CBD Oil For Dogs Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs
Intervertebral disc disease, or simply IVDD, is a condition that may cause pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis in dogs. But what causes this disease in canines? How do you know if your dog has it, and what can you do to treat this condition?
Read on to learn more about IVDD.
What is Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs
IVDD happens when the cushioning discs in-between the two vertebrae deteriorate. This deterioration results in the discs pressing on the spinal cord. When the discs press on the nerves, it may cause pain, damaged nerves, or even immobility.
The deterioration of the discs may either be caused by bursting, aka herniating, or bulging.
Different Types of IVDD
There are two types of IVDD in dogs:
- Type I – characterized by the extrusion of the disc. This type is common in dogs, especially in smaller breeds like Shih Tzus, beagles, French bulldogs, and dachshunds.
- Type II – characterized by the protrusion of the disc. This type typically occurs in larger breeds and often has less severe symptoms and signs.
Although there are two types of IVDD, both result in the compression of the spinal cord that can happen in any dog.
Causes of Intervertebral Disc Disease
Like a jelly donut, the intervertebral disc has inner and outer parts.
The inner part is called the nucleus pulposus. This gel-filled part acts as a shock absorber. The outer part is called the annulus fibrosus, which consists of strong fibers that connect the vertebrae.
Both parts of the intervertebral disc can undergo changes that will cause the disease. The type of IVDD depends on which part deteriorates.
In Type I, the inner part of the disc extrudes through the fibrous outer layer. Then, it deteriorates and hardens, preventing the nucleus to function as a shock absorber.
In Type II, the outer part starts to break down. Then, both the outer and inner parts herniate. This results in a compressed spinal cord.
How to Prevent IVDD in Dogs
Unfortunately, the degeneration of intervertebral discs can’t be prevented. It is an age-related process that can happen at any time. Type I IVDD can even start as early as the age of two.
Also, the breakdown of intervertebral discs may not be related to activities such as running or jumping. However, experts discourage dogs at risk from jumping on and off furniture. They also discourage any high-impact activities.
Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs
Dogs afflicted with IVDD may show the following symptoms:
- Unwillingness to jump
- Pain and lameness in hind legs
- Anxious behavior
- Wailing in pain
- Hunched neck or back with tense muscles
- Muscle spasms over neck or back
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced activity level
- Inability to control bladder and/or bowel movement
Severe signs include the inability to walk or loss of feelings in its legs.
How is IVDD Diagnosed?
No matter the severity of the symptoms, veterinarians will conduct a neurologic examination to diagnose the disease.
The vet may perform a radiograph of the spine to look for possible causes such as bony tumors or a disc infection. However, radiographs confirm IVDD only 60% of the time. The vet may perform computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm the diagnosis.
How to Treat IVDD in Dogs?
Treatment of IVDD depends on the severity of the disease. The vet may recommend conservative care or surgical treatment to affected dogs.
Conservative care involves giving anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain and swelling of the spinal cord. Dogs are also confined in a cage to restrict their movement, allowing the intervertebral disc time to heal. Medication usually lasts for four to six weeks.
Conservative care is recommended for dogs with the first episode of back pain or mild symptoms.
Surgical treatment involves the removal of the herniated disc to open up space. This allows the decompression of the spinal cord. After surgery, dogs should be confined for four to six weeks to prevent additional injury.
Surgical treatment is recommended for dogs suffering from severe symptoms such as paralysis.
For dogs experiencing spasms of the back muscles, heat and massage treatments are necessary. This includes muscle relaxant medications such as diazepam or methocarbamol.
Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs Survival Rate
The survival rate of dogs with intervertebral disc disease depends on the severity of their symptoms.
Dogs who suffer from pain alone has >80% chance of surviving and returning to an active lifestyle.
Those with more severe signs like weakness or paralysis have good to excellent prognosis for recovery after surgery.
However, dogs that are both paralyzed and cannot feel their legs must undergo surgery immediately. The prognosis for recovery of neurologic function starts to drop in this case.
In general, IVDD is not a fatal condition. It only becomes fatal when patients develop myelomalacia or bleeding inside the spinal cord. Still, the survival rate is discussed on a case-to-case basis.
Dogs Intervertebral Disc Disease Natural Home Remedies
Intervertebral disc disease causes extreme pain to your dog. To ease his pain, your vet may recommend natural home remedies such as hemp.
According to studies, hemp contains properties that help reduce chronic inflammation and pain. These components impact the endocannabinoid receptor activity in the body, resulting in pain- and inflammation-relieving effects in pets.
How much CBD Should I Give My Dogs with IVDD?
Further study is still needed to determine the correct dosage of hemp for dogs. But as a rule of thumb, start giving your pet a low dosage of this herbal medicine. Then, monitor how he will react to the dosage. Adjust depending on your dog’s reaction to the dose you give.
For best results, consult a vet who has experience in administering hemp.
Intervertebral disc disease is a painful condition that needs immediate attention. While it can’t be prevented, IVDD in dogs is a treatable disease. Take note of the symptoms mentioned above and bring your pet to the vet as soon as you notice the signs.