Tips for the IVDD warrior and his owner
Tips and Ideas for after graduation to introduce back friendly home activities and home modifications for your IVDD dog.
- Sample schedule: intro back to family activity after graduation from rest
Schedule to gradually get back to family life
A dog coming off of 6 weeks post op or 8 weeks of conservative treatment crate rest needs to gradually build up muscles and stamina.
1. Building up muscles:
GRADUALLY reintroduce the pup back to activity. The IDEAL would be to go to a certified canine rehabilitation therapist and get a schedule on how to do this, plus specific exercises to rebuild muscle and coordination.
Below are some GENERAL ideas, but always check with your vet or physical therapist if this schedule is right for your pup, or if some modifications should be done. In that case, follow their advice.
2, Easing back into walking or using a wheel chair.
After weeks of crate rest, especially with 8 weeks of conservative treatment, you will need to slowly build up your dog’s muscles and stamina. Always observe and restrict movement if there is soreness. Always use a leash and harness to control your dog and not put stress on the neck and back. No more collars. If your dog is still wobbly, add a sling to help stabilize the rear and prevent flopping or falling over.
With too much exercise, it may be hard to tell the difference between sore muscles from too much exercise or a relapse of IVDD. If you see any signs of the IVDD worsening, crate and contact the vet right away.
NOTE: A hallway is a general term for a distance of 4-8 yards. It doesn’t have to be the hallway. The ideal is actually a non slippery surface, so if your hallway’s floor is slippery, it is preferred to take the dog outside and walk it on grass, soil or on an old carpet.
Surgery dogs will likely be more advanced in their condition such as walking to and from the potty place, hydrotherapy, etc. Always check with your vet/surgeon on their recommendation.
A general program to ease dog back into walking or using a cart after 6-8 weeks of crate rest:
- Mon-Tues: 1 min up and down hallway 1x. Back in crate, observe. Any signs of soreness? then skip a day of exercise
- Wed: 1 min up and down hallway 3x a day. Observe for overdoing soreness
- Thurs-Sat: 1 min up and down hallway 4-5x a day. Observe for overdoing soreness
Can move about the house under supervision for 5-10 minute periods 3x day, no rough housing, running, jumping. Your dog will feel good as new and may want to do too much. If you can’t supervise, then back in crate.
5 min walk outside 1x a day early in the week building to 3x a day later in the week
10 mins walk outside 1x a day. Build up to 3x a day plus crate free time: 10-20 mins. 3x a day.
By now the dog will have good muscle tone and should be on an almost back to normal schedule. We still recommend that from now on you crate your dog whenever you are leaving the house.
3 Always use common sense, call vet if you have concerns
If you think your dog might have overdone it, then rest the dog in the crate and observe. Call the vet if you have concerns. Do not rush your dog back into activity: the risk of overdoing is not worth taking, it is better to go slowly for a few weeks.
- IVDD friendly and Never again activities
IVDD friendly and never again activities
IVDD friendly activities may help insure your dog does not herniate another degenerating disc. Yet do you still struggle with the fear of IVDD, wanting to keep your dog forever in bubble wrap? This essay may help you approach life with a different perspective: http://dodgerslist.boards.net/thread/410/living-fear-ivdd
Never again activities and how to retrain for back friendly activities
- Avoid stairs or steps. Use ramps indoors with furniture and on outdoor steps to help decrease impact on the spine. How to build your own ramps and furniture blocker ideas
- Prevent jumping up or down, those activities increase impact on the spine. Teach your dog to use a ramp: https://dodgerslist.com/2020/06/16/training-to-use-ramps/
- Do not encourage tug-o-war, pulling games. No killing the prey, via shaking toys.
- Discourage zig zag running or abrupt stopping.
- No rambunctious playing with other dogs.
- Teach your dog to not pull on the leash
- Train your dog to sit down rather than jump up: http://youtu.be/tok3hgrOyAk
- Keep all four feet on the ground http://youtu.be/XX58DLLLZF8 No more sitting up or standing on back legs.
Back friendly home activities to encourage:
- Keep weight down to reduce stress on back.
- Build up to daily 30 minute walks, good exercise to strengthen core and back muscles
- Hide and seek games involving nose work are good and can be played inside or outdoors (hide yourself behind a door, hide kibble pieces on a bottom shelf, under edge of rug, sink treats in a saucer of water. More fun ideas to encourage nose work: https://dodgerslist.com/2020/06/16/have-fun-nose-work/
- Swimming under controlled circumstances.
- Fetching a gently rolled tennis ball along the ground is good exercise. Avoid dog pouncing or stopping suddenly.
- Obedience training for mind stimulation, teach a new word or command.
- Have a regular schedule to trim nails. Trimmed nails allow proper gait and for scooters better traction. Train your dog “Trims equal treats”
- Dr. Sophia Yin on training to enjoy nail trims: http://youtu.be/WWZUcLfHXLE
- Nails trims for health: https://dodgerslist.com/2020/07/22/nail-trim-for-health/
Other IVDD topics
Be prepared! Know the two treatments for a disc episode ahead of time. Owner knowledge is key!
Dr. Isaacs, DVM, ACVIM (Neurology) answers a wide range of questions about surgery for the IVDD Community.
For a surgery, an MRI confirms the herniated disc location as a planning tool for the procedure.
One of the benefits of surgery is active PT can be started as soon as the surgeon directs.
A pet strollers can be very useful during the recovery period of a disc episode or after a surgery.