Clinical Grading Scale for IVDD Dachshunds

Your vet will assess your dog to determine the severity of the disease process. Dogs can be graded, with mildest cases being a grade 1, and worst-affected cases being a grade 5 (N.B. some clinics worldwide use a different or reversed grading scheme). The clinical grade helps in deciding which treatment is most suitable. Tracking your dog’s grade over time can also help your vet to work out whether your dog is getting better or worse. 


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.

Clinical grade

Findings on veterinary examination


Prognosis with non-surgical treatment


Prognosis with surgical treatment


Normal gait.


Paraspinal hyperaesthesia.

Walking normally. Painful.


About 95%


Ambulatory paraparesis.


Paraspinal hyperaesthesia.

Walking but weak and wobbly.



About 95%


Non-ambulatory paraparesis.


Paraspinal hyperaesthesia.

Unable to walk or stand unassisted.





Recovery times vary. Dogs typically walk within 1-3 weeks, though some take 2 months or more.




Paraspinal hyperaesthesia.


+/-Urinary incontinence.

No deliberate or voluntary movement of affected limbs.


+/- Loss of bladder control.





Absent deep nociception in affected limbs.


Paraspinal hyperaesthesia.


+/- Urinary incontinence.


Loss of deep pain sensation in toes of affected limbs.

No deliberate or voluntary movement of affected limbs.


+/- Loss of bladder control.

Only 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).


We are grateful to Marianne Dorn BVM&S PGCert SART MRCVS for providing the content of this page (Sept. 2017). Further information on the grading scale and its research source material can be found here.

Marianne's Canine Rehabilitation website is here and you can download her Dachshund crate recovery guide here.


You can download the Table as a PDF or an image file below (right-click and Save image as...).

IVDD Diagnosis and Prognosis
5-point grading scale for Dachshunds with IVDD courtesy of Marianne Dorn BVM&S PGCert SART MRCVS.
IVDD Staging Grades (overview).pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [507.0 KB]

Contact us today!

If you have any queries or need more advice, please contact us by e-mail:


Alternatively, please use our contact form.

Get social with us.

Print | Sitemap
© 2016-23 Dachshund Health UK