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A Consult with a Specialist Surgeon: Ortho (ACVS) or Neuro (ACVIM)

A second opinion vet is always an option.  In the USA, you can find board-certified Neuro (ACVIM) and Ortho (ACVS) surgical specialists at university vet teaching hospitals and in private hospitals.
A specialist consultation is not just for an IVDD surgery. These are other areas a person may consider a consultation.
  • To be more certain about the advice you’ve received from your family veterinarian.
  • To rule out a different disease that mimics IVDD.
  • To consult about pain medications your general DVM vet may not be comfortable in using to get pain in full control.
A board certified specialist (neuro, ACVIM or ortho, ACVS) has completed:
  • a 4 year general degree in veterinary medicine (DVM). 
  • a rotating internship (1 year)
  • a surgical internship (1 yr) 
  • residency (3 years)
  • passed board certification for the title:  DVM, ACVIM or DVM, ACVS
If a surgery is just not a consideration for your family (such as a dog’s health issue, family finances), then know that conservative treatment is the best option.

Directories: USA•World— Ortho and Neuro Surgeons

Neuro Surgeon

Board certified ACVIM

Ortho Surgeon

Board certified ACVS

World locator: European Neuro Specialist

EBVS® European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology

Financial - Care Credit

Look into Care Credit now just in case things go into crisis mode and a surgery is needed.

It is best to know all your options, financially and where surgery would be done, ahead of time. Rather than have to scramble for that information in an emergency.

No- or low-interest credit for veterinary costs can be obtained from Care Credit.

Dachshund UK

UK Veterinary Referral Practices from "Dachshund IVDD UK" website:

Emergency Quick Compare: Conservative - Surgery

What STRICT crate rest means: non surgical or post-op

Points to consider: conservative treatment or a surgery

If your local vet is uncomfortable in using pain meds aggressively, a specialist consult can get the meds corrected, allowing your dog to heal the disc in comfort during conservative treatment.

A specialist would make you aware should legs become paralyzed, the existence of the last neuro function, deep pain sensation (DPS), is an indicator that surgery could STILL be successful. That window of time is 12-24 hours from losing DPS. Even after that window of time, surgery is often successful. The spinal cord is very fragile, the more hours after the window, the less chance of a complete recovery.

General vets may not see enough cases of IVDD daily to become really proficient in giving the neuro exam and correctly interpreting what they see. Therefore precious time can be lost in wrongly identifying if deep pain sensation still exists. Only take the word of a board certified neuro (ACVIM) or ortho  (ACVS) about DPS.

If a surgery is just not a consideration for your family (such as a dog’s health issue or family finances), then know that conservative treatment is the best option. The body can self heal nerve damage with time.

Surgery near the spinal cord takes a well-trained surgeon for this most delicate and tricky of surgeries. 

See the video clip (in the next column) of Dr. Wong, a board-certified neurologist (ACVIM) from Southeast Veterinary Neurology, performing spinal surgery to remove a slipped disk that was pressing on a dog’s spinal cord. This type of surgery is known as a hemilaminectomy and is commonly performed on dogs with more severe signs of IVDD. These signs can include recurrent or persistent back pain that does not respond to non-surgical conservative treatment (crate rest & medications).

Play Video

▲Sign in to Youtube to confirm your age in order to be able to view the surgery technique.

Visualize you dog’s issue in 83 seconds.

Dr. Horsche, DVM explains intervertebral disc disease is common in breeds with long backs and short legs. IVDD can cause symptoms ranging from mild lower back pain to complete paralysis of the legs. Visualize how the spinal cord is impacted by a degenerated disc.

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