Disc herniation/rupture is when the wall of the disc weakens allowing disc material to move into the spinal cord area. Pressure on the cord causes pain and loss of neuro functions such as leg use and bladder control.
IVDD causes discs to age earlier in life. Discs lose moisture and harden and can no longer cushion the vertebrae along the spine. IVDD occurs in breeds such as dachshunds, poodles, corgis, beagles, but it is not limited to just those breeds.
If a dog has IVDD, a disc problem can happen at any age. When the disc has weakened to a certain degree, it will herniate. You may or may not be able to pinpoint a specific incident as causing the start of symptoms. Many dogs that have IVDD have their first episode typically between the ages of 3-7.
Disc disease may be an ongoing, progressive disease for the rest of the dog’s life. Some dogs have only one episode others have multiple episodes over their life time.
Prevention and being educated to catch symptoms early is important.
No stairs, no jumping up and down, use ramps, always attach a leash to a harness.
General indications of pain. (shivering/trembling, not wanting to move, not wanting to eat, yelping, tightened tummy, nose to ground if a neck disc)
Weakness or loss of ability to move legs. (dragging nails, wobbly walking)
Emergency situation: loss of complete leg use or bladder/bowel control such as finding urine or poop in the bedding or leaks when you pick up the dog. Rapid loss of function in a matter of hours is also an indicator of an emergency.
Crate immediately. Limit the vertebrae and spine from moving. Movement causes the disc to leak and push more disc material onto the spinal cord. The result can be pain and paralysis.
With haste get to a vet knowledgeable in IVDD. Immediately transport your dog carefully in a crate padded to keep the spine quiet. Your vet will rule out other things that mimic IVDD with x-rays or maybe blood tests. In addition, a neurological exam will help the vet pinpoint the likelyhood of a disc herniation.