What is IVDD in dogs?
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common spinal condition in dogs that occurs when the soft cushions between the vertebrae in a dog’s spine bulge or herniate, pressing on the spinal cord. This can cause pain, weakness, and even paralysis in dogs. IVDD is most commonly seen in small and medium-sized breeds, especially those with long backs like Dachshunds, Corgis, and Basset Hounds.
Symptoms of IVDD in dogs
The symptoms of IVDD in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common signs include a hunched back, reluctance to move or jump, crying out in pain, dragging of the limbs, and loss of bladder or bowel control. In severe cases, dogs may become paralyzed and require urgent veterinary care.
What causes IVDD in dogs?
IVDD in dogs is mainly caused by genetics and age-related degeneration. However, obesity, trauma, and improper exercise can also increase the risk of developing the condition. Dogs that are overweight or obese are more likely to develop IVDD due to the added pressure on their spine. Trauma, such as jumping from high surfaces or being hit by a car, can also cause the discs to bulge or herniate.
Is it safe to walk a dog with IVDD?
Walking your dog with IVDD can be safe, but it depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, short walks on flat surfaces can help to keep your dog active and prevent muscle atrophy. However, dogs with severe IVDD should avoid walking altogether and be confined to a crate or small area to prevent further damage to their spine.
Risks of walking a dog with IVDD
Walking a dog with severe IVDD can put them at risk of further injury to their spine. Dogs with IVDD should not be allowed to jump, run, or play as this can exacerbate the condition and cause more damage. It is important to take precautions and only allow your dog to walk on flat surfaces with a harness and leash.
How to determine if your dog is fit for a walk
Before taking your dog for a walk, it is important to assess their condition. If your dog is showing signs of pain or discomfort, they may not be fit for a walk. Additionally, if your dog has been diagnosed with severe IVDD, they should not be walked and should be confined to a crate or small area.
How to prevent IVDD in dogs
Preventing IVDD in dogs can be achieved through proper nutrition and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding high-impact exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing the condition. Additionally, providing your dog with a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can help to keep their spine healthy.
Exercises to strengthen your dog’s back
Exercises that help to strengthen your dog’s back can be beneficial in preventing and managing IVDD. Some exercises that can help include swimming, walking on a treadmill, and gentle stretching. However, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before starting any exercise program.
How to manage IVDD in dogs
Managing IVDD in dogs can be achieved through a combination of rest, medication, and physical therapy. Rest and confinement to a crate or small area can help to reduce the pressure on the spine and prevent further damage. Medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy, including massage and acupuncture, can also help to reduce pain and improve mobility.
When to seek veterinary help
If your dog is showing signs of IVDD, it is important to seek veterinary help immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of a successful recovery. Additionally, if your dog is experiencing severe pain or paralysis, they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
Surgery options for dogs with IVDD
In severe cases of IVDD, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged disc and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. There are several surgical options available, including traditional surgery and minimally invasive procedures. Your veterinarian can help to determine the best course of action for your dog.
Recovery process for dogs with IVDD
The recovery process for dogs with IVDD can be lengthy and require strict rest and physical therapy. Depending on the severity of the condition, recovery can take several weeks to several months. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely and provide your dog with a comfortable and safe environment for recovery. With proper care and management, many dogs with IVDD can make a full recovery and resume their normal activities.