In general dogs with a first episode of IVDD that are still able to walk are treated non-surgically, with enforced rest for 4-6 weeks being the most important aspect of the treatment. Then we can begin careful rehabilitation using therapeutic exercise, underwater treadmill, Laser, tPEMF therapy, and also acupuncture to help restore full function and prevent further injury.
If the patient's pain is not well controlled or we are not seeing improved function as expected then often a re-evaluation with the surgeon is advised.
Surgical options depend on the location of the ruptured disc, whether the dog is a small or large breed, severity and duration of the clinical signs and recurrences. Occasionally patients will improve with corticosteroids, Adequan, and other nutritional supplementation as well.
However dogs that suddenly lose their ability to stand or cannot walk should be evaluated immediately by a neurologist/surgeon and should have an MRI and to determine if they need surgery as soon as possible. Surgery is used to remove the herniated disc and decompress the spinal cord. Then the Rehabilitation can begin again.
Often patients with Spinal/ Neurological dysfunction will need assistance with movement or paw placement as they recover their full functional mobility. We offer dog-lifting mobility harnesses, toe up support wraps and slings, and fittings for therapeutic mobility carts when needed.