Treatment and Prevention of IVDD

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Treatment and Prevention of IVDD

This is a discussion on Treatment and Prevention of IVDD within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Milo is a 9 month old Yorkie. We were told he was purebred when we got him, but we have come to realize we do ...

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Old 02-17-2017, 05:45 PM
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Treatment and Prevention of IVDD

Milo is a 9 month old Yorkie. We were told he was purebred when we got him, but we have come to realize we do not think this is the case. Milo has a very long body, almost like a dachshund. The vet recently also agreed that she does not think Milo is a purebred Yorkie.

Up until last week, Milo was the average puppy. Getting into things, loved playing, and loved walks. Last Friday we began to notice that Milo was just sitting around whining and crying for no reason and that he could not get comfortable when sleeping. He had his tail down, but other than that there were no physical signs of injury. We went to the vet the next morning and they did some blood work to rule out any other issues, and diagnosed him with a back problem. They sent him home with steroids and muscle relaxers.

After a few days he did not improve, and we brought him back into the vet. They diagnosed him with a disc problem and prescribed him Gabapentin to help ease some of his nerve pain. It has since been a few days, and Milo is spending almost all of his time sleeping form the medications. He is no longer whining and crying often, and is finding it slightly easier to get comfortable.

We are assuming it is IVDD and the vet has given us a few options. They are currently holding off on X rays and MRIs because of the cost, but said they will go ahead with those in the coming weeks if his condition does not improve. The vet mentioned surgery as well as acupuncture as treatment options.

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with treatment options for IVDD? The surgery is very costly, and we are worried since he is so young that he will need additional ones later in life. We are very open to trying acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. Just looking for some suggestions.

Thank you!
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:09 PM
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Around a year ago Zody, my Dach x Chi, started having what turned out to be back problems.
The vet prescribed pain meds, an anti inflammatory and rest, then I went home and did a heck of a lot of research.

Rest is what they really need, at least a week of it, and more then that is better. With Zody I tried to keep him as still and calm as possible, He's not much a a jumper so I didn't bother crating him but did keep him for 3 or 4 days in a small area I fenced off with an exercise pen. I only took him out to potty then right back into the pen.

I should mention that rest is only if they are having pain, if they have loss of sensation in their hind end then it's much more serious and requires more treatment.

Next I set about making it to where he did not need to jump on and off the furniture and preventing that as much as possible. I have a ramp for him to get on and off my bed, and some pet steps for getting on and off the couch. The steps took some doing to find the ones that worked best for us. If they were to compact he'd jump over them to get off the couch, too narrow and he'd go around them and jump off the couch.

After that I switched harnesses since I had noticed that the one I was using pressed into his back every time he pulled. The harness I was using was a style known as a shoulder collar, I now use a completely different type of harness and I think that it was switching that really made the difference with his back.

Since your boy is just in pain, and is not paralyzed in any way, I'd strongly suggest putting him on crate rest (or modifying it like Iike I did and using an exercise pen) for at least a week but 2 weeks would be better. He should be only able to move a few steps in whatever you keep him in.

After that I'd set about figuring out how to prevent him from jumping off the furniture as much as possible, jumping from heights like the couch is bad for their backs and is one of the biggest factors in causing disc problems in Dachshunds and their mixes.

Last make sure there's nothing else that might be causing him to have back issues. Walking on a collar is a no no and can cause disc problems, but, as I learned the hard way, some harnesses are just as bad so make sure whatever you are walking him with is easy on the spine.

Good luck to you and your boy! I know I hated seeing Zody in so much pain and not being able to help him more then I did.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:35 PM
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Even if he IS a dachshund mix, 9 months seems very young to have IVDD, which, as I understand it, is a degenerative condition, and usually occurs in "middle age" dogs because of the changes that occur in the spine over time. There are yorkies which have dwarfism (see here: Dwarf Breeds ), and the short legs/long back associated with it, so I wouldn't necessarily peg him as a dachshund mix based only on that, though regardless of breed or mix, if he has that body type, he is at risk for spinal problems.

If he were my dog, if I could swing it financially, I might consider consulting with a neurologist (or another "regular" vet for a 2nd opinion), just because he is so young, and outside the normal range of ages for this sort of problem. I would be concerned that there might be something else contributing to the issues, and want to identify it and try to manage or fix it ASAP. Even if you still opt out of the diagnostics, neurologists are experts in this sort of condition, and may be able to help rule it in or out, as well as identify any other contributing factors.

I've experienced disc problems in at least one of my dachshunds, and possibly the other as well. My first had severe neck pain when she was around 7 or 8, recovered slowly (weeks before she stopped screaming when picked up, uncomfortable for around a month), but completely. She had a second episode when she was nearing 15, and was less painful, but did have some paresis (loss of feeling/placement reflexes) in her front feet- that time she improved quite a bit with management, but not 100%. She also had an episode of stiffness/discomfort when she was 18, and recovered to "normal" for her within a few weeks with meds- she was already pretty restricted in activity due to old age.

