What is Lumbo-sacral Stenosis?
Lumbo-sacral stenosis is the narrowing of the vertebral canal in the lower back effecting the nerves of the lower back, pelvis, and tail regions. It is usually associated with a variety of neurological signs ranging from pain to paralysis.
How does my dog get Lumbo-sacral Stenosis?
This condition may be either congenital or acquired. The breeds with a congenital likelihood are noted below. The acquired lumbo-sacral stenosis is the result of aging and associated degenerative changes to the vertebral canal, muscles and connective tissue of the vertebra. In either case, these changes lead to the narrowing of the spinal canal and subsequent pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
How do I know if my dog has Lumbo-sacral Stenosis?
Depending upon the severity of the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, the signs include lower back pain, hind limb lameness, muscle wasting, urinary or fecal incontinence, self mutilation, among others. Since there are other conditions that can cause these signs, it is important for your veterinarian to perform a thorough examination and take radiographs of the pelvic region. The examination findings in conjunction with the radiographs will be the first indication that lumbosacral stenosis exists. Additional testing, usually done by a boarded neurologist, radiologist, or surgeon, may include myelography, MRI, CAT scans, etc.
What can I do about Lumbo-sacral Stenosis?
Treatment is directed at decreasing the pressure on the spinal cord thus preventing any further inflammation and damage. Confinement and medical management using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be attempted but is usually unsatisfactory. Treatment of choice is surgical. The procedure is directed at decompressing the narrowed area and thus freeing up the spinal cord from pressure. The surgery will help with the pain but any neurological changes that may have occurred may or may not be repaired.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my pet from getting Lumbo-sacral Stenosis?
There is an increased likelihood in overweight dogs and the breeds noted below, but other than that there is very little that can be done from a preventative standpoint.
Are there certain breeds that get Lumbo-sacral Stenosis more often?
Small and mediums sized dogs usually have the congenital form while larger dogs, especially German Shepherds, tend to have the acquired form.