Intervertebral Disk Disease is a common spinal issue in smaller dog breeds, but you can decrease your pet's odds of contracting it.
Often described using a jelly donut analogy, intervertebral disks have two compartments, an outer "doughy" layer and an inner "jelly" layer. The disks act as shock absorbers, cushioning a dog's spine.
IVDD occurs when these disks become dislodged, torn, or swollen. The condition causes intense pain along the spine and can result in rear leg paralysis.
Vets are quick to theorize a potential diagnosis if the patient howls when his or her neck is stretched. A full neurological examination including palpation and radiographs will secure their diagnosis.
Bed rest can work wonders in reversing or subduing IVDD. In severe cases, surgery might be required.
So, how can you prevent IVDD?
1. Limit jumping. Steps and ramps are ideal for beds.
2. Maintain a healthy weight in your dog.
3. Use a harness on walks to minimize neck stress.
4. Avoid breeding IVDD individuals as the disease can be genetic.
The road to recovery is long, so prevention, when possible, is key when it comes to IVDD. Make sure you take these extra easy steps to protect your pooch.