What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?
Chondrodystrophic dogs have characteristically short and bowed legs with a relatively long body. Signs of Type I IVDD signs include neck or back pain, a change in your dog's walking pattern (including potential dragging of the hind limbs); this could also be as severe as hind leg weakness or paralysis.
When do signs and symptoms develop?
Signs of chondrodystrophy are recognized in puppies, however, signs of IVDD are often first recognized in adults.
How do vets diagnose this condition?
Chondrodystrophy can often be identified simply by looking at the affected dog. For IVDD, a neurological exam will be performed on any dog showing suspicious signs. Based on the result of this exam, radiographs to detect the presence of calcified discs or advanced imaging (MRI/CT) to dectect a disc rupture may be recommended. Spinal taps may also be performed to rule out other potential conditions.
How is this condition treated?
IVDD is treated differently based on the severity of the disease. Mild cases often respond to medical managment which includes cage rest and pain management, while severe cases are often treated with surgical intervention. Both conservative and surgical treatment should be followed up with rehabilitation and physical therapy.
What actions should I take if my dog is affected?
If you know your dog is predisposed to IVDD Type I, speak to your veterinarian about dietary recommendations for weight management. Ramps up to furniture, avoiding flights of stairs, and using a harness on walks will also help minimize some of the risk of IVDD.