When your dog goes down the first thing you need to do is put them on crate rest. This ensures that your dog’s movement is restricted and gives them the time that they need to heal properly. This is extremely important, and integral to their recovery. Restricting their movement will lower the risk of further damage to the disc and spinal cord
Why Is Crate Rest so Important?
When a disc ruptures, the gel like substance inside the disc starts to protrude into the spinal column. Sometimes it happens slowly, sometimes it happens acutely. Both ways will affect the spinal cord as it becomes compressed. Compression of the spinal cord is exacerbated by inflammation around the site of injury. When the rupture is acute, it may also cause damage to the spinal cord. Damage to the spinal cord means lower chance, and longer road to recovery.
This is why it is so important to restrict your dog’s movement as much as possible for up to 8 weeks, unless otherwise specified by your vet. This is the amount of time it takes to form scar tissue around the injury, so that it does not protrude more when the spine moves. Failing to restrict your dogs movement is likely to cause their condition to worsen quickly, and has the potential to cause irreparable damage to their spinal cord.
If your dog gets very stressed out in the crate and is attempting to escape or moving around too much, you can try using a pack n play or something with an open top that makes them feel a bit less confined. Just make sure they don’t have too much space to move around. You can decide what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be a crate necessarily, it really just means very restricted movement. In my post ‘Make the Best Out of Crate Rest’ I give a list of tips to make it a little bit easier and less stressful for you and your dog.
I know it’s hard, especially when your dog starts feeling better and just wants to get out and play! In my opinion the crate rest period is the hardest part. Once you get through this time, the worst is behind you. You can do it! Stay strong for your pup, and never give up hope!