Dentals with an IVDD dog
Dr. Andrew Isaacs
DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)
Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center
Primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, seizure management, luxations/fractures of the spine, and surgery for brain tumors
I have two miniature dachshunds named Moses and Aaron. They are biological brothers from different litters. Moses is 8 years old while Aaron is 6 years old. On August 31, 2015, Aaron was walking down the stairs from the bed, and his back legs gave out on him. He literally tumbled down the few remaining stairs and collapsed on the floor. My heart broke. He could not walk. So, I called his veterinarian who brought us to the small animal clinic at Texas A&M in College Station. Since Aaron still had feeling in his back feet, the physicians decided that crate rest and anti-inflammatory medication would be a good option. I decided not to have Aaron undergo surgery. I followed the instructions to the letter. Today, Aaron is back to walking on his own. I am extremely cautious with him and his brother. I have tried to decrease their jumping episodes by holding them whenever the doorbell rings, etc. Aaron no longer climbs up and down. I literally pick him up and place him down. I am doing everything in my power to avoid another disc issue.
Now, Aaron has to undergo a dental cleaning this Saturday in which he will be placed under anesthesia. I never thought about the issues of others handling him while he is unconscious. I am extremely careful whenever I pick him up and place him down. I never torque his body. In fact, whenever I go to pick him up from the couch or bed, he automatically rolls on to his back, thus allowing me to roll him into my arms.
I believe I saw an article written a few weeks ago concerning care of a pet undergoing anesthesia who has IVDD. It highlighted the issues of greater injury due to improper handling under anesthesia. If someone pulls or tugs on him, if someone rotates his body in the wrong way… It also spoke of how to pick the pet up as well as the injuries a dog could sustain from improper handling. I am worried sick about leaving Aaron into the care of others who might not move him in the correct manner. I do not want anyone to do anything which could possibly re-injure him. We have come so far with a great deal of work.
Do you have any information which I could possible give to the nurses at the Banfield Pet Hospital which could remind them on how to handle a dachshund suffering from IVDD, specifically one who under anesthesia?
Thank you very much for your assistance.
There is always some risk with anesthesia, but as long as Aaron is handled appropriately the risk of a disk problem is outweighed by the risk of dental disease.
I do not have any specific material for your vet, but would let them know to make sure her front and back legs stay in the same plane (no torsional stress, like you have been doing at home).
[Editor’s note: See: “Precautions” for more dental day tips and ideas]