IVDD IN Dogs: Top questions from the Internet answered.
We Are Open and Able to Serve You Online!

Dog IVDD 101: Most asked questions on the Internet answered

Is your dog diagnosed with IVDD, but you have no idea what it is or what to do next? The next logical step is to get educated about the disease.

Hi, My name is Josh. I am a certified canine rehab therapist with more than a decade of experience helping dogs and other pets live happy healthy life.

Over the years I have handled many IVDD cases in dogs and can assure you that you are not alone. Does that make you feel any better? Well, IVDD is a common issue, and many dog owners share their concerns on public pet forums such as Reddit, and Feedspot, looking for answers. The sheer amount of dogs affected by IVDD every year is astounding.

So I have dug up the web to find the top questions about IVDD in dogs, which I feel all pet parents have. I have tried to answer each to the best of my knowledge and years of experience as a trusted animal physical therapist.

Consider this a comprehensive guide to understanding everything IVDD in Dogs is. If you or someone you know has a furry friend suffering from the condition, please share this with them. Let’s start.

Q. What is Dog IVDD?

IVDD, or Intervertebral Disc Disease, is a commonly found neurological disorder in dogs. This spinal condition stems from herniating an intervertebral disc inside a dog.

A dog’s bones and spine are surrounded and protected by a gelatinous substance that also serves as a cushion. The intervertebral disc can be found inside the gelatinous substance. When this disc herniates, it causes compression in the spinal cord. The results of dog IVDD can be lasting and severe.

Q. What causes IVDD in dogs?

The most common causes of dog IVDD include the hardening of the intervertebral discs to the point that they cannot absorb the shocks that come with everyday activities. Because of the hardening, the intervertebral discs fail to properly cushion and protect the vertebrae.

Usual activities like jumping on the sofa can trigger the condition of your canine friends.

Q. What are the symptoms of IVDD in dogs?

There are several signs of IVDD in dogs. If you notice any of the following in your dog, you should immediately get them checked. The symptoms include:

  • Pain in the neck or back region
  • Inability to walk
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Crying or yelping
  • Knuckling on paws
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Limping
  • Uncoordinated paw placement

Q. What are the early signs of IVDD in dogs?

The early signs of IVDD in dogs to look out for include:

  • Panting or shivering
  • Holding the neck low
  • Inability to fully lift the head
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Neck or back pain
  • Limping on one or both front limbs

Q. How to diagnose IVDD in dogs?

The most common IVDD diagnosis involves standard x-rays, MRI, and a neurological exam. With the help of these diagnosis practices, the disc or discs causing the symptoms can be located.

Q. Can dogs recover from IVDD?

Yes, dogs can recover from IVDD. This condition is curable, and there are many ways besides surgery. However, it requires patience and guidance from a physical therapy expert.

Q. Can IVDD in dogs be prevented?

There are no real ways to prevent IVDD in dogs. There are, however, a few preventative measures that can reduce the stress on the spine. If you have a high-risk breed, maintain a healthy weight that ensures less load on the back, neck, and joints. Also, working with a canine rehab therapist at the first signs of IVDD can stop the progression.

Q. Can IVDD kill a dog?

If the condition of IVDD worsens to the extent that it completely softens the spinal cord, yes, it can kill a dog. When the spinal cord of a dog softens and dies, it also affects the nerves through which dogs breathe. Severe cases of IVDD can be fatal, however, this is not common.

Q. Can a dog with IVDD play?

Yes, dogs with IVDD can play. In fact, many fun activities are approved by experts that help make playtime more fun and cheerful for you and your canine friend. However, it is important to ensure that your dog is past the crate rest period before you engage in these fun activities.

