Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
Whether you have one Dachshund or a dozen, you should be aware and informed regarding Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). IVDD is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or herniate into the spinal cord space. The extruded disc material then presses on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and possibly even paralysis. IVDD can occur in any dog, but is much more common in Dachshunds and other chondrodystrophic breeds.
One of our sweeties, Li’l Girl (aka Muffin), was diagnosed with IVDD in January 2012 when she suffered a disc rupture in T13-L1 space. We were quickly referred to a surgeon in our area, and she ended up having surgery on a Sunday morning. We were meticulously careful in her recovery period, and followed all the rules set forth by the surgeon (and then some). I won’t tell the whole story of all the fear and anxiety we experienced regarding the herniation itself, her surgery, and her recovery; I will only say that we got through it and she was a little trooper through everything. Handled it much better than we did! We are SO very thankful that she had a wonderful recovery and runs around today like nothing ever happened.
We are very careful now to do everything we can to keep our home “back-safe” for our Doxies. No stairs, no jumping, restricted access to certain rooms, being very careful how we handle/hold them, etc. Dogs that have had one herniation are always at risk of recurrence… some dogs sadly seem to suffer a rupture every year or every couple years, no matter how careful their humans are to keep them safe. Unfortunately, in the case of IVDD, it doesn’t take a jump to cause a herniation – a herniation can occur at any time with just normal activity; but jumping can encourage a disc to blow, so to speak. It’s just better to play it safe.
So far, Li’l Girl hasn’t had any recurrence, and we feel blessed for that. But we remain vigilant. That’s really the summation of my advice for Dachshund lovers: get educated about IVDD, get vigilant, and stay vigilant! There is so much I could write regarding IVDD information and education, but I will leave it to the experts with the resources below.
What is IVDD?
- Information at Animal Med Center
- Information at PetMD
- Information at PetWave
- Information from Dr. Becker
Resources for Help, Support, and Education
DodgersList and the K9 Back Pack are both amazing resources. Each group is made up of a volunteer network of ladies that are very knowledgeable and experienced with IVDD, and can offer tremendous support when your Dachshund (or any breed!) has suffered a herniation. There are very few questions they can’t answer. I will say that one group came before the other; however, I will not recommend one over the other… they are both fantastic, and I have no problem referring people to both. You can get support by email, by forum, and by Facebook.
Search for a Specialist
- ACVIM Specialist Search – You don’t *need* a veterinary neurologist when dealing with IVDD, but it’s terrific to have one if there is one in/near your area
- ACVS Diplomate Search – To search for a board certified surgeon in your area
- CRI Therapist Search – To find a CRI certified physical therapist
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