Intervertebral Disc Disease

Bony vertebrae protect the spinal cord and these vertebrae are separated by intervertebral disc or soft cushions which act as shock absorbers and help in spine flexion. Intervertebral discs are jelly-like that have a soft interior and a firm exterior.  With the increasing age, the outer portion of the jelly-like cushion is prone to deteriorate and eventually degenerates which leads to pushing out of the interior of the disc. This happens with so much force that it causes bruises to the spine laying above it. The bruised spinal cord becomes swollen and is compressed by the surrounding bones. The compression of the spinal cord hinders it from nerve conduction which causes acute pain and leads to paralysis. Intervertebral disc disease is diagnosed by a physical examination which is followed by c X-ray. However, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are reliable in locating the lesions and have replaced the myelogram X-ray. Pain management, oral anti-inflammatory medication, and cage rest can benefit the dog when the symptoms are mild while in severe cases emergency surgery is required to restore the nerve function and prevent irreversible damage to nerves.