Treatment of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVD)
Veterinarian Reviewed on October 21, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Integrative veterinary care has a lot of options to offer dogs who suffer paralysis or paresis ( partial paralysis) from IVD. Chiropractic is very important for these dogs as one of our posters has pointed out. Chiropractic can actually be used for prevention in breeds that are subject to IVD. Regular chiropractic care can improve vertebral flexibility and prevent the degeneration. Even after an IVD incidence chiropractic help restore the normal motion of the spine and reverse the degenerative process. Animal chiropractic should only be performed by a chiropractor or veterinarian with special training in treating animals. I would never advise a chiropractic adjustment of the spine within 14 days of an acute disc problem unless the practitioner is extremely familiar with this condition and has had special training. After this period however. chiropractic can speed healing.
Physical therapy and massage therapy can play a key role in recovery from IVD. Massage therapy is used to maintain flexibility, for muscle spasm and to increase the blood supply. Owners can be taught how to do this for their pet by a qualified professional. Physical therapy (PT) should be started immediately after surgery or after the incident has happened. If no surgery has been performed a 14 day waiting period for more aggressive PT should be observed. Minimally all owners should be moving all the joints of the paralyzed limbs several times daily. Warm water hydrotherapy can be started after 2 weeks. Often dogs who will not or can not walk in air are able to walk in water. Many different exercises can be done to help these dogs recover. PT balls work well for these patients. If your dog suffers from this condition it is important not to give up hope . Even without surgery, more than 50 percent of these dogs will recover some function of their legs. With PT and acupuncture up to 85 % will recover. It is important to seek out a veterinarian certified in Canine Rehabilitation Therapy to help you with your pet.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan