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 - under Atlantic is a great place to start. As is the Canadian Kennel Club website.

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.

-Join Dodgerlist - - 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 my dachshunds & this disease has taught me to be on my guard and watchful..jumping on/off furniture & stairs can cause wear and tear on the back...we use ramps in & outdoors.


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 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...

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 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...


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 need to seek another vet 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, 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 need to seek vet care immediately...otherwise you risk the chance your dog will not recover and possibly be paralyzed. 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 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... 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...

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.

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.

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 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 13yr old is so hurt

Charlotte said...

Judy Brown:

Your dachshund definitely sounds like 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 and more rest. Its the only way for the swelling to go 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 might be crucial to your dog ever walking again.

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

Nathan Hartwig said...

My doxie has IVDD and had two bad episodes 9 months apart. I eneded up taking him down to Dallas to get LDA (laser disc albation) seems like a no brainer, if it will prevent back surgery, they are said to have a 97% success rate. ping me, if anyone has questions about the process / cost/ recovery (

Ashley Haire said...

Please help! My mini was diagnosed last Friday with a bulged disc. The vet prescribed prednisone and 4 weeks of crate/pen rest. He did well last week, wanted to be more active but we wouldn't allow it. Day 9 he fell today when trying to relieve himself. Now he won't stand but will flip over. If I stand him up he won't fix his knuckles right hind leg. Has anyone gone through this process? He seems much worse and the vet is out of town for two weeks, Christmas break! His stomach is hard as a rock and he is clearly in pain, although he isn't yelping. I know this is a process and I am respectful of the healing process. Please, is this normal and to be expected in week 2? I'm sorry is this is a duplicated post. I've tried to post two other times and i don't know if it is my computer or what but I don't see my post. Thank you to anyone with any experience and pearls of hope and wisdom!

Oskar and Liesel said...

Ahsley Haire: I am not a veterinarian...I am merely a blogger whose has had three doxies undergo back issue.

If your vet is away....then you need to take your dachshund to an emergency vet ASAP....I cannot stress this strong enough! Your dog is in distress....and needs help!'s Christmas...but most vert services have an emergency number of clinic covering for them!

Take your doxie to a vet....and go on someone there in your area can help. I am located on the east coast of Canada....and have not info on veterinary services in the US or otherwise.

Ashley Haire said...

Thank you Oskar and Liesel. We took our little boy in and it seems he is okay. We've have tightened the ship on steps outside for potty time but he is doing better. Because the swelling is going down, he is feeling the pain and getting movement back. Very scary and heartbreaking but he is healing. Couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Thank you again!

pminchew said...

I hope this helps those who can't afford surgery. Age age 4, my Maxie-boy needed surgery but we weren't able to pay the amount required. He was in such pain we considered euthanizing him, but I couldn't do it. Over time, the pain diminished and we bought him a cart which he doesn't like to use in the house because it gets caught on the furniture, so it's only for outside use now. I noticed one day that he seemed to try to stand. As time went on, he became able to stand and now walks, although he's pretty wobbly. However, he has practically no control of bodily functions, so diapers and clean-ups are a part of daily life. He is now over 8 years old, just had a stellar check-up at our vet's, and is a happy little dog. I'm glad we didn't euthanize him.

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ricek said...

My poor kitty was just diagnosed with this! He just had surgery today and they removed his disc. I hope he regains the ability to go to the bathroom. Im so scared for him...

Vicki Cowen said...

My six year old dachshund has had four surgeries between March 2014 and February 2015. Each time with the exception of the last surgery she has been able to walk again. Six weeks on from the fourth surgery she is unable to walk unaided but hopefully with the help of daily physiotherapy and regular hydrotherapy she will walk again. Despite everything she has gone through she is a really happy little dog and shuffles round the house on her bottom. If there is no improvement in a month or two then I will definitely be getting her a set of wheels.

555best said...

