Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Dr. Alisha Barnes

IVDD Testing

Genetic testing for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) in dogs can determine if a dog is a carrier of the mutation that causes it. This testing looks for the presence of two FGF4 retrogene insertions on canine chromosomes 12 and 18. Dogs with two copies of the defect have about a 10% chance of developing IVDD, also known as a slipped or herniated disc, at some point in their lives. So by far, this is not a situation where your dog will definitely develop the issue, as there is a 90% chance they won’t, even with the marker.

However, if that does occur, can chiropractic care help? Luckily, that is a resounding YES!

Chiropractic care not only will help the biomechanics to keep your dog more comfortable, but also helps to stave off the inevitable degeneration that comes along with IVDD.

The mechanism of the chiropractic adjustment works to keep the discs hydrated. Discs are made of two components, the fibrous annulus (circular outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (the pulpy, gelatin-like inner layer). They can absorb the fluid around them but they are not like sponges. Once the disc dehydrates, it cannot plump back up to its original size, but it can be kept from dehydrating further. The motion and realignment of the vertebrae helps to pull the spinal fluid in and bathe the disc to keep it hydrated. If a vertebrae is out of alignment, it is unable to move properly and can become essentially stuck. When one vertebra is stuck, the ones above and below it tend to work extra to take up the slack in movement for the one that is not moving. This causes added stress on the discs above and below the vertebra that is stuck and can result in dehydration of those discs. Once dehydrated, they are susceptible to tears and herniations, and can eventually lead to arthritic changes and even fusion of one or more segments of vertebrae. Once fusion occurs, there is no fixing the issue.

Therefore, it is essential to make sure your dog’s spine stays in alignment, especially if they test positive for the two copies of the genetic defect. Chiropractic care can help to keep the IVDD from manifesting and can keep your dog mobile and healthy whether they have the markers for IVDD or not.

4.8/5 - (13 votes)