IVDD Surgical Approach


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.

The table or menu shown below will guide you through the various options.






IVDD Surgical Treatment

More often than we like, surgery is indicated. Fortunately, we have the base exam results. Now what? Here is a typical scenario for our group when surgery is the path chosen.

One of the rules DRBC follows with a dog that has been examined and found to be healthy is that no more than 96 hours can pass from the time of the injury to the surgical relief to the spinal cord and the evaluation of deep pain sensation. This is less time than it appears, a fact that is complicated by rarely being able to determine the moment of injury.

For this example, the dog was not located in a DRBC core foster home and needed time to reach us for transfer to the emergency hospital. This is a worst case scenario for us, but it can happen. The dog involved returned to normal function, but both the neurosurgeon and all of us here at the rescue questioned if we were in time.

Notice we skipped the trip to the general care veterinarian which eliminated the drive distance between the two facilities. This is common for DRBC, but may not be the average owner's first step. Add 5–6 more hours to your timetable if the general care veterinarian is included in your plan.

Treatment Progression
Hour 0
The injury occurs.
Hour 50
The problem is detected in the home. Normally, a 36-hour credit is given here unless we witness the injury but in this case, the injury was not clearly obvious to the foster home.
Hour 53
The dog arrives at DRBC for transfer to the emergency hospital. 3 hours were allotted here to allow for settling family matters and driving time. DRBC will move without an appointment for a presumed disc injury and will proceed to our neurosurgeon.
Hour 55
We arrive at the emergency hospital and check-in. Within 15 minutes, we are seen by a veterinary nurse and surgical resident or intern.
Hour 57
The general exam is complete and the neurosurgeon will talk to us about diagnosis, treatment plan, and potential prognosis based on observed findings. This is also the point at which the decision to have a myelogram or an MRI is made.
Hour 69
Unless immediate surgery is required DRBC will opt to stabilize and wait for the MRI. The wait can be upwards of 12 hours depending on when the MRI is being used for neurological evaluation.
Hour 70
The results of the MRI and other tests are reviewed by the neurosurgeon and DRBC is contacted to discuss. Surgery will be scheduled for the purposes of his example.
Hour 78
Our dog was not the most critical case on the surgeon's docket that day. Our dog waits their turn.
Hour 80
The dog is prepped for surgery and moved to the operating room. The surgery begins.
Hour 83
The surgery is complete and the immediate danger has been removed. The animal is recovered from surgery and transferred to the post-op area or ICU. Medications to reduce swelling and inflammation are given along with supportive fluids.
Hour 91
The animal recovers from anesthesia and the wait for the return of deep pain begins.

It is not hard to have time, a critical key to surgical success, get away from us all. DRBC's response time is generally quicker and thanks to a phenomenal team of surgeons we have a 99% success rate, but every second counts, and that transportation, tests, and waiting take time. This is why we crate and move without haste to the neurosurgeon. Just like the MRI, time is an important tool for this highly qualified veterinarian.

Surgical Risks

Risk is part of any surgery. Here are the risks DRBC considers when approaching a doxie that requires surgery:

  • A myelogram may cause seizures related to the dye used during the test. While seizures usually subside within 24 hours, this procedure is not suggested for older animals or animals with other inherent health risks.
  • Infection is always a risk for any surgical procedure. Our surgeons take every precaution to prevent this risk, but it is evaluated for all DRBC dogs.
  • Anesthesia can cause death. This risk is very, very low, but must be included in our evaluation.
  • The surgery could fail and the animal could be left paralyzed or might die. This is the risk that we talk the longest with our neurosurgeon about. Timing and the degree of disc rupture and post-operative inflammation will be key factors here.
  • Additional disc ruptures may occur in the future. Elimination of cause is critical in reducing this risk.

What Can You Expect?

Great question. The answers are as varied as the dogs that undergo this procedure. Here is a video that will give you an idea of what to expect:

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.