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Intervertebral disc disease in your dog

What is Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)?  

Intervertebral disc disease, or IVDD in dogs, is a common clinical disorder where the soft, spongy gel inside the discs that connect the vertebrae squeezes out of the disc and can put pressure on the delicate spinal cord or nerve roots. Depending where this disc herniation is located along the spine, common symptoms are pain, stiffnes in the neck or back, a partial loss of limb function, a loss of feeling in the hind limbs, and sometimes even paralysis. 

What to look for? 

Dogs with IVDD in the neck often hold the head down when walking, have muscle spasms in the neck and will cry out in pain when moved. You can also look for the following symptoms: not wanting to eat, a tight or tense abdomen, crying or yelping when moving or being picked up, and a reluctance to be active (go up or down stairs, to jump or go for a walk). Other signs of disc herniation in the mid/lower back can be an arched back, shaking or tremors, weak (wobbly) legs or knuckling of the paws. In the more extreme cases, the dog will lose function and only be able to drag the hind limbs.   

It is estimated that 3.5% of dogs will suffer with intervertebral disc disease at some point in their lives. Typical medical treatment is medications or surgery with possibly some physical therapy. This regime is often expensive with less than great results.    

How we can help:

Just like in humans, chiropractors can help to restore structural and functional integrity of the spine, joints, muscle and nerves through manual adjustments and/or manipulation of joints and muscles. Studies show that canine chiropractic care may be an effective treatment to address biomechanical pathology that results from dysfunction of the spine. Chiropractic treatment can be a life-changing addition to your dog’s veterinary care. 

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