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(Intervertebral disk disease)

Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) may be described by your vet as a ruptured, slipped, bulging or herniated disk in your dog's back or neck. While this condition can happen in any breed of dog, it is most commonly seen in dachshunds, pekingese, shih tzus, basset hounds and beagles. 

What Is The Cause Of IVDD?

Intervertebral Disc Disease is a gradual, age-related, degenerative process that affects the spinal cord of the dog over a period of time. 

IVDD occurs when the shock absorbing discs between your dog's vertebrae gradually begin to harden until they are no longer able to cushion the vertebrae normally. The hardened discs often go on to bulge and compress the spinal cord, in many cases damaging the dog's nerve impulses such as those that control bladder and bowel control.

In other cases, a simple jump or poor landing can lead to one or more of the hardened discs bursting and pressing into the nerves of the dog's spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage or even paralysis.


What are the signs my dog has IVDD?

There are two types of disc herniation seen in dogs: Type I and Type II.

Type II generally has less severe signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of IVDD in dogs may include: 

  • Paralysis

  • Abnormal walking

  • Unwillingness to jump

  • Pain and weakness in rear legs (lameness)

  • Crying out in pain

  • Anxious behavior

  • Hunched back or neck with tense muscles

  • Reduced appetite and activity level

  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control (urinary and fecal incontinence) or unwillingness to posture to eliminate

Treating IVDD in Dog's

Depending on the severity of the damage to your dog’s spinal cord, treatment can range from conservative to surgical.

Conservative IVDD Treatment

Conservative care usually includes treatment with drugs such as steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories along with one or more types of pain control to reduce the swelling and pain.

Surgical Treatment for IVDD

If the damage is too severe and the dog is paralyzed or incontinent, conservative treatment may not be enough.

In these cases, emergency surgery is needed to open up the space. This is done by removing a portion of the bony vertebrae over the spinal cord (laminectomy) to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.


Recovery and home care

While your dog recovers, you will need to keep them well-rested, control their pain, monitor their toileting habits and follow your vet’s instructions exactly.

Keep them clean - it’s important to keep your dog clean throughout their recovery. If your dog is incontinent, you will need to use absorbent bedding such as puppy training pads and give them regular bed baths with warm soapy water. Rinse away any soapy residues and dry your dog thoroughly afterwards. You will need to brush your dog if they are struggling to groom, and you may even want to consider trimming their coat if it becomes matted.

Comfortable bedding - a soft place to lie down will help your dog stay comfortable and stop pressure sores developing.

Make sure they don’t slip - it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t slip or fall when they are being taken out to go to the toilet. Stick to carpets where possible and put non-slip coverings over any hard floors they will be walking over. You might also want to consider using a sling or towel to help them get up, especially in the early stages.

Supportive therapy - your vet might recommend additional treatments such as hydrotherapy and physiotherapy to help with your dog’s recovery.

Weight - keeping your dog the right weight will reduce pressure on their spine. Talk to our team about your dog’s weight to check they are in the right body condition. If necessary, we will be able to help you get your dog to lose weight without increasing their exercise.

Returning to normality - once your dog has started to recover, your vet will create a plan to get them exercising again. Returning to exercise needs to be very gradual and controlled. It’s important to follow your vets instructions exactly and to contact them if have any problems or are unsure about any of the steps.

So how can Fit4dogs help?

At our state of the art Canine Rehabilitation centre in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, we have everything your dog needs to be able to provide a IVDD rehabilitation programme, which may include, regular Hydrotherapy sessions, Cold Laser Therapy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture and Bio magnetic therapy.

Make sure your dog gets the treatment it needs to live a full and actice life and contact us today for help and advice if you think your dog may have signs and symptoms of IVDD.

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What Our Clients Say

Sarah jackson

I can not even put a price on the help the girls at fit4dogs have given us, helping floss with the weekly tread mill sessions but also helping me with weekly advice on nutrition, exercise and most importantly confidence.

We finished our course today and felt quite emotional as they really have given Floss her life back. She is like a different dog!

We will still be coming monthly so it’s not goodbye. Thank you

Chelsey Atkinson

Absolutely amazing team! The help and support throughout Roxie’s recovery has been brilliant! The passion for the dogs they see and treat is so clear to see!

Roxie loves her hydrotherapy sessions and I do not believe she would have recovered as well without you guys.

 She is a much happier and healthier dog and is able to enjoy life to the full thanks to the work of Fit4dogs!

Terri Thompson

We would definitely recommend Fit4dogsuk. We’ve recently started taking our Doberman Bear after he had surgery to repair his cruciate ligament and help his hip dysplasia. He’s hated water but with lots of encouragement and praise he’s overcome this and is getting much better. The team are really nice and friendly. You can see they are very passionate about their job. X

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