IVDD Conservative Medical

Treatment Protocols for IVDD

There are many options for dachshunds afflicted with IVDD. While no guide can be completely comprehensive, this page of the DRBC Site reviews those treatment methods most commonly used by the veterinarians that support DRBC. You should have a full discussion with your veterinarian concerning the options available for your doxie.

DRBC IVDD Medical [Conservative] Approach

The conservative or medical approach to IVDD does not involve surgery, but it will involve an exam, blood tests, a urinalysis, medication, crate rest, limited movement and may or may not utilize an MRI as a diagnostic tool. Here is why:

Although surgery may not be a path that you decide you want to take or even need, MRI is another decision that supports the good definition of the location of the injury and degree of IVDD for your dachshund. It is not always necessary though and should be discussed fully with your general care veterinarian and veterinary neurologist.

Note: DRBC does not allow x-ray as a diagnostic tool in the definition of IVDD as it is not definitive in identifying a disc rupture!

DRBC dogs following a medical course are treated aggressively with steroids if surgery is not indicated. The medication section of this page reviews the various medications our veterinarian prescribes, but we will typically start with a high dose and step down the dosage level until the animal is weaned from the steroid usually over the course of 3 –4 weeks. The level of medication and the rate of weaning is dependent on the severity of the symptoms observed. A stomach protectant is always given with the administration of steroids and pain medication may be given as well.

Note: New research has indicated that the use of NSAIDs [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents] may be equally effective. DRBC does not yet support this path, but as always, you should talk to your veterinarian or veterinary surgeon concerning treatment options for your dachshund.

Crate rest for the dachshund with suspected or confirmed IVDD is mandatory.

Please do not wait for your vet to give this instruction as for some reason, many assume you already know this. So crate. The confinement the crate provides allows little movement for the dog and provides a safe place for the back to rest and heal.

IVDD Doxies at DRBC follow the following regiment with care rest:

The injured doxie is kept in a crate.
This is a doxie in a crate, anything else is not crate rest.
Here are some things that are NOT crate rest:

  • Not in the crate
  • On the couch with you
  • In an exercise pen [X-Pen]
  • In a small room
  • Tied to a doorknob
  • Sitting near you, because they are ‘quiet’
  • In your arms because they seemed unhappy or lonely

The properly sized crate is generally inexpensive and does not take up much space in your home. The size of the crate should allow the dog to turn around, but not walk around in the crate. Many pet stores including PetCo or Cutter’s Mill have staff that can help in the sizing of a crate for your dachshund dog.

Like crate rest, not allowing your dog movement when out of the crate for potty breaks and alike is also critical. Only a few steps should be taken. No walks. Face it, you know where their favorite spot is in the yard, so take them there and don’t allow wandering. That little bit of motion can be detrimental to the healing process.

Dogs that have limited or no sensation in their hind quarter will eliminate their bladder and bowels in a non-controlled manner. This can lead to urine scald and represents an unsanitary form of living. Express these animals on a scheduled basis and keep their crate clean and well padded with blankets for comfort and absorbability. A pee or wee-wee pad can be placed over the blankets to help keep the crate clean while a warm soapy washcloth will remove urine from the skin. A soft towel should be used to dry your doxie. Unsanitary conditions can lead to open sores and infection, so be sure to check the doxie’s bedding frequently.

Every treatment path contains risks. Here are the risks DRBC considers when approaching a doxie that follows a conservative treatment course:

Infection is a risk for the conservative treatment path. These include:

  • Bladder Infection – Incomplete bladder emptying.
  • Skin Sores – Ineffective cleaning or allowing the dog to move and drag limbs.
  • Pneumonia – Caused by a compromised immune system and prolonged confinement.

Anesthesia can cause death. This risk is very, very low, but must be included in our evaluation. Anesthesia may be used to conduct an MRI.
Medications will be used to reduce inflammation of the disc[s] and some doxies will experience side effects while using these medications.
The conservative treatment could fail and surgery may still be indicated.
Additional disc ruptures may occur in the future. Elimination of cause is critical in reducing this risk.

Additional Notes:

  • There are no ‘over-the-counter’ fixes for IVDD. Please consult a qualified veterinarian before using any medications or OTC products with your dachshund.
  • The information offered herein is for informational and educational and purposes only. Seek the timely care of a licensed veterinarian or veterinary surgeon if you believe your dog is exhibiting any of the signs or symptoms of IVDD. This website does not seek to diagnose or treat IVDD.