Do you own a Dachshund dog, and you don’t understand what is going on with its legs? Does it seem like your dog’s back legs are not working or is your Dachshund shaking, wobbly, weak, dragging, or does your dog seem to be in a lot of pain? This article will help you to know what you should do if your Dachshund is experiencing back leg pain or if your dog’s back legs are not working correctly. This post also provides all possible Dachshund’s back legs problems: symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevention.
What would cause your Dachshunds legs to stop working? One big problem that the Dachshund breed faces is disk herniation or disk budges between the vertebrae and the spinal column. Other problems can be paralysis, bone deformities, stressed joints, bowlegged syndrome, Antebrachial growth deformity, Elbow dysplasia, Luxating Patella, IVDD, or even just an injury.
My Dachshund is Shaking and then Suddenly Cannot Walk, What Should I Do?
If all of a sudden, your dog starts shaking and seems unable to walk or is paralyzed then chances are that your dog has some kind of spinal issue.
When you look at your Dachshunds legs and they seem to be affected, this can mean that your dog has had a slipped or herniated disk in the vertebrae. This is an issue that can affect both the front and the back legs.
To find out if your dog has a slipped disk, you can sometimes tell by how your dog’s legs are working. Look and locate which leg does not seem to be working normally. If the front legs are affected, this can mean that the slipped disk is located in the neck area. If the back legs are affected, this usually means that the slipped disk is further down the spine area.
When your dog’s legs stop working, you need to try to restrict their movement as soon as possible. Try your best to keep them from moving around while you call the vet. If you cannot get to the vet because of the time or because you are calling out of normal business hours, call the emergency vet clinic and see someone as soon as you can.
When you call your vet, these are some things that they will need to know about the injury of your dog:
- Are the front legs affected?
- Are the back legs affected?
- When did you notice this?
- How did it happen?
- What symptoms is your dog showing?
- How did your dog act when the first sign of pain occurred?
Many times, when the legs are affected, it can mean IVDD. Many vets are not knowledgeable about IVDD so if you are seeing signs and symptoms of IVDD and you are not satisfied with your vet’s knowledge of this disease, find another vet to take your Dachshund to.
What is a Possible Diagnosis of the Legs Not Working?
There are different diagnoses that can be given when your dog’s back legs are not working such as an acute injury. This can mean that something happened to your dog such as being hit by a car, falling down the stairs, falling off furniture, falling when jumping, getting kicked or stepped on, etc.
If your dog was injured or has suffered a back injury, this could be the problem but if your dog is between the ages of 4 and 8 years of age and was not injured, chances are this back injury is caused by IVDD.
Signs of Leg Problems in Dachshunds
Many times, you can look at your dog and tell by the position of their legs that something isn’t right. Even though the Dachshund legs are curved, you can tell if your dog’s legs are pointing at a strange angle.
If you see that your dog is walking differently or that their walk becomes awkward, go to your vet right away to check for any newly developed health problems.
Sometimes the way that your Dachshund stands can tell you if there is a problem in their legs. If your dog is walking with a limp or you notice strange movement, it is important to take them to the vet right away.
Pay attention to how your dog walks on a normal basis so that you can know if something changes in the way that they move or the way that they behave. Spotting and paying attention to any changes in your dog’s walk or behaves are the easiest ways to tell if something is wrong with your dog’s legs, but here are some other signs that something might be wrong with your dog’s legs:
- Not as playful as normal.
- Doesn’t run as fast as normal.
- Seems to have stiffness in the legs, especially the hind legs.
- Is in pain.
- Swollen joints.
- Acting strangely.
- Not getting up to eat or play.
- Arched back.
- Head pulled in.
- Yelping when you touch or pick up your Dachshund.
- Not bending to eat or drink.
- The back legs dragging.
- Drunken rear or a rear that is not under the dog’s control.
You only have a few hours to get surgery on your Dachshunds ruptured disk in order to have a success rate in the surgery. There is a 90% success rate to have fully restored functioning of the legs if you get it treated quickly and 50% once total paralysis sets in. It goes down to 5% chances of recovery if you wait for 24 hours to get surgery or treatment.
Common Leg Problems That Happen to Dachshunds
Sometimes even when you are very careful with your dog, it can end up getting a herniated disk in its spinal column. Different dogs react differently to this and if you notice that your dog is dragging its back legs or is showing any sign of paralysis or extreme pain, this is an emergency, and you need to drive to the vet or the emergency room immediately.
