It’s not commonly known that the Dachshund’s rather comical look was purpose-built for tracking and killing prey such as badgers within their underground dens. However, this distinct skeletal structure has also made the Dachshund prone to health issues common among long-bodied dogs.
Below are some of the diseases and conditions found in Dachshunds. Keep in mind that not all Dachshunds will get any or all of these diseases. If you’re you’re buying your Dachshund, check the health clearances of both the parents of the puppy you’re looking to buy. A good breeder should offer health clearances – proof that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a certain health condition – from an independent agency such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.
Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD)
A common Dachshund health problem, IVDD is marked by herniated disks in the lower back. Symptoms range from mild pain (lowered head, reluctance to move, stiffness, sensitivity to touch), to severe pain (arched back, lameness, dragging legs, inability to stand, crying when touched or moving, trembling, staggering, collapse), to partial or complete paralysis. The disease can be treated medically and/or surgically, depending on the severity. Carts for dogs have been devised to assist Dachshunds with rear-quarter paralysis due to severe IVD.
Status epilepticus, or epilepsy, is a general term for neurological disorders that cause dogs to have sudden, recurring seizures. These seizures can be caused by trauma, toxins, brain tumors, infections or issues with your dog’s blood or organs. These attacks may or may not result in your dog losing consciousness. If your dog experiences more than one episode of seizures, he may be diagnosed as epileptic.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Head shaking
- Collapsing to one side
- Muscle twitching
- Rhythmic blinking
- Paddling motions with their legs
- Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
Patellar Luxation occurs when your pet’s kneecap moves out of its normal location. Due to their short legs, Dachshunds are more likely to develop this condition. Some of the suggested measures you can take to help reduce the likelihood of this condition include the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep up an exercise program
- Provide your dog with oral joint support supplements
- Provide supplements that build and maintain cartilage
- Feed your Dachshund and anti-inflammatory diet ( low in carbohydrates)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, also known as Progressive Retinal Degeneration or PRD, is to a group of inherited eye diseases characterized by the gradual deterioration of the retina. There is no treatment, and it affects both eyes at the same time. Although ultimately leading to blindness, it typically takes hold later in life and many dogs pass away from old age before the disease takes full hold.
Obesity is an accumulation of excess body fat. Owing to their distinctive body shape and short legs, obesity is a common health problem in Dachshunds. The condition can affect their joints, heart, and lungs.
Dachshund owners should monitor their pet’s weight. They should never feed them human food or “table scraps.” The cause of obesity can be prevented and reversed in dogs with a proper diet and regular exercise.