What Are Intervertebral Discs?

The spinal cord allows your dog to move and communicates from the brain to the rest of the body. This is an extremely sensitive organ. Nerve cells do not regenerate in the spinal cord. Rather they are replaced by scar tissue or fibrous material, which can result in irreversible damage.

 

A bony canal inside of your dog spine protects the delicate spinal cord. The only places that don't have bones are where the vertebrae join together. At these junctions, rubbery cushions called intervertebral discs allow your dog's spine to move sideways and up and down while protecting the bones of the spinal column from rubbing.

What is Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD?

There are two kinds of in-vertebral disc disease

 

In type 1 a rupture in the middle part of the disc tears into the outer part of the disc, causing the outer part of the desk to rupture or hernia. This is known as a slipped disc. The rupture often occurs after a small traumatic event, especially short falls or jumps.

 

In type 2 there is abnormal degeneration of the middle part of the disc. The disc loses its water content and becomes firm, or calcified. Calcified disc material is evident on x-rays in many dogs.

Which Dogs Get IVDD?

IVDDis much more prevalent in some breeds than others, but any type of dog may be affected. Chondrodystrophic dogs, or dogs that have genetic differences resulting in skeletal disorders, have much higher risk. This is because the disc tends to degenerate earlier in these dogs. Breeds prone to IVDDinclude the Corgi, dachshund, French Bulldog, beagle, miniature poodle, and Basset Hound.

Can IVDD Be Prevented?

Experts agree that reducing stress and trauma both due to small repetitive movements and large jumps can delay or prevent the symptoms of IVDD from developing. Even after IVDD develops and your dog has an episode, following the following recommendations may make it less likely that the symptoms will recur.

 

There is debate as to whether it is better to give your dog rest and restrict exercise or have surgery performed after an incident of IVDD. Here are a few things you can do to prevent IVDD in your dog or make them less likely to have a recurrent injury, whether your dog is not yet symptomatic, has had an episode, or is recovering from surgery.

Harness instead of leash

Always use a harness instead of a leash so that your dog will not pull on their neck, which can cause an abrupt injury to the discs. This is especially important if your dog tends to lunge at the end of the leash. Train your dog not to lunge, even on the harness, and never use a neck lead.

Avoid high octane sports

As much as your dog loves an intense game of fetch or frisbee, these may not be the best activities for dogs prone to IVDD. The sudden jumps and catches required are likely to antagonize the disease. Instead, encourage your dog to do low impact sports like swimming or obedience.

Use ramps in your home

Veterinarians do not want dogs prone to IVDD to jump off your couch or bed. Training your dog to use a ramp is the best way to keep them from suffering small shocks throughout their life as they jump off the sofa. Ramps will also save you from the frustration of constantly picking up and putting down your dog so that they will not jump.

IVDD Prevention Training

It is best to place ramps in your home when your dog is still a puppy, long before symptoms of IVDD develop. Put ramps wherever your dog may otherwise want to jump, including down short flights of stairs, onto the sofa, onto the bed, and onto favorite perches like wide window sills.

 

Teach your puppy to ALWAYS use the ramp, both going up and down. It is wise to keep a harness with a leash on your puppy at the beginning so that you can catch them if they try to jump. Don't leave your puppy unsupervised on any elevated surface until they are at least six months to a year old. You need to wait for your puppy to develop the self-control to make good decisions and use the ramp rather than taking a flying leap.

Choosing a ramp

The best ramps will be adjustable so that your dog will feel very comfortable with the incline. A ramp that is too steep may encourage dogs to jump off as they get to the bottom. The ramp you decided on should also look nice in your home. The truth is that you'll be tempted to put it away when visitors come over if it's not attractive, which is likely to be just the time that your dog decides to take a leap and hurt themselves.

 

Since you are likely to need more than one ramp for your bed, sofa, and anywhere else your puppy may want to get onto, choose a ramp that is affordable enough that you can invest in more than one.

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290 Reviews
Reviewed by Sandra H., from United States
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Dogs Age
10 - 16
Dogs weight
10 -25
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I did not buy one ramp I bought 2!❤️

I have a Jack Russell. His name is Spot and he tore a ligament in back leg. He is very short legged and unable to jump these two ramps have help him and me adjust to a new part of his life!! I am thinking about ordering another one and disassemble to go over the two steps he has to be carried down and up. Thank you so very much! Love the ramps if I could give you a “10” I definitely would!!❤️

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Reviewed by Vicki Fowler , from United States
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3 - 6
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25 - 50
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Princess of the bed!

I really love this ramp! It set up easily, fit at the end of the bed and my puppy took right to it in about 10 minutes. Now she's the Princess of the bed!

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Reviewed by Peggy H., from United States
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Rated 5 out of 5
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Life saver

I have several older dogs and cats who can’t jump up in the chair, I’ve bought several different sets of stairs , boxes just tried everything. I seen this add seen they were made in the USA and ordered them and they are a life saver for my 9 year old doxy and my Frenchie. Thank you so much.

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Reviewed by Lisa F., from United States
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6 - 10
Dogs weight
10 -25
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Great product and a good price

My male Papillon was diagnosed with IVDD after he ruptured a disc in 2020. He recovered well following surgery, strict crate rest, and ongoing physical therapy, with just some slight residual rear end weakness. Ramps were recommended to allow him to get on and off the furniture without jumping and hopefully prevent repeat disc episodes. The Doggie Ramp is actually the third ramp I purchased (we also have a similar adjustable ramp from another company, and a foam wedge) but it is definitely both me and my dog’s favorite. I love how it has five different height settings and folds flat for storage or to take with us when we travel. Made in the USA too! The carpet on the ramp gives excellent traction, so my Papillon can easily go up and down with no slipping or scrambling even on the higher settings. Thank you DoggieRamps.com for a fantastic, well made, and very reasonably priced product!

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Reviewed by Paula G., from United States
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10 - 16
Dogs weight
10 -25
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Sturdy and Well Built

I'm so glad I got this ramp for my Brussels Griffon. She loves it and has learned to roll her ball down it so she can chase it all by herself. She is eleven and has had back issues in the past, so I feel much better with her using the ramp than trying to jump up and down off the sofa. It's a perfect size for her and lightweight, so I can collapse it and take it with me when I visit relatives. I love my doggie ramp!

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Reviewed by Lori S., from United States
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Dogs Age
3 - 6
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Levi

This ramp is well made andeasy to set up. Purchased it for my 10 week old Doxie. He took to it right away!

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Reviewed by Cary P., from United States
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Under 3lbs
Dogs weight
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Buddy loves his Doggie Ramp

My little Dachshund loves his ramp..he took right to it !!! No coaxing needed ! Now he is a puppy..and will try to chew on the corners..but oh my I'm very satisfied.

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Reviewed by Marci C., from United States
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10 - 16
Dogs weight
3 - 10
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Perfect for our dachshunds

Just what we needed for our senior dachshund and our 5 month old dachshund! Up and down they go to and from the couch ! No fear of hurting their back from jumping or falling. Looks nice and best of all, made in the USofA!! Thanks!

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