2. Bone Deformities
Due to genetics and other problems in Dachshunds, this breed sometimes has different kinds of bone deformities that can cause the legs to not correctly work such as Pes varus which is a growth plate in the shinbone that closes too early, Chondrodysplasia which means the bones develop growth plate injuries, angular hock deformity, easy-westy feet, and Queen Ann Fronts, all which are crippling diseases in this breed.
3. Stressed Joints
Many Dachshund dogs have dwarfism which can cause there to be stressed joints because their legs are so short, and their body is so long. This can cause your dog much discomfort and pain and needs to be treated.
4. Bowlegged Syndrome
A bowlegged syndrome is a problem that many Dachshunds have when the back legs bend and cause the bones to become deformed. The bone that is affected in Bowlegged Syndrome is the distal tibia and this is when the bone turns in towards the body.
Bowlegged Syndrome can be very uncomfortable and can cause your dog much pain. This is a rare genetic disease but if you leave it untreated, it can cause your dog to have arthritis.
This syndrome is treated by surgery or by surgery or casting and if your dog’s back legs look strange, take them to the vet right away.
5. Antebrachial Growth Deformity
Antebrachial growth deformity happens in Dachshunds and happens when the dog’s front legs grow larger than the back legs.
This deformity will cause the dog to have stress in the joints because their walk will be uneven, and it can lead to severe leg problems. Surgery is sometimes necessary to fix this disorder in Dachshund dogs.
6. Elbow Dysplasia
This issue that many Dachshund dogs have is elbow dysplasia. This is when the elbows are not formed correctly. The elbows have three different bones and when there is a deformity, it can cause the weight of the dog to be uneven and can cause arthritis to set in.
If your Dachshund has only a mild case of elbow dysplasia, it might just need braces or other medical treatment but sometimes surgery is necessary to take care of this problem.
7. Luxating Patella
This health condition affects the Dachshund’s hind legs. This happens when the kneecap, or the patella, is misaligned or becomes displaced.
You can tell this happens to your dog when they move, and it looks like the knee cap is moving back and forth. This can mean that it is dislocated, and this can cause other injuries and lead to arthritis if not treated.
If this is not treated right away, it can cause the vet to have to do surgery to correct this issue.
IVDD is an Intervariable disk disease that happens when a disc slips or is herniated and forces into the spinal canal that causes things such as incoordination, muscle spasms, pain and can even lead to paralysis.
It is more likely, up to 12 times more likely, that your Dachshund will get IVDD over other breeds of dogs. This can affect even up to 25% of Dachshunds.
Causes of IVDD
IVDD usually occurs because of genetics, but it can also happen because of jumping or pressure on the spinal cord that causes compression. When this isn’t treated, it can cause the blood supply to lessen and more inflammation in the spine often leading to complete paralysis.
Signs of IVDD
Here are some signs and symptoms of IVDD. Remember, IVDD can happen slowly, or it can happen suddenly:
- Lack of appetite.
- Stiffness in the limbs or back.
- The back begins to arch.
- Pain in the back legs.
- The legs are not able to hold the dog’s weight.
- Weakness in walking or in standing.
- The Head is lower when in a standing position.
- Sensitive to being touched.
- Not walking straight or walking impaired.
- The abdomen is tight.
- Wobbly and not able to stand straight.
- Swaying or falling when walking.
- Spasms of the muscles.
- Not able to hold urine.
- Paralysis in the back legs.
- Will collapse when standing.
IVDD can be mild to moderate where the dog is able to move normally but has slight pain or is sensitive when being held or touched, moderate to high which is when the dog is weak and crosses back legs or is not able to hold the legs up or is dragging the legs, shaking and shows clear problems in the back legs and moderate to severe which is when the dog cannot stand or walk and is not able to support itself and is in extreme pain.
One problem with IVDD is it is often misdiagnosing because of other problems and is often diagnosed as a problem with the stomach, muscle spasms, arthritis, or more. When this happens, it can cause your dog to get worse and lead to extreme situations such as paralysis.
The 5 Stages of IVDD
There are 5 stages of IVDD injuries including:
- First Stage: Pain in the neck or back without any signs of any neurological disorders.
- Second Stage: The dog can walk but is weak and seems to not have control of all body movement.
- Third Stage: The dog can move its legs but is not able to stand or walk.
- Fourth Stage: The dog is not able to move its legs completely and is in partial paralysis but can feel when its toes are pinched.
- Fifth Stage: There is no feeling at all in the legs and complete paralysis.
What Are Some Traditional Treatment Options and Complimentary Treatments for IVDD?
IVDD can be treated depending on how severe it is, and it can be helped with home cures, vet cures, or even sometimes pain relief.
Here are some home cures that you can do if your dog has IVDD:
- Mild and specific exercises.
