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 Disk Disease and Your Pet 


11/15/01 J.R. Rogers 
As most of you know, disk disease affects a great many of us. In fact, it is common to find evidence of this in most aging adults. However, it can also be a very real issue for your pets as well. 

The Consequences 
Disk disease in a human is nearly identical to that of pets. Your backbone is made up of both bones (vertebrae) and shock-absorbing disks which are comprised of cartilage. It is that cartilage that provides both humans and pets with both protection between the bones and the ability to move, run, and play. It is when those disks begin to degenerate that the problems begin. Not only is this a very painful condition, it also can cause paralysis in extreme cases. 

Disk Disease 
Once the disks begin to degenerate they lose their elasticity; they begin to calcify and no longer serve as "shock absorbers." As time goes by, this degeneration has major consequences. The center part of the disk (and in some cases the outer portion) begins to "push" into the spinal canal. In turn, what you then have is pressure on the spinal nerves and the cord. 

When this extremely painful situation (whether for a human or a pet) can lead to paralysis, the question becomes one of "when should I suspect disk disease?" 

The Little Guys First 
If you own a small animal as opposed to a larger one, signs of pain in the back or signals that indicate paralysis in the limbs are a very strong indication of disk disease. Of course, we do not want to put ourselves in the situation where we are trying to "play veterinarian." 

Diagnosis 
Disk disease is (usually) detected by a simple x-ray. If there has been any calcification of the disks, it is going to demonstrate itself. In other cases, the veterinarian may have to use a CT-scan, a myelogram or even an MRI. If there is a protruding disk, it will be revealed. 

Treatment 
If your pet does not have a very advanced problem, they may respond to supplements like a high-quality liquid glucosamine which has natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. That is the course that is most desirable if it is effective. 

In more advanced cases, the vet may suggest the use of steroids or NSAID's. While the use of these pain control methods is not the most desirable, it is even less so to have your pet suffering. 

Finally, in very advanced stages of disk disease where paralysis is setting in or if your pet remains in chronic pain, surgery may be the final option. In the best of all worlds, you won't have to face that option. If your vet is comfortable that the disease has not advanced too far, try a high-quality liquid glucosamine. It can save a lot of suffering for your pet. 

(This is just a reminder to those of you who know of someone or a vet that practices acupuncture. This is another avenue that can be explored in lieu of surgery.) 

J.R. Rogers is the founder and President of Activex America, Inc. makers of Liquid Glucosamine Formula Syn-flex® 

The author's statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not provided to diagnose any disease or to suggest that liquid glucosamine and chondroitin will treat, cure, or prevent any disease.