There’s no treatment that guarantees recovery from IVDD and, unfortunately, a few dogs are left permanently unable to walk. With their low centre of gravity, some dachshunds can go on to to live quite a happy life using wheels to get about. Once the goal of four-legged walking has been abandoned, these dogs can also be allowed to drag themselves about a bit indoors so long as they are kept safe from accidental injury or skin damage.
Think carefully before making a decision to manage your dog as permanently disabled. Once you start to allow your dog to drag himself about, it becomes extremely difficult to reverse the decision so as to work towards learning to walk again. If at all possible, it’s therefore best to give your dog a reasonable period of good-quality non-surgical management before considering giving up and treating him as permanently disabled.
For permanently disabled dogs, it’s absolutely essential that any pain is well-controlled. Some dogs eventually seem to become quite comfortable off painkillers, while others need long term medication. Other issues must also be considered. Long-term IVDD-affected dogs may have poor bladder and bowel control, meaning frequent indoor clean-ups, the use of dog nappies or, for male dogs, belly bands. You may also need to protect your dog’s paws and other areas of skin from damage due to being dragged over the floor. Depending on your dog’s personality and on how much long term one-to-one care you can offer him, this lifestyle may or may not be appropriate. If you are wondering whether or not to manage your dog as permanently disabled, you may find it useful to talk things through with family and with one or two good friends who know both you and your dog. Regular check-ups with your vet are a good idea, both to help with any medical issues and to discuss how your dog is coping and his quality of life.