- Cage rest.
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs.
Some vet cures include:
- Laser Therapy.
- Cryotherapy or freezing therapy.
- Hydrotherapy or underwater treatments.
Here are some things that your Dachshund might need for pain management:
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs.
- Muscle Relaxants.
- Nonsteroidal Drugs.
Dachshund’s Leg Problem: Treatments and Preventions
Dachshunds that have leg problems often end up in surgery to correct their problems, especially if they have been left untreated for a long amount of time.
Other treatments that your dog might need include:
- Not using stairs or jumping on furniture or in cars.
- Using dog ramps.
- Not overexercising your dog.
- Not crossbreeding with leg or back problems.
Almost all back injuries are caused by IVDD and there is no real way that you can prevent a Dachshund from getting IVDD.
Even though a dog with IVDD may end up injured by playing too roughly or by jumping off the bed or the couch, you could not have stopped IVDD from happening eventually.
The best thing to know is how to protect your dog’s back if it has IVDD such as:
- Pay attention to the signs and symptoms so that you can catch them right away.
- Use ramps, wheelchairs, and lifts.
- Avoid too much jumping.
- Keep your dog at a healthy weight.
- Exercise your dog regularly to keep its muscles strong.
- Follow the strict crate rule if there is an issue for up to six weeks.
- Use Glucosamine or Chondroitin for cartilage health.
- Use a harness when your dogs are active and pull on the leash to relieve pressure in the neck.
- Avoid high-impact games or activities that strain the spine.
- Do not let your dog go up and down the stairs.
- Don’t let your dog run at high speeds.
- Be careful who you get your dog from because IVDD can be a genetic issue that results in offspring with higher chances of IVDD.
What Does Strict Crate Rest Mean?
Strict crate rest means that you are stopping your dog from moving as much as you can. This means you will not let your dog walk around much and you will give them their water and food inside of the crate.
As your dog begins to heal, it will be able to start rehab with a supervised person. Some dogs recover better when they are moving around and so it is important to ask your vet what is best for your dog.
Even if your dog seems okay after a couple of weeks, if your vet says that your dog has to be on strict crate rest for six weeks, that means six weeks and not a week earlier.
The reason for strict crate rest is so that the scar tissue can form over the disk correctly and this takes at least 5 weeks for it to happen. Taking your dog out of strict crate rest early can result in a flare-up and pain in your dog.
What Kind of Life Does a Dachshund Have After IVDD?
The problem with IVDD is that if your dog gets it once, chances are it will get it again. Many dogs can have up to 5 or more slipped disks. Sometimes operating on your Dachshund can fix more than one problem area but it doesn’t mean that your dog will not have a reoccurrence.
Once your dog is diagnosed with IVDD and undergoes treatment and is healed, chances are that it can go back to its normal, active life. Of course, allowing your dog to be active is taking a risk but being active can also help to give your dog a more muscular and flexible back.
Some dogs that have to undergo surgery and other treatments might not be completely fixed and many of them might have to have a wheelchair in order to be able to be mobile and to live as normal of a life as possible. Each dog will have a different situation and you cannot judge your situation by other dogs, just be as careful as you can be while letting your dog live the best life that it can.
Doggy wheelchairs are a way that some dogs can live normal and active lives. Wheelchairs are great for dogs that are diagnosed with the following illnesses or injuries:
- Degenerative Myelopathy or DM.
- Hip Dysplasia.
- Slipped or ruptured disks.
- Neurological problems.
- Recovering from surgery.
- Congenital abnormalities.
- Problems walking.
There are wheelchairs that are able to help support the back legs or wheelchairs that can support all four of the legs if your dog is having trouble with them.
Doggy wheelchairs have lots of perks and can help your dogs live an active and healthy life. The great thing with wheelchairs is that they are normally:
- Fully adjustable.
- Lightweight but tough materials.
- Small enough to store and to transport when you go somewhere.
- Easy to resell.
- Can be used for dogs from 2 to 180 pounds.
Please check out our article for the top 8 best doggy wheelchairs for Dachshunds. This can help you to find the best equipment for your dog before or after surgery.
Anyone who owns a dog knows that the dog is a man’s best friend and becomes part of your forever family. If you have a Dachshund that is experiencing leg pain or seems to have lost control of its legs, chances are your dog is experiencing something traumatic and needs to be treated right away.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of IVDD and knowing your dog’s own behaviors and actions can help you to determine if something serious is going on with your dog and if you need to contact a vet right away. Pay attention to the signs that your dog gives you so that you can make sure that he or she stays healthy and pain-free.