What’s Conservative Treatment for IVDD in Dogs? – PETSHORT


In case your Dachshund has suffered a back injury and been diagnosed with Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), conservative treatment, sometimes known as “crate rest”, could also be really useful.

In this text, I explain what IVDD is, when conservative treatment can be really useful, and what to anticipate, including the fee and probability of recovery.

A Quick Summary of Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is a condition in dogs where the cushion-like discs between the vertebrae of the spine degenerate and bulge or rupture, causing pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Symptoms of IVDD in dogs may include back pain, reluctance to maneuver or walk, weakness or paralysis within the limbs, and incontinence.

IVDD is commonest in certain breeds, including Dachshunds, Frenchies, Beagles, Chihuahuas, and Corgis.

Nevertheless, IVDD affects the Dachshund breed probably the most, being present in roughly 98% of them to some extent.

Thankfully, although most Dachshunds have the genetic disease, because it’s related to the chondrodystrophy, or dwarfism, gene (which provides the Dachshund a protracted body but short legs) only about 25% can be noticeably affected of their lifetime.

If you must learn more, you may read in-depth about IVDD and dog back problems in my article The Truth About Dachshunds and Back Problems.

When IVDD causes a spinal disk to rupture and put pressure in your dog’s back nerves, conservative treatment could also be really useful as the most effective course for healing and recovery.

Note: The opposite, commonest treatment suggestion is back surgery.

When is Conservative Treatment Really useful for a Dachshund?

Whether or not your veterinarian recommends conservative treatment, aka. strict crate rest, as the first treatment for a disk rupture relies on their experience with IVDD, the degree of back injury, and the prospect of recovery with this approach to treatment.

Should you take your dog to the vet with a suspected back problem, they are going to evaluate your dog’s pain level, the degree of feeling of their limbs, and grade the severity of injury on a scale from 1 to five, with 1 being the mildest case and grade 5 being probably the most severe.

At grades 1 and a couple of, that are considered mild, conservative (non-surgical) treatment is commonly the initial suggestion, at the least until, and if, it becomes clear that your Dachshund just isn’t healing on their very own.

Do know that even in case your dog does get back surgery, a period of conservative treatment can be required after to make sure the spine heals properly.

Also, although not common, some owners opt to go the conservative treatment route despite a surgery suggestion as a result of the fee (surgery costs and average of $10,000) and private feelings about it.

What’s Conservative Treatment for IVDD in Dogs?

Conservative treatment for intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) in dogs is a way of managing the condition without surgery.

Conservative treatment for IVDD in dogs may include:

Crate rest

Strict crate rest means keeping your dog in a crate or small pen to limit movement, prevent further damage to the spinal cord or nerves, and permit scar tissue to form over the affected spinal disks.

That is the important thing component of conservative treatment and healing just isn’t possible unless that is implemented.


Initially, a steroid could also be administered to your dog to jumpstart the healing process.

Anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers can be prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation related to IVDD throughout the recovery period.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy exercises for IVDD, comparable to range-of-motion, massage, core strengthening exercises, and hydrotherapy could also be really useful to enhance mobility and reduce pain.

Alternative therapies

Alternative therapy techniques comparable to acupuncture or cold laser treatments might also be used to administer pain, stimulate the body’s natural healing process, and improve mobility in dogs with IVDD.

Conservative treatment for IVDD typically requires close monitoring by a veterinarian and will must be adjusted based on the dog’s response to treatment.

In some cases, if a dog doesn’t improve through conservative treatment alone, surgery may grow to be mandatory to treat their back injury in spite of everything.

This is very true if the dog continues to experience severe pain and the symptoms, like weakness within the limbs, progress.

Will My Dog Fully Get better with Conservative Treatment?

Whether your dog fully recovers from an IVDD-related back injury through conservative treatment alone (ie. only using non-surgical methods) relies on your particular dog and the way strictly you adhere to the protocol.

Genetics plays a really significant consider your dog’s recovery.

Some dogs have severe disk generation that causes the disk condition to worsen or for other disks within the spine to rupture after the primary assessment was done.

