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Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs

weimaraner dog with spine issues


Intervertebral disc disease is caused by degeneration in the cervical (neck) or thoracolumbar (along the back) areas of the spinal column. Two primary forms of the disease occur in dogs, called Hansen Types I and II intervertebral disc disease. These both involve degeneration of intervertebral discs, but the mechanisms of degeneration and the predisposed breeds are different.

Regardless of the form of disc disease, prompt treatment is needed to prevent further damage.


Some symptoms, which can be sudden or gradual include neck pain and stiffness, lowered head stance, back pain and stiffness, yelping unexpectedly when touched or moving, abdominal tenderness or tenseness, an arched back or hunched posture, sensitivity to touch, uncontrollable urination, lameness, dragging one or more legs when walking, reluctance to rise, tremors, trembling, shaking, collapse and paralysis in one or more limbs.


Treatment options range from rest and conservative medical management including pain medications and physical therapy to surgery in severe cases. Intervertebral disc disease is also referred to as Slipped Disc, Intervertebral Disk Herniation, Disk Disease, Herniated Discs, Ruptured Disc and Degenerative Disc Disease.

If your dog suffers from degenerative disc disease veterinary care including medications and surgery can cost thousands of dollars. Pet health insurance helps pay for expensive veterinary care when your dog needs it the most.

Cost to Treat: $3,000 to $9,000

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Other Spine Issues in Dogs

Here is a list of common disc diseases in dog that you should be aware of:

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