International Association of Animal Therapists
Case Study


Miniature Dachshund IVDD


Female 9yo miniature black and tan dachshund, named Cosmo, presented end July 2020 non ambulatory paraparetic, unable to toilet without support. Reduced postural reactions of the pelvic limbs bilaterally with normal spinal reflexes. Kyphosis was evident but there was no focal area of spinal pain detected.

Was taken to Fitzpatrick referrals and recommendation was to MRI scan, confirm whether IVDD type I or II and operate accordingly.  After extensive discussion with surgeon, owner decided to try and treat conservatively and assess on an initial 3-day basis and then weekly thereafter.  It was agreed if there was substantial improvement at each agreed time interval, a surgical intervention may not be necessary.  She was prescribed strict cage rest for a month, gabapentin and NSAIDS to manage the pain.


Cosmo was lucky as the Owner is a TCAP trained manual therapist who uses MFR, Massage, CS and acupressure techniques and can administer the required specific exercises at each stage of the rehabilitation process. During cage rest period, proprioceptive exercises (tapping over key areas over back and neck and massaging of the paws and legs) undertaken 3 x day, with 3-4 toileting occasions pd.  It was a very difficult period as Cosmo is very determined and energetic!  After the first 3 days, already the toileting expeditions showed progress in the reduction of the ataxia. Sling used to toilet. Red-light therapy used 4 x week (10 mins setting, 50Hz) for the first 8 weeks.

Every day and then every week there was considerable improvement, and it was agreed with Fitzpatrick referrals to keep going on conservative management. Meds were stopped after 12 weeks.

Exercises progressed gradually over a 5-month period from proprioceptive work to standing sways, paw lifts and wobbles, caveletti work, wobble cushions and so on.  The owner followed Cosmo’s demeanour every day to decide what to push on and what not to.  Some days and weeks plateaued, and rest was given.  Walk times increased gradually – everything done on lead.  Red light therapy used throughout the period reducing from 4 times a week (10 min sessions each time, 50Hz) to once a week.

From month 5, the Owner worked with a herbal vet (Veerle Dejonckheere who specialises in chronic pain cases) and prescribed two herbals to help manage ongoing low level spinal pain:  cordyceps (mushroom) and DuHuoJ Shen Tang.

Through very careful management over an 8-month period Cosmo is now playing football again and chasing horses’ tails (her speciality)! She is better now than she was prior to July 2020. Interesting to note that after month 4 of the herbal meds given (and 10 months after original incident), Cosmo had another bounce up in enthusiasm and energy for life – this can be clearly ascribed to the herbals she is on.  Incidentally, the Owner firmly believes the keto diet Cosmo is on has helped rapidly reduce the inflammation and keep the weight off to help recovery and ongoing management of this nasty condition.

Photos:  I deliberately chose toileting in static format as can see better what’s going on!  Sorry it seems rude!

Day 3 – slightly better control of toileting even 3 days in.  Diarrhoea due to meds.

Day 5:  illustrates poor knuckling response 10s speed to self-correct

Day 10 slightly more comfortable

Week 4: better control toileting

Week 12:  graduation from support

Cosmo May 2021

A case study conducted by IAAT Member Alix Tidmarsh (member number 1376)

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