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What are the Causes and Symptoms of IVDD Disease? How to Prevent in the Dog

What are the Causes and Symptoms of IVDD Disease? How to Prevent in the Dog

IVDD in dogs is the most prevalent spinal disease in canines or felines. This debilitating disease affects small dog breeds even more. And this is due to their long spine and short stature.

Are you currently going through IVDD with your dog? Or do you want to discover how to prevent your dog from getting IVDD? Before taking your pet to any animal care hospital in Texas, here’s what you may need to know about IVDD causes and symptoms.

What is IVDD?

IVDD stands for ‘Intervertebral disc disease’. IVDD is a severe health condition where the cushioning disc set between the spinal column’s vertebrae bursts into the spinal cord space or bulges out. This phenomenon is often referred to as a slipped disc or herniated disc.

The discs end up putting pressure on the nerves that run through the spinal cord. And this can cause excruciating or searing pain, nerve damage, incoordination, and wobbling. Severe cases of IVDD in dogs can result in lower body paralysis.

IVDD Causes

IVDD is a degenerative disease, and so it can lie dormant for several years. It rears up its ugly head when a dog suffers an acute injury with mobility deficits.

When this happens, the spinal cord of the injured dog is no longer able to perform optimally. This is because of disc herniation, with up to 80 percent occurring within the spine’s middle (thoracic) region.

IVDD Symptoms

As a pet owner, it is essential to be sensitive to the typical behaviors of your pet. And due to the nature of IVDD, spotting the symptoms of the disease should not be too challenging.

A dog with IVDD may be highly reluctant to shake or move as expected. There will also be a significant decrease in vocal initiation, such as whining/barking and crying, though these could be signs of pain.

When your pet starts becoming sensitive to touch, walks with a hunched back, or has muscle spasms, your canine friend may be in trouble. Paw knuckling—i.e., dragging of the paws when walking—is also one of the IVDD symptoms you should watch out for.

As the disease progresses, other IVDD symptoms and involved signs include:

  • Inability to walk
  • Severe pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Loss of deep sensation
  • Wobbling when walking
  • Paralysis
  • Whimpering or crying

How to Diagnose IVDD in Dogs

A neurologist or vet will diagnose your pet via thorough physical examination as well as additional non-invasive testing. The following tests can determine IVDD:

  • MRI
  • Myelogram
  • Spinal Radiographs
  • CT

A neuro specialist will perform a full neurological examination with hands-on palpations.

Treatment of IVDD in Dogs

Surgery is the most effective method of treating IVDD in dogs. If your dog has IVDD or you suspect the presence of the disease, consider taking your pet to the animal care hospital in Texas.

How to Prevent IVDD in Dogs

You can help to prevent IVDD in dogs. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your pet’s weight remains within a healthy range
  • Reduce your pet’s running activities. Don’t allow your pet to run after squirrels or chase a ball at increased speeds.
  • Minimize stress on your pet’s neck by using a harness instead of a neck collar
  • Limit your canine friend’s jumping. Utilize ramps for bed, couch, and stair transfers
  • Don’t allow your pet to sit straight up on their bottom in the standard begging posture.
  • Do away with tug-of-war activities that may stress your pet’s neck and spine.


IVDD in dogs is one of the most debilitating diseases in the dog world. As a pet owner, you need to be very observant. This will enable you to spot any unusual changes in your dog’s gait, which may point to IVDD.

If some or all of the IVDD symptoms shared here are observed, take your canine friend to an animal care hospital in Texas.

Looking for more information about IVDD in dogs? Go here Safari Veterinary Care Center to learn more.

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