. Greyhounds, in particular, are prone to a specific type of bone cancer known as osteosarcoma.

Simply put, there are no established age limits to back problems. Your greyhound may remain healthy for most of its life or be diagnosed with an ailment early on.

How Do You Know if Your Greyhound Has Back Problems?

Some diseases that cause back problems in greyhounds are easy to identify, while others are pretty tricky to diagnose. Each dog is different in showing their discomfort, and the signs may also vary depending on how severe the condition is. However, below are some of the most common signs that may indicate if your pet is having back issues:

  • Sudden posture and gait changes
  • Arched back
  • Limping and wobbling
  • Constant pacing behavior
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence
  • Whining or other vocalizations of pain when moving
  • Stiffness
  • Yelping when touched
  • Unwillingness to rise or move
  • Inability to move the head and neck
  • Mood changes

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s best to book a visit with a veterinary professional. Doing so will give you more chances of diagnosing a severe condition early. This may possibly make the healing procedure quicker and more effective. In addition, the vet will provide you with a treatment plan to get to the root of your greyhound’s back problems.

What Can You Do for a Greyhound With Back Pain?

It can be worrying when you see your greyhound suffering from back pain, especially if it’s obvious that they’re feeling it extremely. To help them deal with the discomfort, here are some of the practices you can do at home:

Set Your Greyhound Up for a Weight Loss Plan. Aside from spinal conditions, obesity can also be the main reason your greyhound suffers back pain. As such, the only way for it to disappear is to have your canine in the healthy weight range once more.

To do this, you can minimize your pet’s food intake and set up daily walks to help him lose weight. For a more efficient weight loss program, you can visit the veterinarian to get the best action plan.

Give Your Canine Some Joint Supplements. Vitamins are needed if your greyhound suffers from back pain due to arthritis or other nonlethal conditions. The proper supplement will give them the right nutrients to help their joints, bones, and cartilage recover.

Ensure That Your Greyhound Gets Adequate Rest. Back pains can be quite painful, so your greyhound needs all the rest they can get. To do so, you should limit their movement, ideally through crate rests. You should also invest in softer, more comfortable bedding. This will prevent further injuries and stimulate the healing process more efficiently.

Aside from this, you should be ready to bring your greyhound to the vet at a moment’s notice once they show more severe symptoms. Back pain and discomfort are a precursor to more extreme illnesses, so it’s best to be on your toes.

How to Treat Back Problems in Greyhounds

To treat back problems in greyhounds, you should first bring them to a veterinary expert. The proper diagnosis will lead to a more efficient treatment plan, addressing your dog’s discomfort once and for all. Here are some of the common treatment regimens for back pain:

Pain Medications. If your canine suffers from spinal discomfort, your vet will administer some medications. This will help your greyhound to be more relaxed and alleviate their pain to help make diagnosis much easier.

Rest. If your vet has luckily ruled out the chances of severe ailments on your canine, you’ll be advised to give them enough rest.

Back pain may stem from muscle strain, especially if your greyhound has recently sprinted. If this is the case, no other diagnosis is needed since they’ll be fine after a few hours of nap. Similarly, your dog may require complete rest to avoid further spinal damage.

Surgical Operations. Surgery is most commonly done for canines with more severe illnesses with back pain symptoms. Some of these conditions include IVDD, trauma, and extreme spinal fractures.

Acupuncture. If your greyhound suffers from joint inflammation, your vet may advise you to bring them in for acupuncture. It’s a proven treatment that helps alleviate pain and promote relaxation. The procedure can also address more illnesses, including hip dysplasia and joint disease.

Here are some other therapies that your veterinarian may recommend to treat your greyhound’s back pain:

Tui Na. Often used hand in hand with acupuncture, this Chinese treatment method can also help with your canine’s discomfort. The process involves massaging the trigger channels for back pain relief and inflammation.

Physical Therapy. Vets recommend this type of therapy for canines that suffer from back pain due to weakness. Each session can help promote the body’s healing process and may even include ice or heat application. It’s proven to strengthen your greyhound’s muscles and help them recover from injuries.

Hydrotherapy. Similar to physical therapy, it’s a method for strengthening your greyhound’s body. However, the exercises are performed in water, which makes the routines a bit more complicated. It’s a treatment used to boost blood flow while increasing the joints’ range of motion.

Ultrasound. This method utilizes sound waves to produce heat waves and increase blood flow across the body. If your canine is suffering from chronic back pain accompanied by swelling, then this is an ideal treatment. It functions deeper than a laser, so ultrasound treatment can reach even the most hidden areas.

Cold Laser Therapy. This method is effective in stimulating your canine’s natural ability to heal. It promotes blood flow, nerve, and muscle function, which is effective in treating back pain. Aside from this, laser therapy is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is helpful for your greyhound’s condition.

Chinese Herbal and Food Therapies. Chinese therapy addresses ailments by prescribing helpful food and herbs to improve chi flow. For instance, natural resources are provided to heal the kidney if your greyhound is in pain due to kidney problems.

