What Is Intervertebral Disc Disease Or IVDD

IVDD is one of the most common neurologic disorders seen in pets, especially dogs Cats can also have IVDD,  but it is not as common

Intervertebral discs are cushioning pads of fibrocartilage that sit between most of the vertebra of the spinal column. The discs have an outer layer of tough fibrous tissue and a center that is more of a gel-like substance. They act as shock absorbers for the bones called vertebra in the spinal column.

Unfortunately, intervertebral discs are subject to degeneration, bulging outward, and even bursting or rupturing. When something goes wrong with a disc, the material inside escapes into the spinal column, pressing against the spinal cord or nerve roots, which causes pain, nerve damage, and sometimes, paralysis. This is the condition known as intervertebral disc disease or IVDD.

Depending on the location of the damaged disc, problems can occur anywhere in the animal’s body from the neck to the rear limbs.

Two Types of Intervertebral Disc Disease

There are two forms of IVDD in dogs — Hansen Type I and Hansen Type II.

Affected Animals:
Dogs are most often affected; rarely cats may develop a similar disease process. Male dogs are more likely to have disk degeneration than females. Factors that increase the risk of disk degeneration include genetic predisposition, excessive weight, and lack of muscular fitness.

Breeds genetically predisposed to degenerative disk disease include those affected with chondrodystrophy, or abnormal cartilage development. Affected breeds include dachshunds, beagles, cocker spaniels, Pekingese, French bull dogs, basset hounds, Welsh corgis, small poodles and other mixed-chondrodystrophoid breeds.

Large, older dogs without chondrodystrophy may also develop degenerative disk disease.

Here is a full explanation of IVDD and what can be done


So it is really important that if you have one of these breeds to always use a harness as not to pull on their cervical spine. Also if possible try not to let them jump off the couch or bed etc. Ramp training early on is something to consider. Alsp try and keep them at a good weight as obesity can play a big role in this as well. A species appropriate diet can also be a great preventative so there are things you can do to help your pup.

This is a pretty exciting study although human based it will work with canines. The above mentioned breeds are more prone to cervical spine issues so these are great points to have in case something happens but may also be used prophylactically. Obviously see your vet immediately  if your pup hurts their neck or back, but keep these points in mind for after care combined with vet recommendations.

New research concludes that acupuncture is more effective than medications for the treatment of cervical intervertebral disc herniations (CIDH). Local Neck AcupunctureA randomized, controlled study of 420 patients with CIDH consisted of two comparative groups. Group 1 consisted of 210 participants receiving electroacupuncture. Group 2 consisted of 210 participants receiving an oral medication. The results demonstrated that electroacupuncture “has better therapeutic efficacy than the medication group.” The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture “is better than medication in comparing both short-term and long-term therapeutic efficacies in treating CIDH.”

Post Credit: Nedra Abramson / Reiki for All Creatures