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All About IVDD in Dogs
All About IVDD in Dogs
Nov 17, 2022 | Conditions & Solutions

IVDD is age-related and gradually degenerative, meaning it affects your pup's spine over a long period of time without being detected. Even if your dog attends annual exams, your vet may not be able to detect IVDD until your dog's disc becomes ruptured and their painful symptoms become obvious. ANything could initiate the rupture, even something as simple and everyday as jumping up onto the sofa.

IVDD occurs when the shock-absorbing discs between your dog's vertebrae start to harden until they can't cushion your dog's spinal movements. They will go on to bulge and compress the spine and damage your pup's nerve impulses. A jump or hard landing at this stage can cause a disc to painfully burst, possibly damage your dog's nerves or causing paralysis.



The term IVDD refers to intravertebral disc disease. Before answering the title question, however, let’s first review basic vertebral anatomy. The vertebral column is made up of vertebrae connected in sequence along the length of the back. The vertebrae protect the enveloped spinal cord that transmits messages to and from the brain. Branches of nerves from the spinal cord deliver messages to and from the different parts of the body. Any damage from trauma or disease can disrupt the messaging leading to a diversity of dysfunction.

Each individual vertebra is separated from the next by shock-absorbing structures called intervertebral discs. The outer part of the disc (annulus fibrosus) encases the soft, gelatinous inner portion (nucleus pulposus). IVDD develops due to a protrusion or herniation of the gelatinous inner disc material that then presses against the spinal cord (slipped disc). 


What are the symptoms of IVDD in dogs

Symptoms of Neck Intervertebral Disc Disease (Cervical IVDD)

Cervical IVDD affects the discs in your dog's neck. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, contact your vet for advice or visit the closes emergency animal hospital.

  • Inability to stand
  • Unsteadiness in all 4 legs
  • Head held low
  • Reluctance to move
  • Shivering or crying
  • Arching back 
  • Inability to walk normally
  • Knuckling of all 4 paws
  • Inability to support own weight
  • Inability to feel all 4 feet and legs

Symptoms of Back Intervertebral Disc Disease (Thoracolumbar IVDD)

Thoracolumbar IVDD affects discs in the back region of your dog's spine. If you notice any of the symptoms below, contact your vet as soon as possible. 

  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness in hind legs
  • Crossing back legs when walking
  • Knuckling of back paws, or dragging rear legs
  • Tense belly 
  • Inability to walk normally
  • Inability to support their own weight
  • Unable to move or feel back legs

Symptoms of Lower-Back Intervertebral Disc Disease (Lumbosacral IVDD)

If your dog is suffering from Lobosacral IVDD, your dog has damaged discs in their lower back. Contact your vet if you believe you dog is suffering from this condition.

  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Pain and/or difficulty jumping
  • Limp tail
  • Dilated anus

How do I know my dog is in pain?

  • If your dog seems reluctant to move the neck and head or shows other signs of stiff neck, your lil one is likely in pain.
  • If your dog yelps or otherwise reacts (sometimes even aggressively) in a way that’s unexpected when moving or when touched, it’s possibly due to pain.
  • If your lil guy or gal’s head is lowered in a way that’s unusual, it may be due to pain.
  • Watch for a lowered or hunched back, which your Vet may refer to as “thoracolumbar kyphosis.”


How Do Dog Back Brace for IVDD

A dog back brace supports a dog’s spine and surrounding muscles to provide spinal stability and relieve back pain. Although a back brace will not cure IVDD or a disc condition, it can provide comfort and protection to help alleviate your pet’s back pain. 

When a pet is healing a disc rupture, they need a brace that will support the spine and relieve IVDD back pain. The vertebraVe dog back support is the perfect back brace for dogs with IVDD. The back support wraps around the dog’s body and features a special memory foam support system that conforms to the back for spinal support where a dog needs it. Additionally, metal support rods are strategically placed along the spine and an inch to either side of the spine to restrict the range of motion and unwanted movements. When dealing with a pet’s spinal injury, you want to limit unwanted movements to avoid exacerbating existing injuries while giving the pet’s back time to heal. 

Hinged Canine Back Brace

Lightweight Dog IVDD Back Brace