Wedge vertebrae in dogs are a serious orthopaedic problem. This article looks at what wedge vertebrae are, how they develop, which breeds are particularly affected, the possible consequences of spinal cord compression and when surgery is required. In addition, we explain how and with what dogs can be helped.
What are wedge vertebrae?
Wedge vertebrae in dogs, also known as a wedge spine or ham vertebrae, is an orthopaedic condition in which the vertebrae in a dog’s spine have a deformed, wedge-shaped structure. This deformation causes compression of the spinal cord and can cause serious health problems, which we will discuss later.
What causes wedge vertebrae?
The exact cause of wedge vertebrae is not fully understood, but they are inherited and therefore genetic factors play a role. Some breeds also have a higher risk of wedge vertebrae due to their anatomical characteristics. This leads us to the next question.
Which dog breeds are particularly affected?
Certain dog breeds are more prone to wedge vertebrae than others. These include overbred breeds such as Dachshunds, Welsh Corgis, Shih Tzus, French Bulldogs and also larger breeds such as German Shepherds and German Shorthairs. The anatomical structure and breeding-related genetic predisposition of these breeds not only make them more susceptible to spinal problems, an often avoided breeding exclusion of diseased animals, also leads to the spread of the disease.
Consequences of spinal cord compression
Compression of the spinal cord by wedge vertebrae can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms can range from pain, lameness and muscle weakness to paralysis, tremor and incontinence. Symptoms vary depending on which part of the spinal cord is affected. There is also a symptom-free course, but this is quite rare.
When is vertebral surgery necessary?
The decision to operate depends on the severity of the symptoms and the degree of spinal cord compression. A good veterinarian will usually use imaging techniques such as radiographs and MRI to make the diagnosis and evaluate the condition. In severe cases where the spinal cord is significantly compressed and the dog is in pain or paralysed, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the spine and correct the problem as best as possible.
Support with DOG FIT by PreThis® and dog physiotherapy
DOG FIT by PreThis® JOINTS provides pain and inflammation-relieving support for the dog’s spine, as well as osteoarthritis prevention, while DOG FIT by PreThis® VITAMIN B helps strengthen and regenerate compressed neural pathways. In our shop you will find a favourable combination set of JOINTS and VITAMIN B.
Dog physiotherapy is another important part of recovery and can help dogs regain mobility and quality of life. An experienced canine physiotherapist can recommend tailored exercises and therapies for the dog.
Overall, wedge vertebrae are a serious condition that requires careful attention. Early detection, appropriate treatment and the right support can help the dog live a full and pain-free life.
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