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Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

Mon, Oct 27, 2014

Patient: “Fritz”, a 7 year-old male neutered miniature dachshund

History: The owner reports that Fritz has been a healthy dog until yesterday, when he began having difficulty using his hind limbs. This morning, Fritz is dragging his hind legs and is unable to walk.

Physical exam findings: Fritz has minimal ability to move his hind legs and is unable to bear weight or walk (paresis). The veterinarian is able to localize the neurological problem to the thoracolumbar (T-L) portion of his spine. She orders an MRI study of the T-L spine to identify the exact cause and location of the spinal cord abnormality.

MRI findings: Degenerative intervertebral disc causing compression and damage to the spinal cord.

Diagnosis: Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is a common condition in chondrodystrophic (long-backed) breeds such as the miniature dachshund, corgi, Basset hound, French bulldog, and others. The images obtained by MRI allow the veterinarian to localize this problem to a specific disc space. Based on this information, surgery is commonly recommended to remove the offending disc material from the spinal canal.