IVDD: Early Detection, Treatment, and After Care
The Life Cycle of IVDD
If you own a Dog, it is crucial to be aware of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). It is important to be aware of the lifecycle so you know what to expect, and how to manage it to hopefully avoid a very costly surgery.
Today we are going to walk you through the whole life cycle of IVDD including: Early Warning Signs, the Treatment Process, and Tips for After Care.
What is Intervertebral Disc Disease?
Intervertebral disc disease is a common condition characterized by the breakdown (degeneration) of one or more of the discs that separate the bones of the spine (vertebrae), causing pain in the back or neck and frequently in the legs and arms.
It is a genetic disease. All dogs are susceptible to IVDD, but some smaller breeds are more prone to the disease.
Early Warning Signs
If you suspect that your dog is experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms, seek veterinary advice as soon as you can:
#1. SENSITIVITY TO BEING TOUCHED
When you touch your dog he may cry out or yelp in response, and perhaps even act aggressively towards you. In some cases you may even notice your dog avoiding you to prevent you from picking him up or patting him.
#2. UNUSUALLY WITHDRAWN AND QUIET
When your dog is in pain, he may spend a lot of time sleeping or laying down in a place that’s not a part of his normal routine. You might also notice your dog hiding or sitting in an isolated corner.
#3. A HUNCHED BACK
A dog with disc issues tends to develop a hunch in his back – a hunch may be severe or it may also appear in a more subtle manner where it looks like one or two vertebra are protruding from the spine slightly. Your dog may also move around with a slower and shuffled walk and/or have a tense belly.
Being Aware of IVDD is the First Step.
Knowing some of the early signs of IVDD can hopefully help you catch the disease in its early stages and get the proper care so it doesn’t worsen.
Treatment may vary depending on the symptoms, and the intensity of said symptoms. This is why knowing the early signs and beginning to treat IVDD as early as possible is a HUGE factor in how much care your dog will need.
Oral anti-inflammatory medications and cage rest are typically recommended for dog with mild signs. The mild symptoms treated with medication and cage rest can start to subside in as little as 48 hours, however, that is not the case for everyone and you should always consult your vet.
On the other end of the spectrum, dogs that have more severe symptoms are candidates for surgery.
According to MedVet, “IVDD Surgery involves creating a small window in the bone around the spinal cord to gain access to the disk material. The material is removed, relieving the spinal cord compression and allowing healing to take place…
Surgery is effective at relieving pain, eliminating spinal cord compression, and maximizing chances for patient recovery.”
Note: Surgery for IVDD can cost up to $8,000
Life Post IVDD – After Care
The surgery is over, great! However, that doesn’t mean IVDD ends here. There is rehabilitation and after care to make sure your beloved dog recovers at the right pace, and most importantly, doesn’t have to go through ANOTHER surgery.
Recovery in general involves approximately four weeks of activity restriction, basically meaning no off-leash activity. I know that might seem hard, but it’s crucial. Depending on your dog’s neurological function, some additional care will be determined by your vet.
Some dogs will also require help walking and/or relieving themselves, while some other dogs might need various medications and intense physical rehabilitation. The specific requirements for your dogs’s aftercare will be explained by your vet, however, it’s nice to have some examples ahead of time of what you can expect.
#1 Recommendation to Prevent Worsening Symptoms
Avoid Allowing Your Dog to Jump On and Off Furniture. This can strain their spinal cord, which can lead to back injuries over time. A fall off the furniture from a jump can also trigger or worsen the symptoms of IVDD. Use a Ramp instead to provide easy access onto the sofa or bed.
We hope you learned something from this overview of the Life Cycle of IVDD. Looking for the early warning signs, and providing your dog with the right lifestyle and tools to live the safest and healthiest life is KEY.
If you have any comments about your own journey with IVDD, let us know in the comments below!