The spine is constructed from 27 individual bones divided into 3 distinact areas - the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. This section will explain the conditions that affect the canine and feline spine and provide an insight into how we diagnose and treat some of the complex conditions that affect the spinal column.
Wobbler syndrome is a problem of the spine within the neck, resulting in poor transmission of nerve signals between the brain and the body. Clinical signs vary according to the severity and duration of spinal cord compression. The most common sign is a wobbly, uncoordinated gait, with a tendency towards stumbling and scuffing of the feet.
Syringomyelia is a condition with numerous eponyms, including “Chiari-like malformation” and “neck scratcher’s disease”. Syringomyelia results from an obstruction to the normal flow of spinal fluid from the brain to areas within and around the spinal cord. This results in the formation of a syrinx, which is a fluid filled cavity within the spinal cord.
There are several causes of neck and back pain in dogs. The commonest is intervertebral disc disease, which involves degeneration of one of the discs along the spine. Clinical signs range from pain alone in mildly affected patients to complete paralysis in the most severely affected dogs.
The lumbosacral (LS) junction is the juncture of the last lumbar vertebra (L7) with the sacrum (where the spinal column meets the pelvis and back legs). The LS joint is one of the highest-motion joints of the spine. As a result, it is uniquely predisposed to degenerative (wear-and-tear) diseases that are similar to the diseases causing lower back pain in humans.
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