Traditional Pain Medications. These can give immediate relief against back pain but may cause harm to your canine if misused. They’re most often combined with other pain-relieving prescriptions for more efficacy. However, note that this should be done with an expert’s approval to avoid harm to your pet.

How Do You Prevent Back Problems in Greyhound?

While most back injuries can be treated or managed, it’s still best to prevent them from happening in the first place. Doing so will save your greyhound from a lot of pain and discomfort. Here are some preventative measures you can do for your furry friend:

Feed Your Greyhound a Healthy Diet

One of the most foolproof ways to protect your greyhound from the majority of back problems is by providing them with the right diet. This is important since the lack of healthful sustenance may cause their bones not to grow properly. Similarly, they may also become prone to sickness and other injuries related to spinal issues.

For reference, the best diet plan for greyhounds includes foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This will ensure that your pet will have a healthy body capable of fighting off common illnesses.

You should also provide extra attention to the kinds of food they should avoid, including:

  • Table scraps and leftovers
  • Spoiled foods
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods, including canned ones
  • Fat trimmings and bones
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee and energy drinks

Keep Your Greyhound’s Weight In Check

Often, back pain occurs if your canine is way past their ideal weight. Obesity may expose your greyhound to many health issues, including back strain and spinal damage. To prevent this from happening, you should ensure that your canine is in their ideal weight range. Note: healthy greyhounds should weigh between 60 to 70 lbs (27 to 32 kgs).

Greyhounds are naturally thin, with prominent joints and rib cages. As such, if you observe them getting a bit rounded, you must immediately check in with your vet. Don’t forget to be strict when giving them treats and aim for a healthier diet.

Allocate Time for Walks and Exercise

Greyhounds are low-energy canines, but they still love to go out to bond with their owners. You should take advantage of this behavior and provide them with plenty of exercise. Aside from keeping them healthy, workouts will also prevent other behavioral problems. It will also stave off separation anxiety and provide your canine some entertainment.

If your pet is more on the older side, you should settle for low-intensity activities instead. This may include hydrotherapy or even short outdoor walks that won’t put much pressure on their spine.

Similarly, if your greyhound is still young, you’d want to bring them to an open space and allow sprinting. Remember, they’re meant for the race tracks, so the breed is meant to run around occasionally.

Minimize Health Risks

One thing to note about greyhounds is that they’re quite clumsy, thanks to their long limbs and tails. Due to this, they may be prone to accidents, including falling from the couch after jumping. This increases their risks of contracting a back injury, among other painful ailments.

As such, you should train your dog to move carefully and discourage dangerous behavior. Similarly, you can install nonslip floor mats and ensure that the floor is dry to avoid slipping. Keeping their nails short is also necessary to prevent discomfort and posture changes.

How Do You Know if Your Greyhound Hurt Its Back?

Canines mainly express their discomfort through their actions. As such, you’ll know if your greyhound hurt their back by observing changes in their behavior, such as:

Aggressiveness or Antisocial Behavior. When hurt, dogs may opt to deal with their pain alone. This makes them antisocial, avoid contact, and stop greeting you once you’re at the door. Moreover, they may also turn aggressive, especially if you try to approach them.

Loss of Appetite. There’s no denying that greyhounds love their daily naps. However, if they sleep more to the point of missing out on meals, they may be hurt or suffering from pain. Similarly, they may also show significant differences in the amount of water they drink.

Excessive Vocalization. Greyhounds are quiet and known to stay silent for the most part. As such, it’s out of their normal behavior to be more vocal. They may loudly yelp, snarl, whine, or even howl when in pain.

Heavy Breathing and Panting. Changes in breathing patterns may indicate pain, so you should also watch out for these. Your greyhound may have hurt their back if they show signs of altered breathing. Tip: more shallow breaths mean breathing has become a painful activity.

Too Much Grooming. Licking is a way for dogs to clean themselves. However, if it becomes too excessive, the behavior may indicate attempts at relief. Your greyhound may be hurt, and trying to alleviate the pain by grooming.

Mobility Problems. A canine with a serious back injury will surely show difficulties in movement. This may range from slight stiffness and limping to even complete paralysis.

Is It Common for Greyhounds to Break Their Backs?

Greyhounds are prone to several back ailments, especially once they reach old age. However, it’s not common for them, nor any other dog breed, to break their backs. In fact, spinal fractures and severe breakage may only occur due to the following:

  • Road traffic incidents
  • Falling from a great height
  • Gunshot injury
  • Animal attacks
  • Other traumatic incidents that involve vertebrae weakening

The severity of the condition depends largely on the cause of back breakage. Ultimately, spinal breakage can be classified into four major types. These include the following:

  • Complete (vertebra is broken into two parts)
  • Incomplete (extends only on several vertebral sections)
  • Displaced (out of position)
  • Non-displaced (maintaining natural spine alignment)

What to Do When Your Greyhound Hurts Their Back

If your greyhound hurts their back, there’s only one logical thing to do: visit the veterinary clinic immediately. Note that the visit should not be delayed in exchange for natural home remedies. This is because the back is a sensitive body part – damage to it may lead to severe health problems and possibly even be fatal.

