Premature Disc Degeneration
Premature disc degeneration is a disease in which a dog's vertebral discs begin to degenerate more rapidly than could be naturally expected. Degeneration might effect either the discs themselves in that they can become calcified and less mobile, or the spaces between the discs when cartilaginous cushions begin to deteriorate. It is classified under the generalized heading of premature aging and has many profound effects upon a dog's overall health, causing at best chronic pain and at worst loss of motor function.
Premature disc degeneration usually begins to occur in dogs that are between three and five years old, and seems to affect the discs in the cervical region of the spine most often. Depending on which discs are affected, the problem manifests itself visually in a variety of different ways. [...]