Intervertebral Disc Disease, is a degenerative disease that affects countless breeds at various ages and activity levels.
Read the story of Jeter and how he was helped by a Wiggleless back brace to become “Jail Free”.
The disease occurs when discs in the spinal column begin to shift so much so that they protrude outward, pressing against the spinal cord and its nerves. There are two types of IVDD and yes, both young and old dogs can have it! This degenerative spine condition can occur in some pups after years of jumping, while having short legs and a long body.
One such pup is Jeter, an 8yo Shih Tzu /Bichon mix who developed acute back pain and was miserable. His owners said he wouldn’t eat or move. The Vet did an X-ray and diagnosed him with IVDD. He was given anti-inflammatory medication and his owners were told they needed to wait a month to see how he would do, but he was already showing some neurological deficit in one leg.
The Vet also said he needed to lay quiet for one whole month! – not get up on beds or chairs; no jumping, limit his walking, and lots of crate rest. It broke their hearts to see little Jeter in discomfort, and the worst part was having to prevent him from sitting in his chair and sleeping in their bed. Not only was he in pain and miserable, but he didn’t understand why they were keeping him “in jail”.
For both types of IVDD, rest, laser light therapy, anti-inflammatories, and even surgery are the common protocol and can aid in helping to manage, if not completely relieve, dog back pain; however, making your pups life comfortable in other ways, especially during the rehabilitation process is incredibly important, as their mental health is as important as their physical health.
Luckily, we are now sharing more and more stories of how we can make strides towards wellness and bring relief to our fur babies and there is so much helpful advice these days on the web to help you and your little sufferers live a high quality life with IVDD- the key words being HIGH QUALITY LIFE! – Here are a few tips, especially helpful during recovery:
Back support – after a period of recovery, it is important to keep your dog’s back stable and straight. In Jeter’s case, wearing a WiggleLess® back brace gave him the support he needed to give his legs more traction. He was able to lie in his favorite chair, walk, lift his leg to do his business, and go up and down one step, while wearing his back brace.
Eliminate stress on back and neck – raise food and water bowls so that your dog doesn’t have to bend down to eat or drink; keep the crate your pup is recovering in at a higher level so that he doesn’t have to raise his head to look at you or his surroundings.
Diet – maintain your dog’s healthy weight to reduce stress on their backbone and neck.
Food – moisten kibble or feed them wet food. Chewing can cause stress on the jaw and neck, which can result in pain. Same goes for chew toys or treats. Abstain from these completely during the recovery period.
Acupuncture Therapy – this is particularly good for dogs that respond poorly to or cannot tolerate medication. Surgery may not be an option due to health or finances. Acupuncture may be one option to look into, as it regenerates neurons mobilizing stem cell regrowth.
Laser Light Therapy – although costly, LT has been proven to reduce tenderness, pain and speed up the tissue healing process.
Environment – lots of love, comfort, warmth, encouragement, and a peaceful environment. Dogs get stressed out just like us humans do. Stress makes it hard to heal!
With the right diagnosis and the right treatment, IVDD is manageable, and remembering the simple ingredients it takes to make your dog feel loved and happy is top of the list. At WiggleLess®, we strive weekly to work with the local community and our friends across the US and abroad to bring IVDD to the forefront of the pet community so we can all learn and share but most of all help all our beloved dogs to live the longest, healthiest lives possible.
AUTHOR BIO: Lisa Luckenbach has developed WiggleLess® back braces for dogs that are overweight and need extra support, elderly with aching backs, diagnosed with IVDD-related back problems, or overly active and can benefit from the structure a dog back brace provides. In addition to running WiggleLess®, Lisa is a registered yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, public speaker, ordained minister, and breast cancer survivor. She shares her home with her husband and three spunky, adopted dogs, Ryder (Cocker Spaniel), LaVerne (Schnauzer/Doxie mix), and Chai (Doxie/Jack russell mix). Visit WiggleLess.com to learn more about Lisa and her back brace for dogs.