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Intervertebral Disk Disease - Back Problems with the Boxer Dog
What is Canine Disk Disease (IVD)?

On a dog’s spinal column are disks; these are cushion-type features that absorb the movements of the dog’s back.  The disk has 2 layers, one is the outer layer wish is hard yet flexible, somewhat like cartilage.  The other layer is the inner layer which is a gel-like substance.

IVD disease occurs when:

The inner layer migrates and presses on the dog’s spinal cord; this can be either partially or fully.


 
What are the Symptoms When a Dog Has This Back Problem?

When your dog has this health problem, it is usually very easy to notice.  Symptoms will be:

•    Pain in the back or neck – your dog may show whine when moving, may retreat (many dogs want to be alone when in pain, as a defense mechanism) or aggression (another defense mechanism)
•    Loss of motion – Your dog will be unable to do things that they once were able to.  Your Boxer may have trouble rising, walking, climbing stairs, etc.
•    Weakness of the legs – In severe cases a dog will drag their legs as they try to scoot along the floor instead of walking
•    Loss of bladder or bowel control – a dog that is normally very well housetrained will begin to have “accidents” in the home
•    Whining or crying when their head or back is touched or when exercising
•    Paralysis – if not treated early enough

How is this Diagnosed?

The dog’s behavior will most likely be all that the veterinarian needs to see in order to know that the dog has IVD.  Tests will be done to confirm this.
 
Is this Treatable?

Boxer dogs with this back problem do have some hope in recovering. A good vet will make every effort to keep the dog as comfortable as possible.  The dog will receive medication, including:

•    Anti-inflammatory mediation
•    Muscle relaxants

It is important for a dog to rest when he has back problems.  The dog should not be pushed to walk or do anything which will cause pain.  Many owners find that the use of doggie diapers come in handy if the dog cannot control their bladder and/or bowel.  While this is more commonly seen with small breed dogs, doggie diapers for larger breeds are manufactured as well. If there is no improvement with rest and mediation, surgery may be advised.