What is It?
IVDD is a debilitating and costly disease that affects dachshunds (and other breeds as well, such as (but not limited to) Corgis, Papillions, Basset Hounds and Miniature Pinschers.) IVDD is particularly prevalent in Dachshunds, an estimated 1 in 5 dogs will suffer from IVDD. The increased risk in specific breeds demonstrates a very strong genetic component, which is worsened when irresponsible breeders do little in correcting this defect. The chance of a healthier dachshund is better when purchased from a responsible breeder. While it is extremely important to research any breed you may be interested in obtaining, it is equally important to reseach the breeder. For a list of responsible breeders in the Maritimes www.canuckdogs.com - under Atlantic is a great place to start. As is the Canadian Kennel Club website. www.ckc.ca
But back to IVDD. The dog's spine is made up of several small bones, called vertebrae. They extend from the base of the skull to the end of the tail. The vertebrae are connected by flexible discs made of cartilage called "intervertebral disc", which cushions between each bone and allow the neck, spine & tail to bend. Running through the vertebrae is the spinal cord - which is made up of nerves.
Restricting jumping, stairs and your dachshund's weight are all important factors in preventing an injury.
What are the symptoms of IVDD?
*Quiet, lethargic, stiff or hunched back
*Sensitive when touching the neck or back area
*Shivering or shaking
*Crying when moving
*Dragging rear legs
*Uncontrollable bladder and bowel movements
What to Do if your Dachshund Shows Signs of IVDD
-If your dachshund displays any of the above symptoms - crate him/her immediately to keep him still and quiet while seeking veterinary help immediately. (Cannot stress this strong enough!!)
-The longer the disc disease goes on without treatment, the worse the problem will become and the less chances for a recovery!
-If the problem has been diagnosed as disc disease, sometimes only crate rest is advised by the veterinarian. Strictly confine your dachshund to a crate for a peiod of at least 6 weeks or how long your veterinarian prescribes. This will allow the scar tissue to heal over the herniated outer portion of the disc. The only movement allowed should be to go to the bathroom - food, water, treats should be given in the crate.
-If your veterinarian advises putting your dachshund to sleep - you can seek alternative methods such as acupuncture or holistic veterinarian. Never give up! Too many dogs have and are still being un-necessarily euthanized.
-If permanent or partial paralysis is resulted from IVDD - dachshunds have been known to live long and healthy lives using wheelcarts. Paul Coover in Maine has not one, but two "cart" dogs. You can check out his blog at http://www.myspace.com/paulcoover
-Join Dodgerlist - www.dodgerlist.com - a wonderful group devoted to helping those with dogs suffering from IVDD or want to learn more about the disease.
This is but a small over-view of IVDD. My personal experience with this disease (Xena's story forthcoming) has taught me to be on my guard and watchful of my dachshunds.