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諦めないで!犬の椎間板ヘルニアの治療法

犬

家族のように大切にしている愛犬が、「椎間板ヘルニア」と診断されたら、とても驚きますし、不安にもなりますね。

人の病名としても耳にすることもある椎間板ヘルニアですが、犬の椎間板ヘルニアの治療法はどのようなものがあるのでしょうか。

今回は、愛犬が椎間板ヘルニアと診断され、驚きと不安でいっぱいのかたへ、その不安が少しでも減ることを願いつつ、これからどんな治療ができるのかその選択肢のお話をしていきましょう。

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適切な検査をして適切な治療を

医者

椎間板ヘルニアはグレード1からグレード5まで、症状の進行度によって5段階に分けられています。

しかし実際には、特別な検査をすることなく「とりあえず内科的治療をしましょう」とか「症状が進行したので手術しましょう」というあやふやな治療方針で話が進んでいくことがあります。

適切な治療をするためには、適切な検査は欠かせません。それは人でも同じですよね。

間違った治療法では、症状が改善するどころか悪化する可能性だってあるのです。もしかしたら、椎間板ヘルニアではなく、別のところに原因があるかもしれません。的確な検査を受けていないのであれば、その可能性は否めないのです。

また、ダックスフンドのような軟骨異栄養犬種(軟骨の形成不全で、骨が短くなる病気の遺伝子を定着させることによって作り出された犬種)は、CTなどで検査をすると見た目より進行している場合もあります。

的確な検査を行い、確定診断を受け、的確な治療をすることが大切です。

犬の椎間板ヘルニアの治療法いろいろ

椎間板ヘルニアの治療は大きく分けると2つあります。内科的治療と外科的治療です。あまり一般的ではありませんが、補助的な治療法もあります。

内科療法

内科療法は、脊髄の圧迫や症状が軽度の犬に対して行われます。

ただし、前出のとおり、軟骨異栄養犬種は内科療法をおこなっていても症状が進行することがあるので、治療をしている間も経過観察をしていくことが重要です。

内科療法の基本はケージレストと言って、基本的にトイレなどのとき以外は、体がぎりぎり動ける程度の狭いケージの中で、じっとさせておく安静のことです。

ケージレストの期間は、通常、脱出した椎間板が安定するのにかかると言われる期間と同じ4~6週間です。

これは、圧迫の原因となっている椎間板物質を手術で取り除かないため、体を動かすだけでも再度ダメージを受ける危険があるからです。

また、ケージレストと同時に激しい痛みを伴う場合は非ステロイド系消炎鎮痛剤、確定診断がついていない段階で脊髄損傷や脊髄炎が疑われる場合にはストロイドなどの薬物療法も補助的に行われることがあります。

内科療法で最も重要なことは安静です。6週間も狭いケージの中に入れておくのはかわいそうなことですが、ケージレストを守らずに一生歩けなくなってしまっては、後悔してもしきれませんね。

内科療法を選択した場合は、薬を飲ませることで安心せずに、必ずケージレストを守りましょう。

外科療法

外科療法とは手術のことです。手術は正常な位置から飛び出ている椎間板物質を取り除くために行われます。

当然ですが、原因となっていない椎間板を手術しても改善はしませんから、原因となっている椎間板の場所の特定が重要です。

そのため、手術をする前に場所を特定する適切な検査が必要になってきます。

内科療法と比べると回復率は高く、早期の回復が見込めますが、手術はもちろん検査でも全身麻酔をかける必要があるため、リスクも伴います。

ただし、グレード5の椎間板ヘルニアでは発症から48時間以内に手術をしなければ、回復率はわずか数%以下となってしまいます。このことからも分かるように、早期に発見して適切な治療をすることは回復率を上げるという意味でも大切です。

補助治療いろいろ

内科療法や外科療法のほかに用いられる補助療法をご紹介します。

鍼灸療法は、東洋医学の考えをもとに、体のツボを刺激することで回復のきっかけを与える治療方法です。軽度の椎間板ヘルニアの症状なら鍼灸治療を行うだけで改善に向かうこともあります。

酸素カプセルは高気圧のカプセルの中で通常よりも多くの酸素を取り入れる健康器具です。椎間板ヘルニアで期待できる効果としては、背骨を矯正する効果と、緊張した筋肉や神経の炎症改善です。

赤外線治療では、近赤外線で血行を改善することで、鎮痛・鎮静効果を促します。

最先端治療

犬の椎間板ヘルニアの最先端治療として用いられているのが、iPS細胞で話題になっている再生医療で「自己幹細胞移植療法」とも呼ばれています。

犬の椎間板ヘルニア再生療法は、犬自身の皮下脂肪、または骨髄を一定期間培養したものを投与する方法で行われます。

統計的な治療成績を表せるほど十分な治療実績には至っていませんが、治療に対する良好な反応が見られているのも事実です。

まとめ:後悔しない選択をするためにも・・

増え続けている犬の椎間板ヘルニア。その治療法も日々進化しています。

椎間板ヘルニアにならないために予防することは大切ですが、なってしまった場合は、早期に発見して適切な治療をすることで、回復率は上がります。進行してからでは、犬の体にも金銭的にも負担が大きく、結果として選択肢を減らすことになりかねません。

後悔しない治療を選択するためにも、どんな治療法があるのか知っておくことは、あなたにとっても愛犬にとっても大切なことです。

愛犬が椎間板ヘルニアだと診断されたら、不安でいっぱいになりますが、諦めずにあなただからできることをしてあげてくださいね。

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