Friday, July 11, 2008

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) in Dachshunds

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
*Poor appetite
*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.

25 comments:

Worried sick.. said...

My dachshund, chuck, just had emergency IVDD surgery, the vet told us that would be the best outcome for full recovery, he went in with pain, and dragging his leg, now one day after surgery he has no movement at all in lower legs is this normal????

Three Dogs Long said...

Yes, worried sick - this is normal. Your little guy has just undergone major surgery - he needs weeks and weeks of complete "crate" rest to heal properly. That means he is only out of his crate to be taken outside to do his business, then carried immediately back in. No walking, jumping, climbging - no activity at all.
I'm sure your vet will go over this all with you.

But you can imagine - if you just went through major surgery - you certainly wouldn't be up and moving the next day.

Pls. join www.dodgerslist.com as well for some wonderful tips on caring for your dachshund. The aftercare is equally important for your dog to recover fullyl.

It may take a while for movement to return to his lower legs - the vet has removed the debris from the rupture disc - but it takes time for the swelling of the spinal column to go down.

Ask about physical therapy (weeks after surgery).

Anonymous said...

My year old dachshund has presented with some bizarre symptoms, which include backing up and crying/yelping, shaking, rolling over and licking his belly. He was in obvious pain, but was not sensitive to touch along his spine or belly. He has had 3 episode which all resolve within a day, normal BMs and urination, and UTI/kidney and bladder stones were ruled out with urine analysis. Does anyone know if symptoms of IVDD can come and go in the beginning stages of the disease?

Three Dogs Long said...

Has your vet done an xray of the spine to determine if there is a protruded (or buldged) disc that is pressing on the spine. A ruptured disc will not be visible by an x-ray (a myelogram is needed for that) - but an xray will show if a disc(s) is pressing on the spinal column.
And yes - episodes of IVDD are quite common - with no rupture.

It is extrememly important that you restrict your dachshund's activities - complete rest - during an IVDD flareup. Your vet can prescribe Metacam or any other pain medication for relief, but you must keep your dachshund quiet - no running, jumping, or doing stairs.

IVDD flareups are common and need to be treated seriously and quickly.

(((hugs)) Oskar, Schatzi & Xena

heidibd said...

My Nathan had disk surgery on 3/27/11. I just completed documenting his recovery, which is still in progress. Hopefully, someone will read this and it will give them hope for their dog's recovery...

http://nathans-ivdd-journey.blogspot.com/

BestFriendBear said...

My dog Bear had a hemilaminectomy on July 24, 2011. Last night he started showing disc disease symptoms again, and an emergency vet visit confirmed. We are still paying off thousands from his surgery, and could not afford to hospitalize him with steroid treatment. We chose to do strict crate rest and medicine. Im really worried that I will loose my best friend if another surgery is needed, because I have no money left. Im thinking about a cart for his rear legs if he makes it through this. However, the cost is bringing me to tears. We already have $2k in Care Credit which has been maxed out. Does anybody have advice or suggestions? Thank you all!

Three Dogs Long said...

I fully understand the expenses incurred with surgery for ivdd. I'm not sure what advise you are seeking? Aftercare? Financial? A cart is only required if a dog is paralyzed and has no use of his back legs...and should only be used on the advise of your veterinarian.
I think you need to discuss your options fully with your vet & decide what is best for you and little Bear.

Please keep me posted on him & we are keeping our paws crossed he makes a fully recovery.


(((hugs)) your friends
Oskar, Schatzi & Xena

Anonymous said...

hi my dashund is maybe suffering from ivdd and she started rolling because her back legs are not working and due to this she got urination and faceal problem ..we have to press her lower back to make her urine out ..my vet has suggested to give her steroids and to keep her only on liquid diet and he had told that this all problems is due to obesity ...please help me i luv my dashund give me any suggestion how to recover her

Three Dogs Long said...

Anonymous:

I don't know where you are located, but you need to get a second opinion. If you dachshund is unable to walk, is wobbly, or unstable....you need to seek another vet asap...one who understands dachshund back problems. Liquid diet???? Sorry...that is plain stupid. If your doxie is overweight, feed a good quality low calorie kibble (a weight control kibble). I know of no liquid diet for dogs!!!
If you dachshund is having an IVDD flare up...rest, rest and more rest is imperative. No running, walking, jumping....carry out to bathroom breaks and carry back in. A warm magic bag and pain medication from a vet will help (Metacam is one my vet prescribes). If a disc(s) ruptures in your dogs back...you need to seek vet care immediately...otherwise you risk the chance your dog will not recover and possibly be paralyzed. www.dodgerlist.com is a wondeful group to join on line and get information,vet reference in your area (if you are in the US) and guidance.

