Therapy for Dachshunds with IVDD
IVDD can be a scary diagnosis for any Dachshund owner. Don’t lose hope! There are many Successful Therapy Options out there for Dogs with IVDD, with or without surgery. Some treatment methods include Hydrotherapy, Laser Therapy, Acupuncture, Stem Therapy, and Physical Therapy exercises.
Therapy and Rehabilitation services are available by referral from your dog’s vet. These services consist of progressive treatment plans that address strength, range of motion, pain, balance, coordination, quality of mobility, and overall function.
What is IVDD?
Intervertebral disc disease, also known as IVDD or slipped disc disease, is an inherited condition of the spine.
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IVDD is considered a degenerative disk disease. IVDD is caused by progressive degeneration of the intervertebral disks, which are the cushion-like structures that separate each vertebra of the spinal column.
As the disks degenerate, they calcify and lose their shock-absorbing ability. The disks will then become more susceptible to compression damage, even from normal activities. If a forceful movement occurs, these disks can rupture.
The contents of the disks will then go into the spinal canal and place pressure on the spinal cord. Severe or prolonged pressure on the nerves can lead to pain, loss of bladder or bowel control, or even paralysis, to the spinal cord. 
To Learn more about IVDD, please refer to our IVDD Part 1 post.
How Long Does IVDD Take to Heal?
After IVDD surgery, your dog will need crate rest, pain management, and physical therapy for about 6-8 weeks in order to properly heal.
It is important to have physical therapy scheduled for your dog after surgery to help them regain their strength.
Some physical therapy can be done at home, while others will require you to take your dog to a qualified canine rehabilitation therapist (either a Physiotherapist or Veterinary Surgeon).
Emergency Symptoms Post-Op Recovery:
If any of the following symptoms occur while your Dachshund is recovering from IVDD surgery, call your vet ASAP:
- Pain, weakness, or immobility
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty with urinating or defecating
- Blood in the urine or stools
- Stops eating or drinking
- Acting lethargic
Treating IVDD in Dogs:
Treatments for IVDD can go one of two ways: Conservative (non-surgical) or Surgical. It all depends on the severity of the damage to the spinal cord.
When my miniature dachshund, Reno, occasionally would have issues walking. My vet gave him some medication to help reduce the inflammation and pain he was experiencing. That really helped him get back to feeling like himself again.
1. Conservative Treatment Method: (No-Surgery)
The Conservative Treatment Includes:
- Anti-inflammatory medication from your vet
- Crate rest for 6-8 weeks
- Reduction of Activities in order to heal.
Can a Dog Recover from IVDD Without Surgery?
The conservative method is not the “cure all” for IVDD. It is a treatment for the current spinal problem in order to help the dog ‘possibly’ walk again.
2. Surgical Treatment Method:
“If the damage is too severe and the dog is paralyzed or incontinent, conservative treatment may not be enough. In many cases, emergency surgery is needed to open up space. This is done by removing a portion of the bony vertebrae over the spinal cord (laminectomy). Even after surgery, however, the dog may not recover fully.” 
At the first sign of symptoms, it is crucial to get your dog to the vet. If surgery is required, the sooner they have the operation the better chances of success they have to be able to walk again. It is recommended that you have your dog’s surgery done by a trained neurologist, not a general veterinarian.
If successful, this surgery may fix the injured discs, but with IVDD, it is unfortunately possible that other discs can rupture in the future.
Successful Therapy for Dachshunds with IVDD:
Some additional treatment methods include the following:
- Laser Therapy
- Stem Therapy
- Physical Therapy Exercises
These methods can be used as conservative treatments or post – surgery treatments.
Hydrotherapy means “Water-Healing” . This type of therapy involves your dog swimming and the using an underwater treadmill. Being in the water creates resistance and will cushion your dog’s joints.
Post-Op Dog Performing Hydrotherapy
Photo Credit: Dachshund Breed Council, IVDD
Viivi, the wire haired miniature dachshund contracted IVDD when she was 4 years old. Check out Viivi’s Story for details on her symptoms, surgery, and rehabilitation.
With the help of Laser Therapy, Dogs that are not able to stand or walk can regain strength and get back to normal doggie activities. Laser Therapy can reduce the pain caused by IVDD.
The Acupuncture method used for IVDD reduces swelling, pain, and inflammation. Acupuncture can restore the damaged nerves and promote faster healing.
Physical Therapy Exercises for Dogs with IVDD:
The following are a list of exercises your dog may need to do post IVDD surgery. Only do the exercises that your vet recommends for your dog.
Natural Supplements For Dogs With IVDD:
Two natural supplements are recommended for dogs with IVDD: turmeric and omega-3s.
Note: I am not a veterinarian. I am suggesting products that I have researched and read user reviews on. Always check with your Vet before giving your dog any supplements.
Turmeric can help dogs who suffer from chronic joint pain by reducing inflammation.
You can add this supplement to your dog’s food, or purchase a soft chewable tablet on Amazon.
Keep in mind, not all dogs can tolerate turmeric. It is a warming supplement, so if your dog seems pant a lot or sleeps on the cool floor, skip the turmeric.
Caution: If your dog’s on any medications, check with your vet before adding turmeric to her diet. Turmeric can interact with some medications, including anti-inflammatory and diabetes drugs, and chemotherapy treatments.
Omega-3s can help dogs who suffer from chronic joint pain by reducing inflammation.
They can also help regulate and reduce the effects of arthritis in dogs.
Avoid purchasing Fish oil Omega-3s for dogs because it can be toxic to pets. Fish oil supplements oxidize when exposed to oxygen and this actually increases inflammation in pets.
Aids for Dachshund Mobility
In addition to the above treatment options, you may also want to try a mobility aid for your dog. You can Equip your dog with a wheelchair or back brace to help her get around.
Orthopedic braces for dogs help them regain their strength and sense of independence. Visit the Best IVDD Dog Wheelchair Reviews article. A sling or harness can be beneficial for your dog. Use these to help your dog upstairs, into the car, or when navigating rough terrain. 
To Protect our Dachshund’s back, we purchased the Dachramp from Sausage Dog Central. It is lightweight, packs up flat, and nice rubber grips to help our doxies into our bed. It is a great time to stock up now. DachRamp is 40% off Now Through December!
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Our Dachshund puppy, Eko, loves his new dachshund ramp!
Will My Dog Recover From IVDD?
Unfortunately, IVDD can keep your dachshund from doing all of his favorite things: playing, jumping, and digging. Using IVDD prevention tips can help reduce the risk of your dog getting IVDD.
If your dog does have IVDD, the combination of your vet’s care, physical therapy, mobility aids, and natural supplements will help your dog through the healing process.
If your dog has been through IVDD, please post some lessons learned in the comments below.
- DodgersList IVDD Forum: Learn more from other dog moms and dads about IVDD.
- IVDD Info on Pinterest
- DodgersList Physiotherapy YouTube Channel for a post-operative paralyzed dogs.
- Crate rest for dogs: advice for vets by Dr. Marianne Dorn.
- Walking with your recovering dog by Dr. Marianne Dorn.
- Crate Rest Activities for Dogs after Back, Hip, Leg Injuries
- Why your Dachshund with IVDD should not see a Chiropractor
- Sling walking your dog after surgery