Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs FUNCTION

The spinal cord travels from your bulldog’s head/brain to its pelvis, serving as the main pipeline/highway for the upstream and downstream of neurological input and output.
It includes motor function, proprioception (body position), sensory impulses, and pain.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs ANATOMY

Your bulldog and French bulldog spinal cords are protected by the spinal canal. The canal is molded from various types of bone-made vertebra bodies.
The spinal column is divided by sections, starting with the Cervical and followed by the Thoracic, Lumbar, and Sacral.
Between each pair of spinal vertebrae lies a spongy disc that is composed of a gelatinous center surrounded by a fibrous shell.
These discs allow for the movements, twisting, and flexibility of your bully’s stiff, bony vertebrae. They also help hold the vertebrae together and act as a shock absorber.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs DISC HIBERNATION:

If the inner disc part herniates through its shell, it protrudes and compresses the delicate nerve tissue of the spinal cord, which in turn will inflict injury, and bring on inflammation, pain, and swelling. Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogsClinical presentation depends on the severity of the injury and the trauma location.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs PREDISPOSITION:

IVDD is common to bulldogs and French bulldogs due to the breed’s genetic predisposition.
Bully IVDD may be sudden and occur at a young age.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs OTHER BACK PROBLEMS:

Other common bulldog and French bulldog back conditions are:

MALFORMATIONS:  Malformations of their vertebrae, such as hemivertebrae and Spina bifida.
FRACTURE: Spinal Fracture or dislocation of the spine most commonly associated with trauma.
OSTEOMYALITIS: Spinal infections.
CANCER: Spinal tumors of the spinal bone or cord.
EMBOLI: Fibrocartilaginous emboli, is an acute “stroke-like” disorder of the spinal cord. In contrast to other spinal conditions such as Bulldog IVDD, Bulldog FCE is a painless spinal condition with the exception of an initial sharp pain that soon subsides.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs CLINICAL MANIFESTATION:Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French bulldogs disc herniation

  • STIFF NECK: Stiff sensitive neck
  • CRYING: Crying out when touched around the neck/head movements
  • POSTURE: An arched back, hunched posture
  • STANCE: A praying position with the head in a low stance
  • TENSE: Tense abdomen
  • WEAKNESS: Front and/or hind legs weakness, paw abnormal placement, lameness and/or motor problems (paraplegia, paralysis)
  • MOVEMENT: Distress, reluctance to move, jump or walk upstairs
  • CRYING: Crying out when touched or picked up
  • URINATION: Difficulties in evacuating the bladder (larger than normal bladder), urine incontinence.
  • DEFECATION: Fecal incontinence
  • DRAGGING: Dragging and knuckling the legs/paws
  • PAIN: Lack of pain or oversensitivity to pain
  • WOBBLE: Wobbly, Ataxic gait

The two most common locations of the bulldog and French bulldog IVDD are the CERVICAL (neck ) and THORACOLUMBAR (mid-section).

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DIAGNOSISIntervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs lumbarsacral disease

  • EXAM: Neurological Examination
  • LAB: Blood and Urine Test
  • XRAYS; Radiographs
  • TAP: Spinal Tap (cytology, fluid analysis, culture)
  • MYELOGRAM
  • IMAGING: MRI and/or CT is usually necessary for a final diagnosis

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs MANAGEMENT:

  1. WEIGHT: Weight management
  2. FEEDING: Raised food & water bowl/dish (reduce the load from the neck)
  3. REST: Cage rest/ Strict Confinement (30 days minimum)
  4. LASER: Cold Laser Therapy
  5. PEMT: (Pulse Electro-Magnetic Therapy)
  6. SCT: Stem Cell Therapy
  7. STEROIDS: Anti-inflammatory medications: steroids and non-steroidal (NSAID)
  8. PAIN RELIEF: Analgesics (pain relief)
  9. RELAXANTS: Muscle relaxants

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Spondylosis

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SUPPLEMENTS:

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs SURGERY:

SURGERY: Surgery to decompress the disk material

  • BLADDER: If needed, manual compression of the bladder
  • WHEELS: If surgery is not successful, “Wheels” with lower section support could improve mobility
  • WIPE: Wipe the perianal area and vaginal area if dripping to avoid irritation, scalding, and infection with an antiseptic wipe Like Dr. Kraemer’s Extra Large Antiseptic Wipes

When the dog is unable to walk normally, is paralyzed, or has no deep pain sensation, surgery may be recommended.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PROGNOSIS

The longer the damage has been present, the worse the prognosis.
Loss of deep pain usually carries a poor prognosis and should be referred to a neurologist for possible immediate decompressing surgery.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs WARNINGS

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs warning CAGE REST: When opting for medical management, strict cage rest will be essential for at least four weeks. This rest is essential to allow a “scar” to form over the top of the disc material; early activity may precipitate the herniation of the rest of the disc material and worsen of your dog’s condition.

Strict cage rest for a minimum four weeks

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs warning URINATION: Due to the spinal injury your bulldog bladder function, bladder muscle contraction, and emptying might be affected. The bladder will overfill causing urine stasis and infection, urine might dribble and soak the vaginal folds and hind legs, in those cases your help to empty the bladder might be needed.

Intervertebral Disk Back Disease IVDD in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs warning DEFECATION:  Like the bladder muscles and sphincters the elimination system might also be impacted by the neurological injury. Often your bulldog and French bulldog might be unable to defecate and maintain normal fecal elimination, or become impacted. Therefore, you might need to add a stool softener like Dr. Kraemer’s Bully Gentle Move Formula, other times they might become incontinent and will need a diaper.

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