Price includes epidural, medications, and follow-up appointments at 2,4,6, and 8 weeks.
Introduction to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD in dogs is a common cause of back pain, weakness, and the inability to walk or feel the front or back legs. IVDD can affect any part of the canine spine, however, it more commonly affects the thoracolumbar (‘mid-back’) spine.
Canine Spine with IVDD. Reprinted with permission by the copyright owner, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Fig 1 + 2
Myelogram of the thoracolumbar spine showing herniated intervertebral disc (arrow) Fig 3
Symptoms & Signs of IVDD
Most commonly dogs herniate (or ‘slip’) a disc (Figure 2), which may forcibly strike and/or compress the spinal cord.
This leads to signs of IVDD. Signs of thoracolumbar IVDD include back pain, pelvic limb ataxia (walking wobbly), inability to stand, inability to move the rear legs, or even inability to feel the back legs. Fecal or urinary incontinence can also occur in severe cases. A grading scale is used in dogs:
Diagnosis of IVDD
There are other diseases that can cause similar clinical signs of spinal cord disease including meningitis/myelitis, spinal tumors, trauma, infection, malformations, and vascular problems, among other problems.
Treatment of IVDD
Treatment depends on the severity of the signs, but can be divided into two options:
After examination and advanced imaging, the disc herniation can be located. A hemilaminectomy (removal of one side of the vertebra) can be performed to allow the neurosurgeon to remove the herniated disc material and decompress the spinal cord.
Hemilaminectomy Fig 4
Postoperative complications can include:
Prognosis varies based on the grade and location of disease. The lower the grade, the better the prognosis. Generally, the sooner the issue is addressed the better the overall prognosis.
Left untreated, a Grade 1 can progress to a more serious problems. Severe disc ruptures can lead to permanent spinal cord injury.