In my experience, just about all Dachshunds who were diagnosed with grade 1 or 2 disk injuries fully or mostly get well with 6-12 weeks of conservative treatment.

Officially, it has been reported that the recovery prognosis for dogs at grade 1 or 2, choosing non-surgical (conservative) treatment, is 95% to 100% (source).

It’s also been my experience that the vast majority of Dachshunds who receive surgery immediately, after which complete 4-6 weeks of conservative treatment, fully or mostly get well.

Nevertheless, the actual reported success rate for conservative treatment with surgery at grades 4 or 5 (when surgery is most frequently really useful) is 50% to 90%.

If a dog is grade 4 or 5 and surgery is really useful, but an owner opts for the non-surgical conservative treatment option anyway, the recovery prognosis is just 30% to 80%.

So, in case your query is whether or not a dog can get well from an IVDD-related injury without surgery, the reply is totally if caught early and the injury is just at grade 1 or 2.

At grates 3-5, the final result is less certain, and it is affordable to anticipate your dog may never walk again or will at the least have mild mobility issues when you don’t do surgery before the conservative treatment.

What Does Conservative Treatment Cost?

Once I see discussions around cost and IVDD injury treatment, it at all times revolves across the surgery cost, which is shockingly high (around $10,000).

Nevertheless, I feel it’s necessary that folks be made aware conservative treatment just isn’t free, and never necessarily low cost.

In a nutshell, depending on all the methods employed, and the duration of the conservative treatment period, the fee can easily reach $5,000, which is half the fee of back surgery.

At the most affordable end, if one only does the crate rest and absolutely nothing else, I might expect the conservative treatment cost to be at the least $500.

Even assuming someone already has a dog crate that may work for conservative treatment, there can be costs related to:

  • Potty pads to put under the dog within the bed in case they’ve an accident
  • Missed work to properly care to your dog (yes, that counts as an expense too)
  • Possibly equipment like a sling to support your dog after they are outside using the lavatory.

If someone – like I did – does every thing possible inside the conservative treatment protocol for 10 weeks, the fee can be closer to the $5,000 mark.

My costs included:

  • Visits to a rehab veterinarian to envision on progress and for treatment recommendations
  • Hydrotherapy (walking on an underwater treadmill)
  • Sessions at a dog gym for strengthening exercises
  • A dog stroller to make use of as a mobile crate and so I could take my Dachshund for walks outside
  • Pet CBD to assist her stay still and calm during crate rest.

Paradoxically, my pet insurance would have covered 90% of back surgery after my deductible but didn’t cover any of the conservative treatment (I feel they’d have covered the cold laser, but I used to be too distressed to make the claim).

Due to this fact, I actually paid more for conservative treatment than I might have for surgery.

Nevertheless, since conservative treatment is really useful after surgery, although typically for a shorter time period, I probably would have ended up paying near the identical amount out of pocket.

Final Thoughts

When a dog suffers a back injury, conservative treatment is at all times really useful.

Sometimes it’s really useful as a non-surgical treatment option and other times it’s endorsed as a follow-up to surgery for correct healing.

Conservative treatment is typically simply known as crate rest because confining your dog to a small space, like a dog crate, to maintain them as still as possible is the first component of conservative treatment.

But crate rest just isn’t the entire picture.

Conservative treatment can even include massage, exercises to strengthen muscles, acupuncture, cold laser treatment, and more.

If the injury as a result of disk degradation is low-grade (rating 1 or 2), and acted on early, the prospect of recovery with crate rest alone is near 100%.

If surgery is really useful for higher grade injuries, it’s still possible for a dog to get well without surgery however the recovery prognosis in that case is closer to 30% to 80%.

Unfortunately, whatever the degree of recovery, since IVDD is a genetic disease that deteriorates the spinal disks, there may be a probability that a unique disk can rupture and cause an injury in the longer term.

I hope this details about conservative treatment helps you understand what it’s, how you can properly implement it, and provides you hope for a positive final result.


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