Anonymous said...

My dog has IVDD. She is a 4 year old Dachshund. I cannot afford the surgery. I really do not want to put my dog down. Are there any funds or organizations to help with the cost? I am at a loss at what to do. I love my dog and she is part of my family.

Three Dogs Long said...

Anonymous...I am so sorry to hear this..you don't say where you are located, so I am uncertain if there are any organizations or groups that can assist with funding.

Is surgery the only option for your dachshund? Have the preliminary tests been performed? Pls. repost and give a few more details.

Anonymous said...

I also have a dachshund with ivdd as diagnosed yesterday. He cannot walk, shakes all the time, and will not eat much at all. I am desperate to do something for him but am not sure what the best course of action is for him. They sent us home from the emergency clinic with meds and the number of an animal hospital in Akron, OH that can possibly diagnose and do surgery. i am concerned about having him go through all of this and his not recovering. Is there a high probability of recovery after surgery?

Three Dogs Long said...

Anonymous....you need to get your dachshund into surgery ASAP....the longer you wait....the probability your dog will not recover!!

You dog will not recover without surgery....both my dogs recovered 100%......pls. get your dog into surgery immediately.

(((hugs)) Schatzi & Oskar

lorraine jones said...

Hi my dacshund Sally has IVDD, she had surgery on Tuesday and she is still paralysed. Will she make a recovery and get the feeling back in her legs. She was left for about about 24 hrs before they operated as it happened late at night. Approx how long is it before you see any improvement, I am devastated I love her so much thanks lorraine

lorraine jones said...

I have two 4 yr old daschunds. One of them Sally developed IVDD on Mon am I was told to give her the pain killers I was prescribed and bed rest. By the eve at 8pm she was dragging her legs so we took her to the emergency vet. They gave her pain relief all night and admitted her to a special clinic on tuesday, they operated that afternoon. She is still paralsyed and cannot go to the toilet on her own. Do you think she will recover I cannot think about putting her to sleep I love her so much. Some advice and support is very much needed I am devastated thankyou lorraine

NG said...

Hi!!
Sparky our Dachshund is 5 years old and unfortunatley we didn't understand the tell tale signs of ivdd. He is a mad hatter for tennis ball and fetches them with such speed like his life depended on it. On 17th May 2012 whilst running in the park his disk ruptured and we rushed him to the vet where we got the xray done. The doc said he has had a disc prolapse. We are in india and unfortunately we do not have any surgeons in this country leave alone neuro surgeons. He is put on depomedrol a cortisone since 3 days and has shown a little improvemet. There is no sensation in his hind legs and his urination is irratic. The first day I had to catheterize him. But luckily from the next day onwards he started to urinate sporadically when he was picked up. He does know he wants to pee as he tries to get out of his bed. But, as soon as we pick him up he urinates. We have him in diapers now. We don't know what arehis chances as the doctor has asked us to take it one day at a time. We don't know what to do. We are feeling so helpless. We have even taken help from an energy healer. Sparky is our baby and we need all the positive energy we can gather to get him better. We believe it is possible with faith. Not living in a fools paradise but just hoping against hope.
Sorry for all the ranting .
We love your blog and the name three dogs long. God bless you and your doxies.
Appreciate your reply.
Thanks
Nehal

Darcy said...

My doxie Jager was just diagnosed with IVDD. she is 5. The vet has put her on steroids (prednisone) and crate rest for 3 weeks. I think it is helping. She wasn't able to move at all on Friday and now she can move her head, wag her tail, and tries to scoot around a little. The vet told us she isn't allowed to walk around except in her crate, any other time she is to be carried. We are taking it one day at a time and every little movement she makes is a HUGE blessing. From what I have read, we are incredibly lucky that the vet recognized IVDD for what it was right off the bat since they are general vets. We even saw two different ones on different days and they both said the same thing.

Sarah M Jacobson said...

My standard dachshund Buddha was recently diagnosed with IVDD. He is 5 years old and the love of my life. I am a divorced mother of 3 and live in Minnesota, unfortunately I have other financial responsibilities that take precedence based on need. Are there any known organizations that may be able to help me?? He is currently on crate rest, steroids and pain meds. I would greatly appreciate any help.

Sarah G

Cassi Yates said...

