If your dog has recently been diagnosed with IVDD, you are likely at a point where you need to consider your options and determine what is going to be the best course of action moving forward with your pet. Of course, you want nothing but the best for your dog’s future health, but it can be tricky to know what that looks like and what treatment path makes the most sense.
The best thing you can do in this case is to listen to the experts and make an informed decision.
While surgery is an option for IVDD, and sometimes it will be the right choice, that is not always
the case. Sometimes, rehabilitative treatment is the way to go, offering the opportunity for a
healthy future without the invasive process of going through an operation. Please feel free to
reach out to Happy Paws today for a free phone consultation.
What is IVDD?
IVDD stands for intervertebral disc disease. This is a spinal disease that is relatively common in
dogs, and it can have a profoundly negative impact on the dog’s overall quality of life. It might
be easiest to understand IVDD by first understanding how your dog’s spine works when it is
healthy. In a healthy dog, the discs between vertebrae serve as shock absorbers that lessen the
discomfort of movement and impacts, and make it possible for the dog to move in a natural
With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how a disease in this area could cause problems.
When IVDD is present, the discs don’t function properly, and you might start to notice
behavioral changes in the dog. Hesitancy when moving around or getting up from resting is one possible sign of IVDD, as is no longer being interested in running. A rounding of the back may also occur. When any kind of significant change in your dog’s physical patterns occurs, it’s worth considering IVDD as one potential cause. We’ll talk more about symptoms in the next section.
What Causes IVDD and What are the Symptoms?
As a pet owner, you’ll likely be interested in what causes IVDD, both so you can understand
how it has developed and so you can take steps to avoid dealing with this problem in the
future. Unfortunately, one of the primary causes of this disease is not something you can do
anything about – age. As a dog ages, the wear and tear of daily life can gradually degenerate
the discs and lead to problems. While it is possible for a sudden event like a strong force to
cause hardening of the discs, it’s most commonly something that develops gradually over time.
The symptoms of IVDD can range from subtle to quite obvious. On the subtle end of the
spectrum, your pet might start to drag one of his or her feet while walking. As the condition
worsens, that could turn into an inability to use a limb or limbs at all. This is due to the pressure that is being exerted on the spinal cord by the diseased discs. Also, significant pain in the back is a likely sign that there is an IVDD issue going on, so pay close attention if your dog is exhibiting any indications of pain, such as arching of the back, in that area of the body.
Types of Intervertebral Disc Disease
There are three common types of IVDD that can impact dogs. Determining what type of IVDD
your dog is dealing with is a job for a professional, and an accurate diagnosis will make it easier
to determine the appropriate treatment options. You don’t need to be an expert in this area to
provide your dog with the right care, since you are going to be working with professionals who
will be able to lend their insight and opinion. However, in the interest of education and general
understanding, we’ll highlight the three types below.
Type 1. A painful form of IVDD, this type of the disease may leave your dog unable to walk, or in extreme pain that requires emergency attention. This is a rupture in the middle of the disc, and it can occur at any point along the spine, although the middle region is most common. Also, it tends to happen more in small dogs, but that is not an exclusive rule.
Type 2. Less dramatic than Type 1, this is a type of IVDD that is likely to come on over time as your dog ages. Dogs that are at least a few years old are most likely to deal with this condition, and it’s more common in the bigger breeds as opposed to the smaller ones. While it comes on over a longer period of time than Type 1, it can still be debilitating.
Type 3. The last possibility is one that will happen quickly when a tear occurs. Again here, pain is likely to be significant, and it is even possible for this type of IVDD to be fatal. Provide your dog with care immediately if a traumatic event occurs to determine the best course of action.
How Can Happy Paws Help with IVDD Treatment?
Don’t make any decision on your dog’s health without first considering all of the options. If you’d like to reach out to Happy Paws Rehab today and speak directly with a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, we will be happy to go over our rehab process and explain how it might be able to help you achieve the health goals you have in mind for your pet. You don’t need to commit to anything by contacting us – we’d just be happy to share our experience and help you make an informed choice, whatever that may be.
As always, be sure to consult with your primary vet. In some cases, a consultation with a veterinarian board certified in neurology may be warranted.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by Happy Paws Rehab. We are passionate about the health of dogs throughout the Orlando area, and it would be our pleasure to work with you and your pet. Let’s get started today!