IVDD: A Dachshund’s Tale

by Janelle Allen, LVT

Intervertebral disc disease, or IVDD, is a common condition in the spine that causes back pain, partial loss of function in the limbs, and in more severe cases paralysis and loss of feeling. While the Dachshund is the most notorious breed for this disease, IVDD can occur in any breed of dog. However, it is rarely seen in cats.

Let’s explore the canine spine for a moment. The spine is made up of 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, 13 thoracic (chest) vertebrae, 7 lumbar vertebrae, and 3 sacral vertebrae that are fused together. There are a variable number of coccygeal (tail) vertebrae depending on breed. Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc, designed to provide cushion between the vertebrae depending on the breed. Each disc is made up of a fibrous outer layer, called the annulus fibrosis, and a gel-like inner layer called the nucleus pulposes. In the dog, the discs are located below the spinal canal and the spinal cord lives in this spinal canal. Now that we know a little bit more about the anatomy of the canine spine, we can get an idea what happens with IVDD. Continue…