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Beating the Odds of Intervertebral Disc Disease

Late last year, my beagle Brodie started showing signs of discomfort when walking. I took him to the vet immediately the next morning for a checkup and she found two discs in his spine had calcified, a condition known as Intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. I made an appointment for him to see a neurologist the following Monday, but over the weekend his prognosis worsened and by Saturday afternoon he was paralyzed in his hind legs. I rushed him to an emergency clinic (over 2 hours away) for surgery that night and doctors discovered he had lost deep pain sensation. His chances of walking again were not good—less than 30 percent. Regardless, I requested the neurologist proceed with surgery.

While I'm disappointed it took two days to get Brodie into surgery because his diagnosis was in question due to the acute nature of his paralysis (which further reduced his chances for a full recovery), I’m happy to report Brodie beat the odds and is walking, albeit a little clumsily for the time being. Brodie’s IVDD recovery treatment has been a lot of work and requires constant physical therapy, but seeing him progress each day is very rewarding. He is back to his normal food scavenging, baying, stubborn self despite his reduced mobility.

I'm sharing Brodie's story as inspiration to anyone whose dog has been diagnosed with IVDD. I’ve read about many instances where vets recommend a dog be put down because they won’t be able to walk again and the truth is, it’s just not true. Even the neurologist who performed Brodie's surgery was pessimistic about his quality of life and I'm so proud of the little guy for proving him wrong. I highly recommend educating yourself about IVDD by visiting IVDD support sites such as Dodger’s List, where you’ll read that many dogs beat the odds and those who don’t can still go on to live long, happy lives.