Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs: An Overview of Treatment

IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a genetic condition in which the discs between the vertebrae harden and become brittle. They can no longer cushion the vertebrae and instead flatten or bulge and can damage and release their hardened components into the spine region. It puts pressure on the spinal cord, which can create pain, loss of some functions, including bowel and bladder control, or even paralysis.

Different Types of Treatment for IVDD

Treatment differs depending on the nature of the symptoms. Oral anti-inflammatory medicines and cage rest are recommended for dogs with mild issues and often improve within two days. Dogs with cervical IVDD with low functional disability are considered surgical candidates. Myelography and surgery are recommended for pet dogs that have not responded to medication and have more serious or worsening symptoms.

Surgery is effective at relieving pain, removing spinal cord compression, and increasing the chance of patient recovery. A vet neurologist will work with your veterinarian to identify the most appropriate care for your pet if it has disk complications.


Some dogs may benefit from anti-inflammatory medicine in less demanding situations to reduce swelling in the spine, relieve pain, and enable the spinal cord to begin healing. This treatment is typically accompanied by strict crate rest and no activity for up to six weeks. Numerous canines will respond well to non-surgical treatment and will be able to resume normal activities. Still, harnesses for walking may be suggested, as well as steps or ramps to lessen jumping on and off furnishings and beds. If your dog has a minor condition of IVDD, you can speak to an internal medicine veterinarian in Lexington, KY to help your dog recover with the help of medications.


Surgery is usually required for dogs with more severe cases of Intervertebral Disc Disease where rest and medicines are insufficient to alleviate pain. Throughout surgery, your veterinary surgeon will extract the hardened disc substance that is pressing on your dog’s spine, causing the IVDD symptoms. Surgical treatment outcomes are best in dogs who have not lost their ability to walk.

If your dog’s operation does not bring back normal mobility, a dog wheelchair can help your puppy live a happy and active life while suffering from this type of condition. IVDD surgery recuperation takes 6 to 8 weeks of restricted activity. Running, climbing stairs, or having fun with other pets should be prevented to minimize further damage while your canine’s spine recovers. If your dog needs urgent medical attention to treat IVDD, search online for “veterinary surgeon near me” to find the closest vet hospital in your area.

Physical Therapy

Following surgical treatment, your veterinarian may also propose physical therapy for your dog to help with muscle strengthening and getting your pet moving comfortably again. A couple of physical therapy exercises can help with IVDD. You may be able to perform these workouts with your pet dog in your home, but watch out for signs of pain.

Verify with your vet the exercises your pet can perform. Work with a veterinary physical therapist or rehabilitation institution. The capacity of your dog to carry out these activities depends on the level of its ailment.

Final Thoughts

As a pet owner with a dog diagnosed with minor or severe IVDD, you are probably facing some challenging decisions for your beloved pet. Your veterinarian will assess the various treatment options and the expected outcomes. Whether you choose surgery or non-surgical, caring for a dog with IVDD is vital to help speed recovery and improve the overall result of treatment.