Many years ago, my mom received the worst news any dachshund guardian can get. Abby needs surgery and still may never walk again or will need to be euthanized.
Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc causes IVDD. These discs are the shock absorber between the vertebrae in the back. In IVDD either the whole disc pushed out and into the vertebral canal putting pressure on the spinal cord, called disc protrusion. The second possibility is the outer layer of the disc ruptures and releases the its contents into the spinal canal and presses on the spinal cord, called disc extrusion.
The characteristic short legs of the dachshund, is what predisposes them to IVDD. According to a paper written in 2011 the discs in these types of breeds degenerate in a different way compared to other breeds. Degeneration can be seen to start as early as 4 months and be completely calcified by 12-18 months.
Most often the first signs of the disease is pain. It can present in various ways, the most common are as follows:
Reluctant to jump or climb
Head hung low and arched back
May refuse food
Won’t look up
Won’t turn in tight circles
Tension in neck, back, and abdomen
Restlessness and panting for no reason
Weakness or incoordination
These signs can appear quickly or gradually over a longer period of several weeks.
Diagnosis of IVDD can be done
1 Plain Radiography
2. Contrast Radiography, injection of a dye into the spinal canal that will show up on the xray
4. CT scan
There are a variety of treatment options depending on the severity of the IVDD. They can range from strict crate rest to major surgery