How To Tell If Your Dog Has IVDD: Common IVDD Symptoms

Ivdd symptoms in dogs

Intervertebral Disc Disease, commonly referred to as IVDD, is a degenerative disc disease that affects your dog’s spinal cord and can be the reason your dog is experiencing pain. There are many IVDD symptoms in dogs, but these symptoms can be relieved if treated early.

What is IVDD in Dogs? 

IVDD in dogs is a condition where the discs between your dog’s vertebrae, or bones of their spinal column begin to bulge into the space of their spinal cord. This is also referred to as a slipped or herniated disc. These discs press on your dog’s spinal nerves, causing your dog pain or sometimes paralysis.

There are a few particular dog breeds that are more likely to develop IVDD, like Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Shih Tzu dogs. Your dog can also develop IVDD because of their age, as it is common in older dogs.

Signs of IVDD in Dogs

IVDD can be present in any of your dog’s spinal discs, and your dog’s IVDD symptoms will vary depending on which part of their spine is affected and how severe the IVDD is. These symptoms can either slowly become known or they can quickly appear. 

If you notice any signs that your dog is experiencing IVDD, it is important to seek medical attention for your dog as soon as possible to prevent your dog’s spine from becoming more damaged. There are three different types of IVDD to be aware of when looking for symptoms in your dog.

Thoracolumbar IVDD - Symptoms of Back IVDD

If your dog has thoracolumbar IVDD, the disc in the area of their back becomes damaged and they will likely experience the following IVDD symptoms. 

  • Unable to walk normally
  • Dragging their hind legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hind Legs are weak
  • Cannot support own weight
  • Cannot feel back legs
  • Cannot move back legs
  • Crossing hind legs when trying to walk

Cervical IVDD - Symptoms of Neck IVDD

Cervical IVDD happens on your dog’s neck discs. The symptoms of cervical IVDD can affect your dog’s entire body and can be mild or severe. If you think your dog is experiencing IVDD symptoms of cervical IVDD, contact your vet right away. Symptoms of cervical IVDD include:

  • Arching their back
  • Crying
  • Shivering
  • Cannot normally walk
  • Cannot su[pport their weight.
  • Unable to feel all four legs
  • Cannot stand
  • Holding their head low
  • All four legs are unsteady
  • Reluctant to move
  • Knuckling all four of their paws

Lumbosacral IVDD - Symptoms of Lower Back IVDD

Lumbosacral IVDD is when your dog is experiencing pain or problems in the discs located in their back area. Symptoms of lumbosacral IVDD affect the very back area of your dog’s body and IVDD can be mild or severe. Be aware of the following dachshund IVDD symptoms, which can also be found in other breeds. If you feel they are experiencing lumbosacral IVDD and contact their vet immediately.

  • Their anus is dilated
  • Pain when jumping
  • Tail is limp
  • Incontinence

How to Diagnose IVDD?

IVDD can be diagnosed in your dogs in a few ways. Your dog’s vet will typically order a standard x-ray, an MRI, or a neurological exam. These will help locate the disc that is causing pain for your dog and will help validate their symptoms. 

Can You Prevent IVDD Symptoms? 

IVDD cannot be prevented, but there are steps you can take to help relieve dog pain symptoms. Treatment for IVDD needs to begin early on so your dog can experience the best possible outcome. If you do not treat IVDD early, your dog might have damage to their disc that is unable to be helped.

By giving your dog mild to moderate IVDD anti-inflammatory medications, your dog’s swelling and pain will likely be reduced as long as they have reduced activity for about four to six weeks. If your dog has severe IVDD, surgery is usually recommended when medication isn’t relieving their pain. 

During surgery for IVDD, your dog’s vet will remove the hardened disc material that is leaning on their spinal cord. Most IVDD surgeries are successful for dogs that have not lost their ability to walk. However, if the surgery did not completely help your dog to become mobile again, you can consider a wheelchair or a back brace for your dog to help them be able to enjoy life again.

After surgery, your dog’s vet will most likely recommend physical therapy to ensure that your dog’s muscles are becoming stronger and they can comfortably move around again. 

Final Thoughts

While IVDD is common in many dog breeds.it is still difficult to see your dog experience the painful IVDD symptoms. Wiggleless dog back braces can help support your dog’s back and help relieve their pain. Help your dog get relief today!