Guest Post by Lisa Luckenbach
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recently published an article on the use of Thermal Imaging to investigate IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). Researchers across the globe (such as Dachshund Health UK) are exploring this technology to record thermal images on the backs of Dachshunds with a view to collecting data over a period of years.
What is it? Thermal Imaging is a non-invasive tool which helps identify patterns of heat. Researchers believe it may offer clues to more clearly understand IVDD and perhaps offer future generations of back sufferers and pet parents some relief. During clinical diagnostics unusual areas of warmth can be detected, which may signify inflammation or nerve compression. By using Thermal Imaging and collecting the data from multiple dogs, scientists can measure the results of pups in pain as well as dogs that have not yet developed back problems. This information will allow them to determine the signs of a healthy back vs. the hunched and painful back of a dog living with IVDD.
Where did it come from? “In the late 1950s and 1960s, Texas Instruments, Hughes Aircraft, and Honeywell developed single element detectors that scanned areas and produced images. The military had a lock on the technology because it was expensive and had sensitive military applications.” (Bullard.com)
How is it used? These days Thermal Imagining has become a mainstream tool. Firefighters use thermography to see through smoke, maintenance technicians use thermography on power lines, building technicians use thermal imagery to locate heat leaks; so it is no wonder that we are now using this technology on warm-blooded animals in hopes of solving the mysteries behind IVDD!
We know that Intervertebral Disc Disease is highly suspected to be a hereditary disease in dogs with dwarfed legs. If the puppy has the disease, the degeneration of the discs begins to occur within the first few months of life, but the actual disc herniation typically occurs without warning at around 3 to 6 years of age. This can be shocking to the owner, since there is no way to tell if your puppy has the disease and whether symptoms will show up later in life.
Here are some examples of what you can do to ensure your dog has his bases covered:
1) Make sure your dog is used to a crate in case of a future need to confine.
2) Try not to use stairs too often -- these guys have little legs!
3) Provide them with support, especially during exercise and try not to allow them to jump up or down on furniture.
4) Switch to using a harness for walks, the collar is too stressful on the spine.
And remember, these are the symptoms and behaviors of IVDD -- so keep a close watch on your four-legged loved ones…
· Head held high or nose to the ground with neck discs
· Reduced activity
· Slower movement
· Stiffness or difficulty climbing stairs
· Difficulty with walking and jumping
· Very tense abdomen
· Hunched back due to muscle tension
· Crying or shaking
· Inability to move rear legs
· Loss of bladder and bowel control.
At WiggleLess, we strive to educate and support pet moms and dads and thanks to researchers, veterinarians, websites like Dodgerslist and dog lovers around the world, support and education is at our fingertips and help is available. But until these investigations lead to solutions, as pet parents we have a responsibility to do all we can to provide support to our furry family members.
Lisa Luckenbach has developed WiggleLess back braces for dogs that are overweight and need extra support, elderly with aching backs, diagnosed with IVDD-related back problems, or overly active and can benefit from the structure a dog back brace provides. In addition to running WiggleLess, Lisa is a registered yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, public speaker, ordained minister, and breast cancer survivor. Lisa and her husband have two daughters and three spunky, adopted dogs, Ryder (Cocker Spaniel), LaVerne (Schnauzer/Doxie mix), and Chai (Doxie/Jack Russell mix).
Visit wiggleless.com to learn more about Lisa and her back brace for dogs.