How is IVDD in my dog different from a person’s herniated disc?
Intervertebral Disc disease is a major neurological problem that affects both canines and humans. Although it is the same disease, the symptoms and outcomes are very different due to differences in how our spinal cords lie. In humans the spinal cord ends mid back whereas in dogs the spinal chord ends in the low back area. With this in mind as well as the major difference of humans walking on two legs and dogs on four our spines can be affected quite differently. When humans walk upright the jarring forces are mainly transferred straight up the spinal column from the legs. The low back area is mainly made up of nerves and can absorb those forces as well twisting forces (axial rotation). Therefore, the low back area is most susceptible to injury and possible herniation in humans. When disk herniation occurs, the herniated material presses on nerve roots and not the spinal cord which results in serious pain, but very seldom leg paralysis.
Our lil ones on the other hand walk on all four legs causing the jarring forces to hit them at a right angle to the spinal column. When dogs jump down onto their front limbs the major line of force shoots all the way down their spinal column causing compression on individual disks and promotes the chance of herniation. This is why jumping can be so hazardous for your lil one! Also, twisting forces are very dangerous to your dog’s back as their mid back area is where most of the forces during daily activity is absorbed. Herniation of this mid back area is very serious as the spinal cord is present and can be compressed by the herniated disk material. Therefore, herniation in dogs can be far more devastating can cause paralysis.
Information found on dachshund-dca.org.