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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Peters

Understanding IVDD: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common condition in dogs that can cause severe pain and even paralysis due to spinal cord injuries. It is caused by the displacement or rupture of one or more discs located between the vertebrae in the spinal column. IVDD affects different breeds differently, but all are at risk of developing this condition as they age.

Depending on its severity, treatment options range from medication and canine rehab to surgery. With proper care, many dogs with IVDD can live happy and healthy lives despite their condition.

It is important for pet owners to be aware of any warning signs of IVDD so that they can seek treatment for their furry friends as soon as possible. By understanding and recognizing the signs of IVDD, pet owners can help ensure that their dogs receive the care they need to stay healthy.

What is IVDD and is My Dog at Risk?

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a degenerative condition that affects the intervertebral discs in dogs, which are located between the vertebrae of the spine. IVDD can cause significant pain and disability in affected dogs if not treated early and appropriately.

IVDD is an age-related disease that will cause the spinal cord of the dog to slowly lose the essential functions needed for quality of life. When a dog's discs are healthy, they are able to absorb shock, provide the dog with flexibility and allows the dog to enjoy the high-energy activities that keep them happy and healthy, such as running, jumping, and playing with their owners.

Certain breeds of dogs, such as Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, Beagles and Poodles are particularly at risk of suffering from IVDD due to their unique anatomy and spinal structure. Other small breed or toy breed dogs may also be predisposed to IVDD due to the inherent genetics associated with their breed.

French bulldogs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Corgis, Basset Hounds, Chihuahua, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Doberman pinschers are also breeds that we often see when it comes to IVDD.

Early intervention and treatment for IVDD is essential to prevent further damage or discomfort for the affected dog. It is recommended that your pet has regular-check-ups with a veterinarian to help catch the disease as soon as possible and start treatment if there are signs that point to IVDD to make sure that your dog lives a happy and healthy life.

What Are The Signs My Dog Could Have IVDD?

There are many symptoms of IVDD and if caught early it is easier to treat the issues that could follow with this disease. Depending on the types of IVDD that your dog is dealing with there are different symptoms that you can look to identify as signs that there is and issue.

These signs include urinary incontinence (the inability to control their bladder), limping, neck or back pain, shivering, stiff or hunched back, difficulty breathing and paralysis of limbs or loss of control over a limb.

As the problem worsens, the signs will get progressively worse, so the more aware you are of what could be causing the issues you are seeing, the better it will be in knowing that they need help.

Is IVDD Treatable?

It is tough watching your pets in pain. They are family, and unlike their human companions they are often unable to communicate that they are in pain or that something is wrong. That is why we go to great lengths to help our four-legged family members live a happy and healthy life, one that is pain-free.

So many ask, is this disease treatable and if so what can we do to help?

IVDD in dogs is a treatable condition. Rehabilitation can play an important role in helping the dog recover and treat this disease. Canine rehab helps to maintain or increase range of motion and strength while also reducing nerve sensitivity, pain and discomfort associated with IVDD.

Canine rehab exercises can include gait training with focus on postural control and perception awareness, stretching exercises for muscles that are tight or weak, massage techniques that help promote muscle relaxation, hot and cold rehabilitation methods which can help in treating the pain they feel, pulsed electromagnetic field rehabilitation, or electrical stimulation to decrease pain or improve muscle activation. All these treatment approaches can help reduce the risk of recurrent episodes and can help improve a dog’s quality of life.

Like humans, rehabilitation and staying active can help reduce, prevent, or eliminate the pain that a dog could be experiencing and with an individualized treatment plan, we can keep your puppy doing the things they love.

That is why suggest you give us a call as soon as you start to notice that there could be a problem. The earlier you are able to spot the issues and symptoms, the better it is for the dog and their treatment.

Does Your Dog Have IVDD and Are You Looking For Treatment Options?

If you have concerns that your dog may have IVDD or want a plan on the next steps to take in treating the disease, make sure that you reach out to us and we can book a time to come see you! That's right, we will do the driving for you and will come to your home so you do not have to fight the traffic!

Starting the process of finding treatment for your dog is simple and with our offer of a Free Phone Consultation, we can begin to discuss your concerns that you might have about IVDD and the treatment process. If you want to start that process, give us a call at (321) 319-4008.

No matter what kind of signs your dog is presenting, don’t waste any time getting in touch with your vet to explore the matter more thoroughly. And, if rehab is needed, be sure to reach out to Happy Paws Rehabilitation and Wellness right away to make your first appointment. We would be honored to serve you.

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