My other dachshund had an episode of neck stiffness last spring (at 10 yrs old), where he was stiff/uncomfortable, but improved dramatically by the next day, so I'm not sure whether it was a disc or muscle problem. I restricted his activity the full 4-8 weeks anyway, though I did begin light exercise (walks/swimming) after the first month because he was insufferable. He has been fine since, though I avoided high impact activities somewhat the rest of the year because he needed to regain condition after being restricted and have really only just begun to restart some of the more strenuous activities (running with the bike, flirtpole, etc). There are varying opinions on what sort of activities are appropriate for both dogs at risk for spinal problems due to structure, as well as dogs who have previously had spinal problems, and your vet or a neuro vet is the best person to advise you on that for your boy.

Here are a couple links you might want to peruse:
This is a pretty comprehensive explanation IMO: Category - Faqs - Animal Medical Center - Los Angeles, California

More: Disc disease | UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine - Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

"When to refer" according to a neurologist- given your dog's age, you might ask your vet if they think a neurology visit would be worthwhile:
Referring a Dog with Back Pain - Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake | Jay McDonnell, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM | Annapolis & Towson, MD

Not a vet, but Dodger's List has a wealth of information regarding IVDD, and even the neurologist local to me recommends various parts of it for client reading:
Dodgerslist: canine back problems, all things IVDD

Good luck- hope he's feeling better soon!
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:43 PM
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Busannie is right, 9 months old is very young for IVDD. Two years old is the typical minimum age for a disc herniation. I would visit a neurologist if he isn't getting better.
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Old 02-25-2017, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miloPJ View Post

We are assuming it is IVDD and the vet has given us a few options. They are currently holding off on X rays and MRIs because of the cost, but said they will go ahead with those in the coming weeks if his condition does not improve. The vet mentioned surgery as well as acupuncture as treatment options.

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with treatment options for IVDD? The surgery is very costly, and we are worried since he is so young that he will need additional ones later in life. We are very open to trying acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. Just looking for some suggestions.

I have more experience with IVDD than I'd like. My unprofessional opinion, however, would be that the symptoms this dog is displaying are NOT entirely compatible with disc disease. Now, it very well could be, but in my experience, this is how IVDD symptoms usually come on, particularly in puppies.

You will first notice a lameness in one or more legs, which often (but will not necessarily) either shift to other leg(s). It might seem like a "bunny hop" such as in a dog with luxated patellas - and on that note, with the dog being mixed with Yorkie, it is more likely to be a problem with slipped kneecaps than IVDD. Has the Vet palpated this dogs knees? Either way, that lameness is caused by inflammation between the lining of the spinal discs. If that inflammation continues untreated with anti-inflammatory drugs, the pressure will build up and the disc will dislocate. This is extremely painful, and the dog will be fully paralyzed at this point. Furthermore, the ONLY time surgery is necessary for the treatment of IVDD is at this stage, because if the disc does not slip back into place with the use of meds (usually steroids, and often dexamethasone), then the Vet must manually replace the disc back into it's "slot".

Now, if you have a dog that is not paralyzed, and has not had an x-ray to determine whether there is actually an inflamed disc, then you've got a very negligent and/or ignorant Vet on your hands. I have had a 3yr old IVDD dog die in extreme pain from Veterinary treatment bordering on criminal, so please take this issue seriously and get a second opinion.

That being said, I don't think this is IVDD. Generally, affected pups will show signs of discomfort as they are growing, such as intermittent bunny hopping, but this can be treated with Calcium/Vitamin D supplementation, a high quality food, a good joint supplement and/or castor oil for its natural anti-inflammatory benefits.

Your pups' condition really does not sound at all like classic IVDD, and I agree with the poster who mentioned 9 months is too young for a diagnosis of that condition. Affected pups always seem to have a "tightly wound" anatomy and some intermittent joint discomfort, but nothing like what you are describing. Unless the animal is severely overweight or malnourished, the only time I've seen an IVDD dog slip a disc is in old age or after a traumatic injury to the spine. Otherwise, these dogs can often go a lifetime without ever slipping a disc. I have an 11 year old bitch with a pretty severe case of the condition who only had the first stages of inflammation about 6 months ago, and made a full recovery with homeopathic meds.

Tl;dr - If this diagnosis was made on one of my own dogs I would be doubting it to Kingdom Come. From what you've mentioned, I would be more inclined to think this pup has luxated patellas, a liver shunt, or possible internal injuries. This is NOT the way an IVDD pup acts.

Last edited by TrackInDirt; 02-25-2017 at 03:06 PM.
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