Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a genetic disorder where the discs between the vertebrae harden and become brittle and can no longer cushion the vertebrae. Thereby, the discs flatten or bulge and can burst, leaking their hardened contents into the area surrounding the spinal cord. When this happens, it puts pressure on the spinal cord and can squeeze the nerves enough to cause pain. As a result, loss of certain functions such as bowel and bladder control, or even paralysis, can occur.
Symptoms can include mild pain, muscle spasms of the back or neck, holding their head in an upright stiff position, arching their back, sensitive to touch, reduced activity, loss of bowel or bladder control, pain or weakness in the rear legs and paralysis.
Breeds genetically predisposed to IVDD classified as Chondrodystrophic dogs (dogs with Hereditary Dwarfism) are the Bassett Hound, Beagle, Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, Corgi, Dachshund, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekinese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug and Shih Tzu. Non-Chondrodystrophic breeds include the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever. Note: Overweight dogs are at a higher risk of herniated discs.
Common Treatment Protocol
Cases with mild to moderate symptoms are normally prescribed anti-inflammatory and steroid medications, along with crate rest, cold laser, heat and acupuncture treatments. Many owners opt for these conservative treatments alone, until the swelling subsides and function returns, thus hoping the dog has no recurring problems later down the road.
Many dogs receiving conservative treatments often progress to full paralysis or require surgery which can by costly.
More aggressive cases, when the dog is in obvious pain and the disc is either pushing against the spinal cord or has herniated (spilling the disc contents into the area around the spinal cord), require surgical intervention to remove the impediment. Neither of these methods ensure the remaining discs will remain problem-free.
Stem Cell Treatment
Treating the intervertebral discs with stem cells into the bad discs and/or the spinal canal can prevent disc herniation, as well as treat the existing disease. Stem cells regenerate the cartilage that the discs are made of and draw moisture back inside the disc. The discs become like new, and the owner doesn't have to watch the dog carefully for signs of the disease returning. Your pet can be treated with one or two stem cell injections, restoring normal function. Note: Safari requires a diagnostic MRI, unless you can present one that is recent and acceptable.
7 year old Dachshund mix, Trudy, receiving stem cells into her affected discs and spinal fluid for hind end paralysis from IVDD.
Physical rehabilitation will be needed for bringing the stem cell treatment the full circle of success. Safari’s Certified Canine Rehabilitation Specialists are armed with comprehensive rehabilitation tools and modalities to match the needs of your pet with the best physiotherapy regime. You may, optionally, elect to locate a specialist in your area if travel distance is an issue.
Trudy, receiving Electrostimulation Therapy.
Trudy, Instability training for full body conditioning.