When treating both conservatively and surgically, physiotherapy & associated modalities play a vital part in the treatment & recovery of dogs with spinal cord disease, but before I go any further, I need to explain why I have come to this conclusion and why I now “look outside the square” when it comes to managing an IVDD dog.

I have been owned by Dachshunds for 35 years and up until 7 years ago always accepted the diagnosis and prognosis given by trusted vets. To understand why I first need to tell you about Denton.

I moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2011 for a sea change. My two Dachshunds Denton & baby Morrison spent their days on the beach and life was great until my 11-year-old boy started to “knuckle” his rear leg. Our new vet told us he had arthritis and prescribed Cartrophen. The course continued for 6 months and Denton appeared to improve until the day after his 12th birthday when he walked through the doggy door and collapsed, paralysed.

Via a recommendation, I located a new vet, and he was diagnosed with IVDD Grade 5. As he had a heart murmur, surgery was out of the question.

My vet knew a PT who worked with disabled animals at Australia Zoo and together they conservatively treated my boy with a course of anti-inflammatories, supplements and a range of modalities to suit his age and severity of paralysis.

Long story short, while researching this disease into the wee small hours I was working closely with the PT and Vet. My boy stood up 25 days later and walked at 28, he went on to live a happy new normal until 15. My brave little soul mate taught me so much during the darkest of days, he is the one that proved to me to “never say never” and to always look outside the square. His legacy is DISA.

Maggie came to our family as a little “failed foster” 3 months after Denton left us and 2.5 years ago IVDD once again turned our happy little world on its head, this time it was emergency surgery (Grade 5). The recovery was in itself different to conservative but once again, rehabilitation played (& still does) a massive part in her recovery and ongoing maintenance.

If your dog is dealing with IVDD, there are a few holistic options you can consider –

Physical Therapy incorporating such modalities as –

  • Massage
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Balance & stretching
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser


As we know, IVDD is genetic so no matter what supplements we give our dogs, no supplement will prevent it from happening.

However, following an IVDD episode, there are complementary supplements that can aid recovery and healing and well as supplements that may assist with long term maintenance leading to ageing conditions such as arthritis.

Vitamin C

Anecdotally, for years some breeders have been citing high dose vitamin c to aid healing and disc regeneration following an IVDD episode. Intravenously and in tablet form – Ester C tablets (a synthetic form of vitamin c low acidic).

Click here for more info about vitamin c therapy.

Rose-Hip Vital Canine

A natural source of vitamin c. RHVC also contains GOPO which is a natural anti-inflammatory, helpful with recovering IVDD dogs.

Omega 3’s

The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha- linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA (short-chain) is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA (long-.chain) are found in fish and other seafood.

Omega 3’s (in particular EPA & DHA) has been shown to aid cardiovascular, cognitive and anti-inflammatory conditions in both humans and animals.

4Cyte – EPIITALIS® – plant seed oil Abalone

New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel Marine Cartilage

Antinol – a blend of marine lipid oils that are fully traceable, sustainably sourced and free from preservatives and fillers.

Ultimately, we all want our IVDD hounds to live the best new normal possible and sadly until there is a cure for this genetic disease I will continue to look outside the square. In my opinion, there is a place for both academic and holistic approaches when treating IVDD, you just need to be informed and confident in your decisions moving forward.

Of course, if in doubt please consult a qualified practitioner and refer to our Disclaimer.

Chrissy Davis – Founder DISA

holistically approaching ivdd