Intervertebral Disc Disease

Cheryl L. Chrisman, DVM, MS, EdS
…The intervertebral (IV) disc is a spongy cushion that is located between the vertebrae just below the spinal canal and spinal cord. The IV disc acts like a shock absorber and adds flexibility during movement of the spinal column. There are approximately 34 IV discs throughout the entire neck and back. Each IV disc consists of an outer tough ring that has a soft gelatinous center much like a day old jelly filled donut.
IV disc disease is a degeneration of the disc that can occur due to premature or normal aging specific to certain breeds of dogs. A degenerating IV disc can rupture and spill its contents into the spinal canal (Type I disc herniation). This is often referred to as a slipped disc and can irritate, bruise or compress the spinal cord causing sudden pain or paralysis. A degenerating IV disc can also enlarge and slowly push up into the spinal canal (Type II disc disease) and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots which enter and exit the spinal cord causing a slow
progressive staggering gait, weakness in the legs or complete limb paralysis. Type I intervertebral disc herniation will be discussed here. Continue reading Intervertebral Disc Disease