Once in the presence of a veterinary expert, they will immediately assess your canine’s well-being. They will examine your dog’s:

  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Mobility
  • Pain reaction, especially in the lower limbs
  • Consciousness
  • Peripheral perfusion
  • Capillary refill time
  • Ability to urinate and defecate

Afterward, initial treatment and the necessary stabilization procedure will be performed. Oxygen and proper medications will also be provided for your canine to alleviate pain. Additional tests may also be administered to pinpoint further damage, including MRI and CT scans.

Once your furry friend is safe and settled down, your veterinarian will present you with ideal treatment procedures. These may either be in the form of nonsurgical or surgical treatments, depending on your greyhound’s condition. More severe cases would require an operation, but lesser ones may involve cage confinement and restriction.

How Long Does It Take for a Greyhound to Recover From Back Injury?

Your greyhound’s recovery time may vary depending on the severity of the back injury. Extreme cases may need several months to heal, with the canine not recuperating fully even after that. Non-extreme ones would require a few weeks, determined by how much damage is involved.

You can opt for rehabilitation programs to speed up your greyhound’s recovery from a back injury. These include physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture. You should consult your veterinarian first to ensure that the activity won’t further harm your canine.

How Much Is Back Surgery for Greyhounds?

Generally, back surgery for greyhounds may cost a whopping $4,000 to $8,500 and above. Overall cost estimation can be challenging, especially as many variables are involved. These include the type of operation needed, the pre-op and post-op examinations, and other medical expenses.

You’d also have to allocate some of your budget to the mandatory vet exams for disease diagnosis. In addition, follow-up visits, prescriptions, and medications are also added to the total surgery fees. If the costs get too much for you, you can avail of payment plans or ask for the assistance of several animal organizations.

For reference, here are some of the possible surgical operations your vet may present to treat your greyhound:

  • Fenestration
  • Hemilaminectomy
  • Dorsal Laminectomy
  • Ventral Slot
  • Laser disc ablation

How Successful Is Back Surgery on Greyhounds?

The success of back surgery on greyhounds will mainly depend on the severity of the ailment they are suffering from. Health before the operation is also a variable and may determine whether they’re fit for said treatment. Some canines may have a full recovery and return to their everyday lives after the surgery.

However, others may only have limited mobility due to their extreme conditions. If this is the case with your greyhound, you can rely on several therapies to increase their chances of success. For instance, you can try laser or sound therapy to reduce inflammation and kickstart your canine’s healing process.

How Long Does It Take for a Greyhound to Recover From Back Surgery?

Generally, greyhounds will need three to four months to recover from back surgery. However, note that this is only an estimate – the healing period will depend entirely on your canine’s condition and recovery rate. Here is what typically happens after a back surgical operation:

  • Your greyhound will remain hospitalized for a minimum of two to three days after surgery. During this period, they are closely monitored and given IV fluid to ensure hydration.
  • Pain medications are constantly administered since the wound is still fresh. This can be provided through injections or oral medications.
  • Your greyhound is kept on thick bedding to prevent pressure sores from forming. They are also turned from one side to another to avoid discomfort and breathing problems.
  • For those suffering from bladder impairment, a urinary catheter is a must. Alternatively, gentle pressure is applied on their genitalia to promote urination several times a day. On the other hand, greyhounds that don’t suffer from this are brought outdoors a few times daily to relieve themselves.
  • Once your greyhound gets better and starts eating and drinking, they’re free to go home. Your veterinarian will also examine whether your canine is comfortable on oral pain medications. Doing so will ensure that you can administer the tablets yourself.
  • Care instructions unique to your canine’s health condition will be provided. In most cases, this will include strict crate confinement and mobility restrictions.
  • Checkup appointments will typically be scheduled at two, four, eight, and twelve weeks after surgery. X-rays will also be done to check if the bones are healing as they should. For reference, complete bone recovery occurs three to four months after the operation.

How Do You Know if Your Greyhound Is in Pain?

To know whether your greyhound is in pain, you should observe any weird changes in their behavior. Aside from this, you should also examine your canine for any physical symptoms and mobility problems. Here are some things you should watch out for:

Physical Signs Behavioral Changes Mobility Problems
  • Tight muscles
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Difficulty breathing and panting
  • Arched back and tucked belly
  • Aversion to touch
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Excessive grooming
  • Too much whining and vocalizing
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • Refusal to move
  • Avoidance of stairs
  • Inability to lie down or stand up

Generally, two types of pain may be causing your greyhound some discomfort. The first one is known as acute pain, which stems from sudden injuries or accidents. The second is called chronic pain, which stays even after the injury or ailment is treated.

What Can I Give My Greyhound for Pain?

The best thing you can give to your greyhound for pain is a veterinary visit. Your vet will need to run some diagnostic tests on your canine before administering any treatment. You should avoid providing them with any kind of medication, including pain relievers, as it may only cause further harm. Other things you can do include:

  • Stop physical activities with your greyhound if they exhibit signs of pain
  • Take note of the signs and symptoms shown by your canine during the experience
  • Explore all available treatment options to help your greyhound get rid of the pain
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your veterinarian to further understand what is happening
  • Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if you think it is needed
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