a dog suffers from IVDD, certain things occur in a very
specific order. The rate of these things occurring is
the most variable. When owners first become aware of
a problem, they may first notice pain that they cannot
attribute to anything else. Shivering, hunched back,
not eating. Often owners think they are constipated
or have a stomach ache. Then they will start to notice
ataxia or wobbly/drunken acting gait. If the disease
progresses, loss of conscious proprioception is the
next thing to occur. This is when the dog’s foot
is turned upside down and they don’t know it is.
A normal dog will quickly put its foot back correctly.
Then a dog will loose the ability to walk. If allowed
to progress, the dog will lose motor function. This
is when the dog tells his foot to move and can make
it do so of his own free will. This is NOT the same
as squeezing a toe and seeing them pull the leg back.
Sometime around the time the dog loses motor function,
the nerves that control bladder function become affected,
making it hard for the dog to properly urinate. If the
disease progresses, the next thing a dog will lose is
deep pain sensation. Deep pain sensation is tested by
squeezing a toe very hard and watching for cognitive
recognition of what is happening. If the dog simply
pulls the foot back, that is NOT deep pain positive.
Deep pain positive is a clue that the pain message is
getting past the damaged spinal cord to the brain. Examples
of deep pain include: crying out, turning to look at
you, panting, wiggling etc. It is very important to
have a veterinarian properly recognize deep pain sensation.
If a dog comes in for surgery before they lose deep
pain sensation, they have a 80-90% chance of walking
again within 12 weeks. If they have lost deep pain,
the chances decrease to anywhere from 5-50%.
cage rest or surgery, these things come back in the
exact opposite order. If deep pain is lost, we watch
closely for it to return. Then we watch for motor to
return. About the time that motor returns, some urinary
function returns as well. After motor comes back, it
takes them a while to become strong enough and coordinated
enough to walk again. Once they walk, it will be very
wobbly for some time. The last thing to come back is
the conscious proprioception. That is why you have to
be careful to make sure they don’t scrape up their
feet. It is important to understand that this is a slow
and gradual progress with certain milestones. It is
very difficult to say what the end result will be on
a daily basis, we watch for trends over time with each
individual dog. Not all dogs recover to normal, but
many dogs recover to an extent that allows for a great
quality of life.
note: It is a very reasonable expectation for
your dog to again be pain free and happy and regardless
of walking ability to still enjoy a very good quality
of life. Check out the abundance of typical IVDD
This information is presented for educational purposes
and as a resource for the Dachshund community. The coordinators
are not veterinarians or health care professionals.
Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice
and all should contact their pet care professionals
for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for
the substance and content contained herein and do not
advocate any particular product, item or position contained