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What is a Slipped Spinal Disc / Intervertebral Disc Disease?

Intervertebral disc disease in dogs and cats occurs when the jelly-like inner layer of the vertebral disc protrudes, or herniates, into the vertebral canal and presses on the spinal cord, typically causing extreme and debilitating pain. Compression of the spinal cord may be minimal (causing mild back or neck pain) to severe (causing paralysis, loss of sensation, and lack of bladder and bowel control) and may be irreversible.

Disc problems such as herniated discs (also referred to as ruptured or slipped spinal discs) primarily occur in chondrodysplastic (chondro - cartilage, dysplastic - abnormal development) breeds such as the Dachshund, Beagle, Bassett Hound, Pomeranian, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, and Miniature Poodle. Many of these dogs were bred to have short, thick legs, and although this is normal for the breeds, it is basically the result of abnormal development of cartilage.

Doberman Pinschers (Dobies, also commonly misspelled as Doberman Pinshers) can also be affected by intervertebral disc disease, commonly in the neck region.

While surgery can be recommended as a treatment for this disease, intermittent joint pain can also be treated with pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs (eg. buffered aspirin), and "Chondroprotective agents" such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. It's also critical to keep your dog from becoming overweight, as the added weight places additional strain on the vertebral discs.

Flint River Ranch has developed two glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate-fortified products to assist in the possible prevention and holistic treatment of slipped spinal discs and similar intervertebral disc issues: our Flint River Ranch PLUS premium pet food and our Jubilee Wafer dog treats.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are naturally occurring nutritional supplements widely recommended for their potential value in helping animals suffering from or genetically predisposed to suffering from arthritis and joint pain, including disc disease. The organic supplements are believed to help rebuild the cartilage that cushions and protects joints.

Seek veterinary treatment if your pet's condition worsens. With extra care and nutrition, your pet can live a long, happy and virtually pain-free life with disc disease.

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Some of the information on elbow dysplasia courtesy of the Canine Inherited Disorders Database.

Related terms: Degenerative Disc Disease, osteoarthritis, osteochondrodysplasia, chondrodystrophoid, IVDD, Type I IVDD, Type II IVDD, cervical vertebral instability or Wobbler's disease (Doberman Pinschers),

FAQs: Pet Health Risks and Remedies

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