How Much Does IVDD Surgery Cost for Dogs?

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IVDD surgery cost depends on many factors. First, let’s talk a little bit about what intervertebral disc disease in dogs is. IVDD, also known as a slipped, bulging, ruptured, or herniated disc, occurs when the once shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae (bones of the back or neck) deteriorate and cause pressure on the spinal cord. Spinal cord compression causes symptoms ranging from mild pain to permanent paralysis.

IVDD surgery cost

When an affected dog doesn’t respond to medical treatment, has recurrent episodes, or is showing severe symptoms (such as inability to walk), surgical intervention is necessary. The goal of IVDD surgery for dogs is to relieve spinal cord compression by removing the disc material that is pressing on the spinal cord. Surgery is largely successful in the hands of a trained veterinary neurologist.

The prognosis of IVDD surgery depends on the severity of the symptoms and the timeliness of the intervention. There is about a 95% chance of success in dogs that still have feeling their toes, but this drops to around 50% once a dog has lost feeling. This is why it is critical to take action as soon as possible. Without timely treatment, IVDD can cause permanent damage.

Why Does the Cost of IVDD Surgery for Dogs Vary?

As mentioned, the cost of IVDD surgery for dogs depends on many things. Here are some considerations for pet parents to be able to compare “apples to apples.”

What Size Dog Is It?

Generally, bigger dogs are more expensive than smaller dogs for just about everything.

Great Dane with technicians at Southeast Veterinary Neurology

What is Included in the IVDD Surgery Cost?

Sometimes when a hospital quotes the IVDD surgery cost for dogs, they are not providing the “all in” cost. They may only quote the cost of surgery and not the additional items that are needed to perform that surgery, such as:

  • Physical examination
  • Neurological examination
  • Blood tests and X-rays to ensure that anesthesia is safe for your dog
  • Imaging
  • IV catheter
  • Anesthesia
  • Monitoring of anesthesia
  • Hospital stay

A quote from Southeast Veterinary Neurology, on the other hand, will be sure to include everything so that there are no surprises.

What Type of Testing is Done to Diagnose the IVDD?

MRI is the gold standard. At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, we use this tool almost exclusively. Simply put, it is much better than CT, myelography, or X-ray at diagnosing intervertebral disc disease and other diseases that can mimic IVDD.

However, MRI is also more expensive. Most neurologists today perform MRI, but some veterinarians still don’t. General surgeons and general practice veterinarians that perform spinal surgery are less likely to have access to MRI and instead perform CT, myelography, or plain X-rays. This is an important distinction and should be asked of your attending veterinarian.

What is the Geographical Location?

In general, places with a higher cost of living, like New York, California, New Jersey, Chicago, and Miami, tend to be more expensive than places where the cost of living is lower. At the same time, these places also tend to attract top talent.

When is the Surgery Being Performed?

Many times, intervertebral disc disease is a surgical emergency. Any time a dog is suddenly unable to walk, tests and surgery should be performed as soon as possible. There are situations where IVDD surgery will be performed in the middle of the night. This understandably adds to the cost.

However, the benefit of doing surgery immediately outweighs the cost. As mentioned, timely treatment can mean the difference between recovery and permanent damage, and that’s why Southeast Veterinary Neurology is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

What is the Experience and Expertise of the Veterinarian Performing the Surgery?

Neurologists have specialized training in neurosurgery. Prior to completing a residency at Southeast Veterinary Neurology, our residents perform hundreds of surgeries. Our board-certified neurologists have performed thousands of surgeries.

Experience and expertise give neurologists the best judgement on when, where, how, and why to do surgery – and when, where, how, and why not to. This gives your dog the best chance of recovery.

Dr. Reese and Dr. Adams performing spinal surgery

So What Does IVDD Surgery Cost?

At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, the cost of IVDD surgery for dogs includes the:

  • Consultation
  • Complete physical and neurological examinations
  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • Anesthesia
  • MRI
  • Surgery
  • Pain medications
  • 3-4 days of hospitalization
  • Physical therapy
  • Follow up examination

Our “all in” IVDD surgery cost can range from $8,000-$10,000 for smaller dogs and $10,000-$14,000 for larger dogs.

How Do I Choose the Right Surgeon for My Dog’s IVDD Surgery?

We realize that cost is a big factor when considering surgery for your dog. However, spinal surgery is not really something you should “bargain shop” for. It is imperative that surgery is performed both expeditiously and expertly.

At Southeast Veterinary Neurology, all of our neurologists are highly trained in neurosurgery, including spinal surgery. We have performed thousands of successful spinal surgeries on patients from all over the globe. In fact, we have helped over 20,000 pets regain their ability to walk.

However, we will only recommend surgery if we think it is the best choice for your dog, and only after presenting you with all of your options. It can be scary to learn that your dog needs surgery, but you can rest assured knowing that we perform spinal surgeries every single day. If your dog needs spinal surgery, we are confident that there are no better hands to care for your best friend than at Southeast Veterinary Neurology.

SEVN team celebrates dog's ability to walk after treatment

For more information about IVDD surgery cost, or if your dog is experiencing neurological or spinal problems, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Southeast Veterinary Neurology today. We have locations in Miami, Boynton Beach and Jupiter, FL, all staffed with professionals who are dedicated to helping your pet live a long, quality life with you.

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