Pet Health: Understanding the IVDD in Dogs

Thousands of dogs yearly suffer from a debilitating condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Chondrodystrophic dogs, such as the Dachshund and the Bassett hound, are more likely to develop IVDD than other dog breeds because of their short legs and long backs. Nevertheless, this illness can manifest in animals of any breed, including feline species.

What is intervertebral disc disease in dogs? 

The spinal condition known as intervertebral disc disease is more common in canines but can also affect felines. Spinal surgery from a skilled veterinary orthopedic surgeon is the standard treatment for canine cases of intervertebral disc disease. A dog’s cartilage center of each intervertebral disc is encircled by a fibrous ring, providing shock absorption for the spinal column.

You can find one of these discs between every vertebra in your spine except your first and second. If your dog’s discs are in good shape, it can perform high-impact activities like running and jumping without experiencing any discomfort.

What causes intervertebral disc disease in dogs?

Due to intervertebral disc disease, your pet’s spine may slowly deteriorate. Dogs over ten are typically the ones most affected by the condition. Any dog breed is susceptible to this disease, but some are more at risk than others. To name a few: Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, Pekingese, Shih Tzus, and Beagles.

The intervertebral discs become too complicated and no longer provide adequate cushioning between the vertebrae, which is the most prevalent cause of IVDD. The toughening may result from exposure to long periods of inactivity or a sudden external stimulus. Although there is currently no way to stop the spread of this illness, you can help ensure your pet’s health by providing dog vaccinations.

The Prevalent Signs of Intervertebral Disc Disease

Knowing about intervertebral disc disease is essential if you own a dog. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t learn their companion is at risk for or already suffering from IVDD until it’s too late. Degenerative myelopathy (DM), another crippling back issue, should not be confused with IVDD. Common signs and symptoms of this illness include the following.

1. Sensitivity to Touching

When you touch your dog, it could react by yelping, crying out, or even becoming hostile toward you. They might even try to bite you. You might even notice that your dog is avoiding you to avoid having their fur picked on or patted by you.

2. Hunched Back

A hunch in the back is a prevalent disc disease symptom in a dog. This hunch can be rather noticeable, with several vertebrae sticking out of place, or it can be more subtle, with just one or two vertebrae jutting out. Your dog may walk more slowly and hunch over, or its stomach may appear tight.

3. Extremely Quiet and Retracted

If your dog is experiencing discomfort, it may spend extended periods napping or reclining in an unusual location. It’s also possible that you’ll find your dog sitting or hiding in a distant part of the house. If you see any of these symptoms, it’s time to bring your dog to a vet lab.


In the future, if you notice any of the symptoms of intervertebral disc disease in your dog, you will be able to identify them quickly and get the treatment you need without having drastic measures like surgery. Knowing about this illness is the first step toward protecting your dog’s health and prolonging its life.