How to Care for a Chihuahua With a Spinal Injury

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Caring for your chihuahua with a spinal cord injury can be difficult.
Caring for your chihuahua with a spinal cord injury can be difficult. (Image: chihuahua image by carine67 from Fotolia.com)

Spinal cord injuries in chihuahuas can have severe repercussions, including loss of movement in the dog's hindquarters and inability to control or restrain urination. Caring for a chihuahua with a spinal cord injury can be costly and time-consuming, but is usually worth it. Until recently, chihuahuas with spinal cord injuries had few treatment options. However, thanks to recent veterinary developments their chances of living "normal" lives have significantly increased.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog shampoo
  • Bathtub
  • Veterinarian

Consult your veterinarian on the value of olfactory ensheathing cells, also known as OECs. OECs are cells from the nose; they can assist spinal cords in repairing themselves and returning at least some functionality to your chihuahua's hindquarters. Have your vet tell you if OECs are relevant in your dog's case; if so, have him administer OECs in the proper dosage.

Clean your chihuahua consistently, more thoroughly than an uninjured dog. Your chihuahua can suffer from incontinence due to his injury and will require cleaning at least once a week. Chihuahuas are smaller dogs, so this should be relatively easy. If you don't bathe your chihuahua often enough, it will probably smell strongly and experience urine scald--areas on the skin where hair falls out and the skin gets irritated from urine.

Turn your chihuahua's body every so often. This prevents bed sores from forming from remaining in one position for too long.

Take your chihuahua to the vet often for urine cultures. A chihuahua suffering from a spinal cord injury can have difficulty keeping its bladder empty, which makes it more prone to infections. Urine cultures will pick up on infections and prevent them from getting too serious.

Determine your dog's exercise regimen in consultation with your vet. This will depend on the type and severity of your dog's spinal cord injury. You may need to help your dog learn to stand on its injured legs again, which will necessitate standing exercises. Your dog may also need hydrotherapy as part of its physical therapy. Over time, and with proper treatment, your dog may be able to take part in any aerobic exercises it was doing to prior to the spinal cord injury Follow the exercise instructions that your vet recommends - too much or too little exercise can damage your dog's spine further.

Add specialty foods to your dog's diet that will assist it in healing. Fresh garlic and ginger, for example, can help your dog fight off infections and stomach disorders to which it will be more prone due to its spinal cord injury. Check with your vet on the dog's specific dietary needs as they relate to its spinal cord injury.

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