Q. How to help a dog with IVDD?

Dogs with IVDD need help while getting up. You may need to lift them out of their crate gently. While doing so, ensure to provide proper and even support to their chest and their hind end. In addition, it is also important to keep their spine aligned while lifting them. Be gentle while putting them back on the ground. First, place their feet on the ground gently and then the body. The Help ‘Em Up Harness is a great tool for this

Q. What are the different IVDD dog stages?

There are 5 IVDD dog stages. These are characterized by the signs, symptoms, and severity of the condition. The 5 stages include:

  • Stage 1: Mild pain and usual self-correction in a few days
  • Stage 2: Moderate to extreme pain in the low back or neck area
  • Stage 3: Partial paralysis causing difficulty walking and uncoordinated movements
  • Stage 4: Paralysis but the ability to feel not lost
  • Stage 5: Paralysis with total loss of all feeling

Q. What are the signs of IVDD in puppies?

There are several signs and symptoms of IVDD in puppies. A few of them are mentioned below:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Unable to fully lift the head
  • Holding the neck low
  • Weak and uncoordinated movement within four limbs or hind limbs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Q. IVDD dogs treatment?

While most people believe IVDD surgery is the best option, the opposite might be true. Surgery can often be avoided. Personally, from my experience, dogs that have IVDD surgery take longer to recover and it is a much more difficult process. Instead, you can see a physical therapy expert and give your dog the normal and happy life they deserve with less invasive treatment practices.

Q. IVDD dogs treatment?

While most people believe IVDD surgery is the best option, the opposite might be true. Surgery can often be avoided. Personally, from my experience, dogs that have IVDD surgery take longer to recover and it is a much more difficult process. Instead, you can see a physical therapy expert and give your dog the normal and happy life they deserve with less invasive treatment practices.

Q. What is the average IVDD dog life expectancy?

IVDD dog life expectancy depends on the stage of the disease which your dog is at. The severity and symptoms decide the average dog’s life expectancy. The average dog life expectancy at stage 1 might be the highest as the symptoms are not severe, while at stage 5, the symptoms could be at the severity peak. Most dogs, with proper care, can go on to live a normal life.

Q. What can I do for my dog with IVDD?

 If you notice any unusual activity or changes in the behavior or movements of your dog, it is best to consult a Vet and animal physical therapist. In addition, you should handle your dog gently if they have IVDD. Make you support the spine when lifting them and don’t allow the body to just hang against gravity. There are several assistive tools that can help. Booties can help protect your dog’s feet from dragging and getting sores, as well as give them more traction on slick surfaces. I prefer the brand “Ruffwear” booties. The Help ‘Em Up Harness is another great tool to assist in lifting and handling your dog, depending on the severity and stage of IVDD. You may also need to make sure your dog has proper bowel and bladder function. You can work with your Vet and/or local Canine Rehab Therapist to learn how to express the bladder, as well as other techniques.

Q. How do I help IVDD dogs recover after surgery?

Recovery after IVDD surgery can take months. Personally, I have seen some dogs after IVDD surgery walk in 2 months, while others can take p to 6 months. It really depends on the severity of injury and the dog. Personally, I don’t recommend a wheelchair until at least 6 months. This allows the dog time to heal and use the legs. If given the wheelchair too soon they may become dependent on it and not walk. During this time, you should ensure there is restricted activity or as suggested by the experts. As an owner, you need to be extra-cautious, careful, and gentle towards your pet. It is crucial to follow their medication regime as prescribed by the experts strictly.

Q. Can IVDD in dogs be treated without surgery?

Yes, IVDD in dogs can be treated and cured without surgery. Dog physical therapy is the answer. This kind of therapy employs human physical therapy techniques to enhance the function and movement of joints and muscles, heal the inflammation of the nerve, and get your dog walking again. Such practices help reduce pain and speed up recovery from several types of diseases.

Q. Which dog breeds are more susceptible to IVDD?

IVDD in dog breeds is a common disease. However, the high-risk breeds include beagles, dachshunds, Shih Tzus, basset hounds, American cocker spaniels, Frenchies, and Pekingese.

Final thought…

Hope you found what you came here looking for. If not, don’t worry. Feel free to contact me here. Besides online consultation, you can book a visit if you live in Salt Lake, Utah.