How to Treat Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs

IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a genetic condition in which the discs between the vertebrae harden and become fragile. They can no longer support the vertebrae and instead flatten or bulge and can damage as well as release their solidified components into the spinal cord area. It puts pressure on the spinal cord, creating discomfort, 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 conditions. Oral anti-inflammatory medications and cage rest are advised for canines with mild issues and often improve within two days. Dogs with cervical IVDD with minimal functional disability are considered surgical candidates. Myelography and surgery are recommended for pet dogs who have not responded to medicine and have more severe or worsening symptoms.

Surgical procedure is effective at alleviating pain, eliminating spinal cord compression, and increasing the likelihood of patient recovery. A neurological specialist will collaborate with your veterinarian to identify the most appropriate care for your pet if they have disk complications. You can read more information about different types of treatment for IVDD in dogs by going online and searching for articles about it.


Some dogs may benefit from anti-inflammatory medicine in less complex situations to minimize swelling in the spinal cord, soothe pain, and allow the spinal cord to begin healing. This treatment is typically accompanied by meticulous crate rest and no activity for approximately six weeks. Numerous dogs will respond well to veterinary internal medicine treatment and will be able to resume normal activities. Still, harnesses for walking may be recommended, as well as steps or ramps to lessen jumping on and off furnishings and beds.


Surgery is typically needed for dogs with more severe cases of Intervertebral Disc Disease where rest and medicines are insufficient to relieve discomfort. Throughout surgery, your veterinary surgeon will extract the hardened disc substance that is pressing on your dog’s spine, leading to 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 disease. 

IVDD surgery recuperation takes 6 to 8 weeks of limited activity. Running, climbing stairs, or playing with other pets should be prevented to minimize further damage while your dog’s spine recovers. On the other hand, some breeds of small dogs are more susceptible to IVDD than others. Your vet may suggest small animal surgery if your dog has been diagnosed with IVDD and needs immediate medical care.

Physical Therapy

Following surgical treatment, your veterinarian may also recommend physical therapy for your dog to help with muscle strengthening and getting your pet moving comfortably again. A couple of physical therapy activities can aid with IVDD. You might be able to do these exercises with your pet dog in your home, but keep an eye out for signs of pain.

Verify with your veterinarian the exercises your dog can perform. Work with a veterinary physical therapist or rehab institution. The capacity of your dog to carry out these tasks depends on the level of its health problem.

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 results. Whether you choose surgery or non-surgical, caring for a dog with IVDD is essential to help speed up recovery and improve the overall effect of treatment.


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