Marty was diagnosed with IVDD last October. He is like a child to us, so we didn't give it a second thought to spending the money on surgery. The whole time he was recovering we would cry wondering if this was the best thing to do. About November, we were all sitting around and his tail started to wag! Tears of joy streamed from our eyes. I am proud to announce a year later, he is running around acting as normal. He still has stiff legs when he walks and has a hard time balancing, but seeing him beg on his haunches and running around the back yard made everything worth it! If you can afford it, it will be worth it!

Shelly Clark said...

I'm so scared my Mini Dachsund I had to take to the emergency vet hospital last night it came on very quick. He was diagnosed with IVDD in disc's 11, 12 & 13, the Vet last night told me that she felt very confident that medication would work with lots of rest. However the Vet this morning when I called said that he had only had one dose of the predisone an that she would not expect a change with only having on dose in him an to call back later in the day when she had done a neuro exam on him. So I did she informed me that he is defecating an urinating fine, he does have deep pain in his legs which she said was good, but she did say that when she bent the toes inward there was no response, she also informed me at this time that she was not hopeful that the medication would work... So with that I'm a little confused how does she go to I don't expect much change with only one dose in him to not hopeful? He is not due to get his next dose till 8pm tonight. He is not overweight. Help.
Shelly

lexi ridley said...

hi my dog brownie was diagnosed with ivdd vet gave him meds and hes eating and drinking but not using the bathroom should i wait or be concerned is their anything
i can do

Elaine Hurford said...

Surgery is not the only route! Our 12 year old Dachshund had IVDD but we had a really sensible vet who encouraged us through months of crate rest. We could not have afforded the surgery anyway. If you are confining your dog to crate rest, give him/her a low-calorie diet, and plenty of big bones and toys to keep him occupied. We took Frank out 5-6 times a day with a pelvic sling to support his back and hind legs. He recovered fully after almost four months and now runs around like any normal dog. He is almost 16! And he had a bad case - he had absolutely no movement in his hindquarters and was totally incontinent. Now that is all over and he's a vry happy little boy again.

Charlotte said...

You are correct…surgery is required when a disc has ruptured….which is why it is imperative to seek veterinary assistance immediately.
If you catch up on our blog, you will see we also have a 13 yr old guy who has IVDD…four discs are protruded & pushing on the spinal cord. But there has not been a rupture.
Crate rest & pain medication is the prescribed treatment for an IVDD flare up.
However….there is still a possibility if your dog has protruding discs….one or all may rupture. That is when surgery is needed.

Having been involved in dachshund rescue for a number of years…I caution potential adopters…if money is an issue…then perhaps this is not the breed for you ….as statistics show 1 in 4 dachshunds may have a back issue.

I call it the "ticking time bomb"…you pray it doesn't happen…but there is always a chance…especially if x-rays & CT scans show bulging disc (s). We take one day at a time.

Judy Brown said...

my 5yr old dashhound was showing signs of ivdd three weeks ago and yelling in pain. we didnt know about ivdd.but we did take her to the vet we thought she might have a blockage because she wasn't pooping.the vet did an xray and said she was fine she never gave us info on ivdd.we gave her a laxative and she did poop so we thought she would be fine.she was herself for about a week and started acting out again the second day she fell off the bed and imediatly she started to wobble we took her straight to the vet she couldn't move her legs or tail.they gave her a cortazone shot and pain,muscle relaxers they keep her over night and sent her home with meds for crate rest.they said her disk was only partcailly depressed and that was a good sign.at first she couldn't move her legs or tail.if i poked her with a pin she would move a little but now there is no reaction she has a vet app fri do you think she can also recover with out sugery.my 13yr old is so hurt

Charlotte said...

Judy Brown:

Your dachshund definitely sounds like IVDD.....an X-ray will not show if a disc has ruptured....only that it is swollen & pushing on the spine. It is imperative you not allow your dachshund to walk or jump.....your vet does not sound knowledgeable about IVDD in dachshunds. If your dog is trembling, wobbling g& shaking....he is i pain...your vet needs to prescribe pain medication....not poop medication! And please please...put your dog on crate rest.....rest, rest and more rest. Its the only way for the swelling to go down....at least 12 crate rest. And only out to eat, and go to the bathroom. And carry to and from potty breaks.

If your dachshund loses use of his back legs....rush him immediately to a vet who knows about back issues in dachshunds. If a disc has ruptured.....surgery might be crucial to your dog ever walking again.

Also....educate yourself on IVDD.....google it....join www.dodgerslist.com .......it's a page on back issues and a wonderful group of knowledgeable people to help!