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IVDD: what is it.....


Intervertebral  Disc Disease

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 "It is a condition where the intervertebral discs between a dog’s spinal vertebrae bulge or burst. Bulging or bursting intervertebral discs can enter the spinal cord space and put pressure on spinal nerves. This can cause wobbling and incoordination, pain, nerve damage, and even lower body paralysis."

Why are French Bulldogs prone to this disease process:  Most Frenchies have the genes  that cause premature degrading, softening and destruction of the discs in their spine, so then with a sudden movement, jerking motion or activity, the disc ruptures and the fluid moves up into the spinal canal, creating pressure on the spine and the visible symptoms of back disease IVDD. This starts to occur at a very young age.  This gene mutation was found in 2017 UC Davis Genetics Lab. 

What are the signs and symptoms of IVDD?

  • Wobbling when walking

  • Reduced activity level; unwillingness to jump or even stand up

  • Weakness or incoordination in the rear legs

  • Paralysis; dragging one or both rear legs when walking

  • Whimpering or crying, especially when moved or touched

  • Muscle spasms and/or stiffness in neck or back

  • Arched or hunched back (sign of cervical disc problem)

  • Reduced appetite

  • Lack of control over urination or defecation (incontinence)

What are the stages of IVDD?

Stage 1 Mild pain and usually self-correcting in a few days  Early intervention is best

Stage 2 Moderate to severe pain in the neck or low back area

Stage 3 Partial paralysis causing trouble walking and/or uncoordinated movements

Stage 4 Paralysis but with the ability to feel

Stage 5 Paralysis with the loss of all feeling

Stage 1  Best to notice early, change behaviors, keep quiet, may add in meds

Stages 2-3 may require oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, neurological pain medications, opioids, support supplements, physical therapy, dieting, acupuncture, laser therapy, and other multi-modal treatment options.

There is no linear progression of the disease.

A dog may quickly progress from Stage 1 to Stage 5 or show signs of a more progressive stage from the beginning without showing any signs of the first stages.

Hansen Type I intervertebral disk disease is a progressive disorder characterized by degeneration of the outer layer and mineralization (or hardening) of the inner layer of affected disks. The outer layer eventually ruptures acutely, letting the calcified inner layer press against the spinal cord, with resulting pressure, inflammation and nerve destruction. Multiple disks can be affected and degeneration usually begins at an early age, with clinical signs appearing by 3 years of age.

Type I IVDD typically occurs in chondrodystrophic breeds. These dogs have short, stubby legs and include the American Cocker Spaniel, Basset hound, Beagle, Corgi, Dachshund, French and other bulldogs, Shih-tzu and the Pekingese. Poodles also are predisposed. Type I IVDD usually comes on suddenly and is very painful.

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