Diagnosing FCE vs. IVDD

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Neuro Corner Answers


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


Question

MAGGIE ASKS:

Is there anyway you can tell the difference between an FCE and IVDD without an MRI?

We had an incident at our house yesterday with our 6 year old lab—very healthy, no previous back/joint issues of any kind. She fell while playing and instantly couldn’t move her back legs. She instantly tried to get up and started dragging her back legs behind her. We rushed her to the ER about 20 min away. She didn’t seem in any pain and was regaining movement in her back legs by the time we arrived at the ER. The vet did an x-ray and said it’s most likely IVDD or FCE.

ANSWER

Sorry to hear about your Lab.

Unfortunately, there is no way to differentiate an FCE from IVDD without advanced imaging.

The classic textbook FCE is a large breed dog with an acute onset of tetra- or para-paresis with one side more effected than the other (significant dichotomy), vocalization initially, but on presentation for exam non-painful.

The classic textbook IVDD is a chondrodystrophic dog with an acute onset of tetra- or para-paresis, relatively symmetrical, with sustained discomfort.

The history and signalment make me more suspicious for an FCE versus IVDD.

I’m glad she is improving.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Take care,
Andrew


Disclaimer:

This information is presented for educational purposes and as a resource for the dog IVDD community. The coordinators are not veterinarians or health care professionals. Nothing herein should be interpreted as medical advice and all should contact their pet care professionals for advice. The coordinators are not responsible for the substance and content contained herein and do not advocate any particular product, item or position contained herein.

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