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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maya Pande

What is IVDD?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Disc issues in dogs

IVDD. InterVertebral Disc Disease. Well, that clears things up, doesn't it? IVDD is basically a condition that affects the pads or discs between spinal bones of animals. (This happens in humans too. In us it's sometimes called Degenerative Disc Disease or DDD.)

It can happen anywhere throughout the spine but is most common in the neck or the area between the mid and low back.

While in humans it's usually due to chronic overuse of a joint, (hence the use of the term degenerative), in animals it can be both chronic or sudden.

Chronic cases tend to start after the age of 5 but the sudden ones can happen in younger dogs, as early as 12 months old! And contrary to what you might think, it's the smaller dogs like dachshunds, beagles, shih tzus, lhasa apsos and pekingese (and YES, that is the plural of pekingese!) that are more susceptible. Because their legs are smaller, big jumps off couches and beds can cause injuries. These injuries can cause an acute (or sudden) case of IVDD. For this reason, dog stairs are really helpful to prevent this. It's good to teach your small pup how to use these from an early age.

IVDD can have symptoms including:

  • Dragging legs or limping

  • Difficulty walking

  • Tail won't wag or hangs down

  • Can't poop or pee

Animal chiropractic may be able to help with symptoms like these. An examination, which includes tests that check reflexes, muscles strength and pain level can usually indicate if chiropractic can help or if your pet should go to the veterinarian. In general, 80% of cases who present like this are helped by chiropractic in about 4 to 8 visits. After the initial crisis is resolved, it's a good idea to have your pet adjusted once every 3-4 months to keep his spine strong.

Here's a before and after video of a patient of mine. He's a Jack Russell who came in to the office for help. His owners came home to him dragging his hind legs. They think he fell off some furniture but they weren't sure. In the first video, you can see the poor guy is trying really hard to walk but just can't get his back end to cooperate.

The second video is after getting adjusted! You can see that he's definitely walking better but is still favouring one of his hind limbs. A few more adjustments and he was back to his normal self!

Chronic IVDD usually happens in older cats and dogs and is due to wear and tear on the spine and/or joints. Once a pet with this condition is stable, regular adjustments about once a month allow them to continue to feel good.

If you're unsure if chiropractic can help your dog or cat, email or call so we can discuss it.

Daschund Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels


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