What would you make of it if your dog suddenly withdrew from interaction and started hiding?
Would you chalk it up to stress? Depending on the circumstances and your dog’s history, you could be right. Fear and anxiety can be behind your dog hiding, especially if they have history of noise phobias or something potentially stressful happened in their life.
However, be aware that pain or illness can have the same effect. If you find your dog slinking under the bed, the back of the closet, or any hiding place they might find, consider the big picture. You might detect other signs such as changes in gait or posture, lethargy, loss of appetite, and other changes. Such a dog needs to see a veterinarian.
Igloo was a 7-year-old Siberian Husky. True to her breed, she was an active dog who enjoyed long walks and rough play with his housemate. Their play involved high speeds and dramatic maneuvers, and they loved it.
That day, Igloo abruptly stopped playing and no longer wanted to engage. Instead, she sought refuge in nearby bushes. Immediately, Igloo’s mom knew that something was amiss and made an appointment with their veterinarian.
At the veterinarian
Before the appointment, the veterinarian reviewed Igloo’s medical history. As it turned out, Igloo visited with a similar problem about a year prior. Similar, not the same. At that time, Igloo had trouble jumping into a vehicle, cried when getting up from rest, and yelped when her mom touched her lower back.
As it turned out, Igloo’s left lower back was painful. Did she get hurt? Did she have a disc problem? To start, the veterinarian prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and rest which did the trick. After couple of months, Igloo was back to her normal, active self.
Was Igloo’s problem now the same as then? With high care, the veterinarian examined Igloo. After careful pushing and poking, the veterinarian found the sore area. This time, Igloo hurt on both sides of her lower back where the spine connects to the sacrum. This part of the spine is especially vulnerable to injuries and disc problems because of how weight shifts during jumps and twists.
To pinpoint the exact problem, Igloo would need an MRI scan. However, it makes sense to start off with pain relief and rest first. Frequently, that is all that’s needed.
Igloo’s condition is referred to as a lumbosacral syndrome. This painful problem can have several underlying causes, including:
- narrowed spinal canal due to arthritis
- herniated disc
- congenital malformations
Pain is the hallmark symptom of the lumbosacral syndrome. Other issues might include
- muscle atrophy and resulting weakness
- chewing of feed or tail
If the problem is disc related and the disc ruptures, the dog might loose coordination or become paralyzed in the hind legs.
Further information: Lumbosacral Syndrome in Dogs
Most dogs recover with medical treatment and rest. However, such a problem is likely to recur. There is a relatively small risk that at some point Igloo will face a serious problem that doesn’t respond to medication and might require surgery. Hopefully, that does not happen.
Igloo’s story is an example of how essential it is to pay attention to any changes in your dog’s behavior. Something as seemingly unimportant as hiding is often sigh of serious pain.
Igloo is a 7 year old Siberian Husky
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