Intervertebral Disc Disease (Vet Specialists)

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Filed Under: Neurology

The intervertabral discs (the cushion in the space between the bones of the spine) have conditions and forces that can make them swell or rupture over time.  This rupture leads to two types of damage to the spinal cord, compression and concussion.  The extent of the damge and nerve cells loss is determined by:

  • Type of force
  • Degree of force applied to the spinal cord
  • Length of time that the force was applied

Relatively minor spinal cord damage can lead to loss of coordination and a "drunken sailor" type of walk.  Damage that is more signifcant leads to loss of walking or moving the legs.  Severe damage can lead to the entire loss of pain sensation.  This can carry a very poor prognosis for recovery depending on the duration that pain perception has been lost.

Chondrodystrophiod breed dogs (Dachshund, Pekinese, Beagle, Lhas Apso, etc.) account for the vast majority of all disc ruptures, with the Dachshund accounting for 45-70% of all cases.  In these dogs, average onset of clinical signs is between 3-6 years of age, although x-rays show disc calcification is ususally evident by 2 years of age.  Nonchondrodystrophoid dogs (Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, etc.) usually present between 5 and 12 years of age.  Thoracolumbar (back region) discs account for 65% of all disc ruptures, while cerivical (neck region) account for up to 18%.

For more detailed information regarding Intervertebral Disc Disease see below Ariticle provided by Vet Specialists: