Determining where the root problem in a dog can be difficult. They can’t explain to you what they are feeling and they don’t have fingers to point where it specifically hurts.
When I see injured dogs as an animal chiropractor, I am usually presented with a dog that has very common symptoms like limping or change in activity levels, but it usually comes with no diagnosis of what is happening… and I totally get why.
Full diagnostic work ups and imaging such as x-rays can cost a lot of money since your dog isn’t covered through OHIP. Most owners are hesitant to get these tests done because a lot of the time they come back negative.
You spend your hard earned money and get no answers.
Sometimes those tests are absolutely warranted and I usually tell people right away that they need to go to their vet first and get them done instead of seeing me.
However, most of the time it is a mechanical injury such as a muscle strain, or a joint injury that is causing the pain. This is the perfect time to have an animal chiropractor check your pet.
The bottom line is you don’t know until it is examined. But in the meantime here are some clues that might help you determine if you should take your dog to the chiropractor for a low back issue.
Lameness - If you aren’t from the horse world, this just means that your pet is not moving normally, ie. something is disrupting their normal gait. This could be caused by soreness therefore they would limp. Or this could be caused by weakness, sometimes associated with nerve irritation from the lower spine.
Change in normal activity - You might start to notice your dog, avoiding normal tasks such as going up and down stairs or avoiding getting up from their bed as often as they would before. Dogs are really resilient but if they are in discomfort they are going to avoid the normal daily activities to lessen the aggravation.
Point tenderness - If you suspect something may be going on with your dog’s low back, don’t be afraid to poke around. Slowly run a finger down either side of your dogs low back from the ribs down and apply appropriate pressure depending on the dog’s size. If your dog has a sore spot they will turn their head quickly, they may try to move away or their muscles in their low back will twitch. These are all an attempt to remove the pressure from the sore area.
If you find any of the above in your dog it might now be a bad idea to have them checked by a dog chiropractor.