Pet Health

How to Care for Dogs With Intervertebral Disc Disease

IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a genetic condition in which the discs between the vertebrae harden and become fragile. They can no longer cushion the vertebrae and instead flatten or bulge and can break as well as launch their solidified components into the spine area. It puts pressure on the spinal cord, creating discomfort, loss of some functions, including bowel and bladder control, or even paralysis.

Different Types of Treatment for IVDD

Treatment varies depending on the nature of the conditions. Oral anti-inflammatory medications and cage rest are recommended for dogs with mild issues and often improve within 48 hours. Dogs with cervical IVDD with minimal functional disability are considered surgical candidates. Myelography and surgery are recommended for pet dogs who have not responded to medicine and have more serious or worsening symptoms.

Surgical procedure is effective at alleviating pain, eliminating spinal cord compression, and increasing the chance of patient recovery. A dog neurologist in Lexington will collaborate with your veterinarian to identify the most appropriate care for your pet if they have disk complications.


Some dogs may benefit from anti-inflammatory medication in less difficult situations to reduce swelling in the spinal cord, relieve pain, and enable the spinal cord to begin healing. This treatment is typically accompanied by meticulous crate rest and no activity for approximately six weeks. Numerous canines will respond well to non-surgical treatment and will be able to resume regular activities. Still, harnesses for walking may be recommended, as well as steps or ramps to lessen jumping on and off furniture and beds. You can consult a veterinarian if you need more info on the best IVDD medications for dogs


Surgery is typically required for dogs with more severe cases of Intervertebral Disc Disease where rest and medicines are insufficient to relieve pain. During surgery, your Lexington vet surgeon will remove the hardened disc material that is pressing on your dog’s spine, leading to the IVDD symptoms. Surgery outcomes are best in dogs who have not lost their ability to walk.

If your dog’s operation does not bring back normal mobility, a dog wheelchair can help your puppy live a happy and active life while suffering from this disease. IVDD surgery recuperation takes 6 to 8 weeks of restricted activity. Running, climbing stairs, or playing with other pets should be prevented to reduce damage while your dog’s spine recovers.

Physical Therapy

Following surgical treatment, your vet may also recommend physical therapy for your dog to help with muscle strengthening and getting your pet moving comfortably again. A few physical therapy activities can help with IVDD. You might be able to perform these exercises with your pet in your home, but keep an eye out for signs of pain.

Verify with your vet the exercises your pet can perform. Work with a veterinary physical therapist or rehab institution. The ability of your dog to carry out these tasks depends on the degree of its health problem.

Final Thoughts

As a pet owner with a dog diagnosed with minor or severe IVDD, you are probably facing some difficult decisions for your beloved pet. Your veterinarian will assess the various treatment alternatives and the expected results. Whether you choose surgery or non-surgical, caring for a dog with IVDD is essential to help speed recovery and improve the overall outcome of treatment.

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