Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) Guide and Resources

In 2016, my miniature Dachshund Gretel diagnosed with a Grade II disk rupture due to IVDD, a genetic disease that affects approximately 1 in 4 Dachshunds.

Since then, I have met – both online and in person – and cared for Dachshunds with back issues caused by the disease.

I have a science background, and was absolutely committed to helping my own Dachshund heal completely so she could return to hiking, so I studied IVDD with a vigorous passion.

My experience with IVDD includes:

  • Members of our 1,000-member Dachshund club sharing their IVDD stories with me
  • Extensive research on IVDD, including talking with veterinarians and scientists from around the world
  • Personal experience with my own Dachshund as well as several others I’ve walked and dog sat over the years (both surgery recovery and conservative treatment).
How to Choose the Right Crate for Your Small Dog

I created this page so you could find all of the articles I’ve written about IVDD, and all of the resources and articles I’ve found helpful over the years, in one place.

To be clear: I am not a veterinarian

I do consider myself an expert on the topic of IVDD but can’t know everything and the information I share should not take the place of advice from your veterinarian.

My aim is to arm you with information so you know what questions to ask him or her and to supplement what you learn from them.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

About Back Problems in Dachshunds and Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

IVDD is a genetic disease that causes the disk between the vertebrae in the spine to age prematurely and bulge or rupture, pinching a nerve.

The most common way that IVDD is caught is when a Dachshund is normal one minute and then is dragging their legs or can’t walk the next. It can be quite a shock!

Unfortunately, IVDD is not preventable so the most important things you can do is know the signs and get your Dachshund to the vet right away.

Read these articles below for more.

The Next Steps: What To Expect During IVDD Recovery and How to Help

IVDD disk ruptures (sometime called a slipped disk but that is not a technically correct term), are treated one for two ways – conservative treatment or by surgical intervention.

Both methods will involve a period of crate rest and can include alternative treatments and therapies to help support recovery.

Below are my articles explaining the two primary treatment methods in more detail so you know what to expect.

Also included in this section are other therapies and treatments that can be useful additions to an IVDD recovery plan.

IVDD Back Injury Prevention

To be absolutely clear, you can’t prevent IVDD – the disease – nor a disk rupture – the result of the disease.

However, for those owners who are even aware, the thought of their dog having IVDD and losing mobility scares the crap out of them.

Because of this fear, it’s natural to try to find some kind of preventative solution so it doesn’t happen to their dog.

Therefore, I’m providing some information about what can be done in hopes of influencing the frequency or severity of IVDD-related disk ruptures.

Prognosis: Can a Dog with IVDD Live a Normal Life?

Many people believe that a Dachshund with IVDD must be treated like they are fragile.

While it’s true that a little extra precaution should be taken if it’s known that a Dachshund has IVDD, their life doesn’t need to be full of restrictions.

Dachshunds with IVDD, whether they fully or partially recover, can go on to live a long, happy life.

If an owner has the time and resources, they can even help their fully paralyzed Dachshund live a fulfilled life.

Below, you will find articles about the reoccurrence of an IVDD-related back injury and helping a Dachshund with IVDD life a normal life.

A handy chart of IVDD episode symptoms and what to do if you expect your Dachshund is having an episode
(click for larger version of this Infographic)

Other IVDD Resources


Dodgerslist is one of the definitive resources on IVDD compiled by a woman’s whose beloved dog was euthanized because of lack of knowledge about IVDD treatment.

Her mission is to teach people about the disease and what their treatments options are.

Dachshund IVDD Uk

The US is woefully behind some other countries when it comes to the knowledge and study of IVDD.

Dachshund IVDD Uk (Dachshund Health UK) is an educational website operated by the Dachshund Breed Council UK.

I would easily say that their website is one of the top 10 resources on IVDD – especially one aimed at pet owners – in the world.

K9 Backpack

The K9 BackPack is very knowledgeable and supportive group of folks that make it their mission to help you.

Dealing with an IVDD diagnosis can be devastating and dealing with potential long-term effects can be trying. These kind folks are here to help you.

IVDD and Other Back Disorders in Dachshunds Facebook Group

Note: you must request to join and be approved

This group is for people who are interested in IVDD and other Back Disorders in Dachshunds. People in this group are among some of the most knowledgeable.

It’s a great place to get support, discuss challenges, and celebrate successes with other owners of IVDD dogs.

IVDD Dachshunds / IVDD Funds Facebook Group

Note: you must request to join and be approved

This is a non-profit group whose goal is to help raise funds for conservative treatment so they can help needy Dachshunds, and small dogs, and their owners.

People in the group share their experiences thru the IVDD treatment process.

Final Thoughts

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) is genetic and what is referred to as “fixed” in the Dachshund breed, meaning that almost all Dachshunds have at least one copy of the gene that causes it.

Because IVDD can result in a disk rupture, which can cause paralysis or even death (in very rare cases), it strikes fear in the hearts of Dachshund owners everywhere.

Just because there is no test to predict IVDD, so an owner won’t know if their Dachshund has it until they suffer a disk injury, doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.

The number one thing you can do to help protect your Dachshund is to understand the disease, and signs of a disk rupture, so you can take start crate rest immediately to help prevent further injury.

Veterinary attention will be needed immediately for a formal diagnosis and to obtain medication to reduce pain and kickstart recovery.

Remember, the fear of IVDD does not mean your Dachshund can’t “be a normal dog” nor does an IVDD diagnosis mean that a dog is destined for a boring, low-quality life.

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) is a genetic disease that affects the spine. Because IVDD can cause a disk to age prematurely and rupture, resulting in paralysis or even death (in very rare cases), it strikes fear in the hearts of Dachshund owners everywhere. The number one thing you can do to help protect your Dachshund is to understand the disease and the signs of a disk rupture.