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Intervertebral Disc Disease

Description: Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common disease caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. 

What to Watch For: Signs include inability or unwillingness to jump or go up stairs, reluctance to move around, hunched back, crying out, or refusal to eat or go potty. The dog may even drag their back feet, suddenly become paralyzed, or be unable to get up or use their back legs.

Diagnosis: Your veterinarian will diagnose IVDD by spinal radiograph.

Treatment: For less severe cases, rest and medication may resolve the problem. In many cases involving paralysis, your veterinarian will recommend surgical removal of the ruptured discs. As with so many other diseases, weight control helps to prevent this problem. Use ramps or steps from puppyhood on so your dog doesn’t spend a lifetime stressing their back jumping on and off of furniture.

Breeds prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease include:

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