Clinical Signs of Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease

Clinical signs vary depending on the breed of the dog (small versus large), location of the disc and the amount and force of the herniated disc.

Small breed dogs with cervical (neck) IVDD often have acute signs including pain, crying out when moving or being picked up, and an extremely stiff neck. The head is often held in a downward position and a front limb lameness may be present. Dogs with cervical IVDD seldom have paralysis. Small breed dogs with thoracolumbar (back) IVDD often have acute signs ranging from pain to hind limb staggering to complete hind limb paralysis (dragging the hind limbs).

Large breed dogs with cervical IVDD also have pain, stiff neck, head held down and front limb lamenesses. Clinical signs in large breed dogs with thoracolumbar IVDD range from pain to hind limb staggering but the signs usually progress slowly.