Intervertebral Disk Disease

IVDD occurs when the inner layer of a disk protrudes, or herniates, into the vertebral canal and presses on the spinal cord. Compression of the spinal cord may be minimal, causing only mild back or neck pain, or severe, causing paralysis, loss of feeling, and lack of bladder and bowel control and may be irreversible. Most commonly, problems are seen in the lower back region of the spine or in the neck region.

Type I IVDD is common in the Dachshund, and also occurs in many other chondrodystrophoid breeds including the Bassett Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, and Welsh Corgi. It may also be seen in the Cocker Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle. The intervertebral disks in these dogs gradually become more like cartilage than fibrous tissue. Disk herniation in these breeds usually occurs at a relatively young age (3 to 6 years) and commonly occurs at several areas in the back causing intense pain.

With occasional exceptions, the Doberman Pinsher is the only nonchondrodysplastic large breed dog to be affected by Type I IVDD.

Type II IVDD is fibrous degeneration of disks and occurs in older dogs of all breeds, but generally only causes problems in large-breed dogs.

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Note: This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.