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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14839
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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My dachshund was having spasms under his skin on his left upper

Customer Question

My dachshund was having spasms under his skin on his left upper side. I didn't see them but could feel them. He was still eating but was less active. What might it be?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that you are concerned about feeling spasms under the skin on your fellow Reese's upper left side when he was eating but seemed less active than usual. Dachshunds have long backs that are very prone to injury as well as a problem with the spine called intervertebral disc disease. Intervertebral discs are the spongy cushions between the individual vertebrae in their back and neck. These spongy discs can move or rupture and place pressure upon the spinal cord which can lead to pain, and in severe cases paralysis. When the nerves originating from the spinal cord are compressed or irritated by pressure they can cause painful muscle spasms in the thick support muscles that run along either side of the spine. I suspect that is what you felt on Reese, and would certainly explain his decrease in activity.He should be closely confined starting now. No stairs, running or jumping. If you have a crate for him I highly recommend using it. The less he moves around the more comfortable he will be and the faster he will heal.He should go out on a leash to relieve himself. Do not use a collar for him, a harness which more evenly distributes forces if he pulls on his leash is better. You will need to confine him for several weeks, even as he starts to feel better or he may reinjure himself. Keeping him on the thin side is recommended to decrease stress on his back, but is no guarantee that he won't have another episode. Once a dog has one bad disc the likelihood of another is very high. If you are interested in reading more here is a link to an excellent article about intervertebral disc disease, its causes and therapy: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Dog-Health-Center/Bone-Joint-Muscle-Disorders/Intervertebral-Disk-Disease/Symptoms.aspxThere are other less common causes of back pain such as infections, tumors of the vertebrae or the spinal cord itself or fibrocartilagenous emboli but far and away disc disease is the most common cause of back pain in dogs.Please let me know if you have any further questions.