Diagnosis & Prognosis Grading

It is important that any dachshund that is displaying any signs or symptoms of IVDD be urgently referred to and assessed by a specialist vet who can accurately assess the grading of IVDD.

It helps immensely for owners to know so that they can with their specialist put an appropriate management plan in place for their dachshund whether that be conservative or surgical care for the management of their dachshunds IVDD.

At grades 1 and 2, conservative (non-surgical) treatment is often a sensible first choice, though surgery may be indicated if the dog does not improve. At grades 3-5, surgical treatment gives a better chance of a successful outcome.

Stage I: Mild pain and usually self-correcting in a few days

Stage II: Moderate to severe pain in the neck or low back area

Stage III: Partial paralysis causing trouble walking and/or uncoordinated movements

Stage IV: Paralysis but with the ability to feel

Stage V: Paralysis and the loss of all feeling

Pain Response GradeResponse to veternary examinationDescriptionPrognosis with medical/conservative treatmentPrognosis with surgical treatment
1PainDog can feel pain in its legs and toes70-100%About 95%
2Ambulatory ParaparesisDog can still walk, bit weak/wobbly55-100%About 95%
3Nonambulartory ParaparesisDog can move legs but needs support to stand up55-80%80 - 90%
Recovery times vary. Dogs typically walk within 1-3 weeks, though some take 2 months or more.
4Ambulatory ParaparesisDog can still walk, bit weak/wobbly

No deliberate or voluntary movement of affected limbs.


+/- Loss of bladder control.
40-80%80 - 90%
Recovery times vary. Dogs typically walk within 1-3 weeks, though some take 2 months or more.
5ParaplegicParalysis – No movement in the legsOnly up to about 30% of these dogs walk again without surgery.About 50-60% will walk fairly normally again.

Recovery can take up to 9 months or more, though most “successful” dogs walk within 6-12 weeks.

Delaying surgery >48 hours does not affect outcome (though of course these dogs are painful and need immediate care).

Another excellent point of reference regarding IVDD Scaling is Dachshund IVDD UK

IVDD Diagnosis and Prognosis
5-point grading scale for Dachshunds with IVDD courtesy of Marianne Dorn BVM&S PGCert SART MRCVS.