Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – Cervical Area - Page 2

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Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – Cervical Area

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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Related Symptoms or Diseases

The combination of your dog's breed, history of clinical signs and the veterinary examination will be suggestive of a cervical spinal problem. In the neck region, disc disease would be the most likely cause of a spinal disorder, particularly in 4 to 9 year old chondrodystrophic breeds of dogs.

  • A fracture or dislocation of the spine is almost always associated with severe trauma such as falling from a high place or being hit by a car.

  • Young dogs can develop abnormalities in the neurological function of the limbs due to congenital deformities of the spine, which will often show up on plain X-rays.

  • Infections within the disc space (diskospondylitis) or of the spinal bones (osteomylelitis) can produce neck pain. These infections occur more commonly in young, growing dogs and usually produce changes that can be seen on an X-ray.

  • Small breeds of dogs can be born with an instability between the first and second cervical vertebrae known as an atlantoaxial instability. They can also acquire the condition after birth. It can usually be demonstrated on plain X-rays.

  • Tumors that compress the spinal cord tend to occur in very young animals or older animals. In the absence of bone changes on a plain X-ray, the diagnosis of cervical spinal cancer would be made by use of myelography, CT scan or MRI.

  • Dogs can have a "stroke-like" disorder of the spinal cord called a fibrocartilaginous emboli or FCE. A small piece of disc material is thought to block the blood vessels supplying an area of the cord. This usually results in cord damage and problems with the back legs. This disorder is normally not progressive, not painful and can produce signs of different severity between the left and right sides.

  • During the history and general physical examination your pet will be evaluated to ensure that no poison or other toxic substance has been ingested that could be causing a "drunken" hind leg gait.

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