My 12 years dachshund lost control of his legs last Saturday. very fit, trim, was chasing his sticks and the ball on Thursday, whimpered a little bit on Friday, run and hid in the bathroom Saturday morning and lost control of his legs few minutes later.
He has heart murmur and high blood pressure, so the surgery was ruled out, the cost of it and the risks the factors.
The tests also discovered inflammation of pancreas. He had a healthy diet of vegetables and good quality dry food.
Loved jumping. Unfortunately, the drugs don't work, and while being monitoring by the vet every day , he is deteriorating fast, and getting more immobile every day. Had 3 laser treatments already, 7 coming, but probably will not last to have it. While not in pain, fed by spoon, having his bladder emptied and and still defecating, he stopped his attempts to sit and change position, this morning he can not move at all. Probably will have to make final decision on Monday. My heart is breaking.

Texas Sailgirl said...

I just put down my 12.5 yr old dachshund because he wouldn't eat, neither of his back legs worked, he was completely incontinent and even refused his favorite treats. I'm in the middle of moving and now that I have read all these success stories I feel like I murdered him. I should have been more informed and I hate what I did. I'm so sorry Ta'do ( his name), may God forgive me. I will never own another pet.

Daisy mae said...

To those with a dachshund family member. My wife and I have 4 dachshund kids, it is so very important to NOT show your love to them with treats and snacks. Even with good nutrition 2 of our babies have had IVDD. 1 AT 4 years old, and presently another at 8 years, they have no steps to climb and jumping is controlled but dachshunds will be dachshunds and they will always do dogs things which can result in spinal injury. WATCH YOUR DACHSHUND CLOSELY learn there routine and when you notice anything that remotely indicates a back problem place them in a crate, cage, carrier just big enuff for them to have limited movement, be sure to supply a comply blanket for them to rest on AND CALL YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY. Our 4 year is now 8 years old and no problems to date and fully functional, our 8 year old who is presentlying suffering with IVDD is in confinement, it breaks our heart to see her in pain, but with 3 to 6 weeks of confinement and anti inflammatory medication, she is more than likely going to have a very good recovery. So please if you notice anything in your Doxie that resembles a back problem err on the side of caution with crate rest and a good vet who knows dachshund issues most of the time your babies will come through it pretty well. I'm by know means a vet or any doctor at all but have taken the time to learn the do's and dont's of dachshunds. PS anti inflammatory meds are reasonably priced and crate rest is free. And so is all the companionship and love our 4 dachshunds give us.

Unknown said...

My dauschund Alex "Ally" has been showing signs of ivdd and also has a large mass/tumor type thing on his chest. I can't afford to take him to the vet and it kills me everytime he yelps in pain. I don't want to put my baby down but I don't think I have a choice since we can't afford to take him to the vet and can't afford surgery either. I hate seeing my babyboy in pain I've had him 9 years and he was at least 2 when I got him. Is there any advice you can give to help me make a decision on what is best for my poor baby??

Thank you in advance,

Desperate dauschund mommy

Liesel said...

This blog post was meant to educate people on the signs, symptoms & treatment of IVDD...and was originally posted in 2008. Please do not ask if we can help you with medical attention/care for your dachshund or making a decision about treatment...that is not our role as a blogger! That is your role as a dachshund owner. It is heart breaking to to read your dog is in pain...and you cannot afford treatment or surgery! And you have had your dog for 9 years and this is how you treat him?
I would crawl across hot coals to help my dachshund....beg..plead with my vet for a payment a yard sale to come up with the funds needed...sell a dam kidney if I had to!
But please...don't come here and expect miracle answers....cause there aren't any! Do the responsible thing by your dachshund...or contact a rescue group to see if they can take him & give him the proper care he requires!! But to leave him to suffer in inhumane.

Unknown said...

Just like Texas Sailorgirl I made the decision to put down my beloved baby who was in extreme pain. My doxie had IVDD in her 4th vertabrae in her neck. She wouldn't eat...not even treats...barely drank water. I had her on meds and steroids per the vet. She wouldn't want to move...she yelped...she'd back up in a corner and shake obviously in pain. The vet told me the surgery is invasive and that she wouldn't put her own dog thru that. Also that it's not guaranteed it may work. Now I read other people's recovery stories which angers me now because I could have avoided putting her down which was one of the hardest things I had to do. If I knew there was an even a small chance she could have recovered with proper care I would have done it. Sooo mad!! R.i.p. my baby Ebony