Surgery indicators - Premier website for Dog Back Disease (IVDD)


Surgery indicators

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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



My dog has been diagnosed with IVDD about three years ago. I am terrified to take him to surgery, he is a small Chihuahua. I am unsure of success rates, recovery times etc. Could you tell me at which point surgery is indicated?


Hi there,

The decision to do surgery is dependent on a variety of variables.  The ones that I typically take into account in deciding if surgery is indicated are

  • 1) neurological status
  • 2) degree of compression noted on imaging
  • 3) history (medications and doses of medications, flair ups, etc)
  • 4) expectations of owner


So, unfortunately this is a difficult question not knowing the specifics pertaining to your dog. Ideally, if you are able to take him to see a neurologist these are questions that they could answer for you.

You should not be afraid to ask questions.

Also, you should never feel pressured into surgery.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.

Andrew Isaacs, DVM
Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)

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