- Dachshund Back Problems
- Dachshund Skin Problems
- Dachshund Stomach Problems
- Dachshund Thyroid Problems
- Dachshund Eye Problems
- Dachshund Seizure Problems
- Dachshund Allergies
- Dachshund Bladder Problems
- Dachshund Weight Problems
- Dachshund Parasites
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dachshunds are unique in their body structure because of their short legs and long bodies. This general skeleton structure can cause health concerns when they are not kept in their ideal physical condition and/or are allowed to partake in activities that can cause harm to their bodies.
Some common health problems in Dachshunds are genetic and those Dachshunds that are known to have genetic inferiorities should never be bred. Dachshunds that develop health problems as they mature should be carefully evaluated before they are added to a breeding program. Unhealthy dogs should never be bred.
Although a healthy breed, Dachshunds do have some common health problems that can affect quality of life. IVDD and Obesity are the most common health concerns.
Let’s take a look at some of Dachshund’s most common health problems.
Dachshund Back Problems
1. Dachshund IVDD
Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD, is the most common health concern for Dachshunds. IVDD affects dogs with elongated backs and short legs such as the Dachshund, Basset Hound, and Corgis. IVDD occurs when the intervertebral discs become diseased and/or compressed. Dogs affected with IVDD will have severe weakness and possible complete paralysis in the hind end.
Dachshunds are 10 times more likely to develop IVDD than any other dog breed. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatments are available including pain management, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery. Dogs that are completely paralyzed from IVDD can still live a full life with the use of a cart or doggy wheelchair.
Symptoms of IVDD include:
- Refusal to stand or move
- Shivering or shaking
- Arched back or pulled back head
- Crying when petting or being picked up
- Weakness in the hindquarters
- Limping or staggering
- Refusal to bend neck down to their food/water dishes
- Dragging the hindquarters
You can take steps to help keep your Dachshund’s spine from degenerating and causing severe problems. Keep your Dachshund at their ideal body weight, make sure they get plenty of exercise, and do not allow them to jump on and off furniture onto hard flooring. You can also give a joint supplement that will help combat any changes to the spine.
2. Back Sprains
Many times people assume when their Dachshund experiences pain in their back it must be IVDD. However, Dachshunds tend to strain or sprain their back and just need time to rest. Anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary to give your Doxie a bit of relief and let the muscles along the spine relax and heal.
Crate rest is also usually prescribed when your Dachshund has a back sprain. Sometimes it only takes a week of crate rest for them to be completely back to normal but it can take longer, up to six weeks if it is a severe sprain.
Dachshund Skin Problems
3. Acanthosis Nigricans
While Acanthosis Nigricans does not seem to cause discomfort to your Dachshund, it is unsightly. Characterized by thick, dark almost black skin in the armpits and groin of your Dachshund, Acanthosis Nigricans is a common genetic disorder.
Dogs that are affected with Acanthosis Nigricans should not be bred since this is a genetic disorder and there is no known reason as to why they develop it. Although Vitamin E supplements have been known to improve the color and thickness of the skin, there is no cure.
Alopecia in general means hair loss and Dachshunds can be prone to hair loss ranging from mild to severe. Dachshunds that are diluted colors such as chocolates and blues are more prone to severe alopecia.
While alopecia may look rather bad, it does not affect their health. Dogs affected with severe alopecia will get cold more easily in the winter and can sunburn if they are exposed to direct sunlight too long.
Dachshund Stomach Problems
Most Dachshunds are not prone to bloat, however, if your dog tends to eat their meals fast and suck in a lot of air as they eat, they can bloat easily. Bloat is when the stomach twists and can affect several organs that will not get proper blood flow from the twisted stomach. Immediate treatment is needed as bloat can be fatal and only emergency surgery can possibly save them.
You can slow your Dachshund’s eating down with a special bowl that does not allow them to gulp their food, therefore reducing the amount of air they are sucking into their stomach. The Frisco slow feed bowl, which holds three cups of food, is a great bowl to slow down Doxies that gobble their food.
Symptoms of bloat include:
- Drooling or salivating
- Pain in the abdomen
- Nipping at their abdomen
Dachshund Thyroid Problems
Hypothyroidism can be common in Dachshunds and is oftentimes misdiagnosed as obesity. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland malfunction and is not producing enough thyroid hormones.
Lymphocytic thyroiditis is actually the most common form of hypothyroidism in Dachshunds and will generally present between one and three years of age. Medications will be prescribed by your veterinarian and a treatment plan will be put in place to manage your Doxie’s hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Sluggishness/sleeping a lot
- Severe changes in behavior
Dachshund Eye Problems
7. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a group of inherited or genetic eye disorders that directly affects the retina and will slowly cause vision problems leading to complete blindness. Night blindness is one of the first signs of PRA, if you notice your Doxie struggling in the dark you will want to have a canine ophthalmologist examine them.
You may also notice that your Dachshund does not want to go down darkened hallways or into dimly lit rooms. Their depth perception may also be affected and they can stumble over things, especially stairs or thresholds.
There is no treatment for dogs affected with PRA, but there are genetic tests that should be performed before any Dachshund is ever bred. A Doxie that has PRA affected means they have both recessive genes and are likely to develop PRA, these dogs should be sterilized and never bred.
As any dog ages, cataracts can begin to develop. A cataract is a grayish or white film over the eye lens. The eye will look cloudy and a grayish or white color. There are some cataracts that occur in younger dogs and those cataracts are usually hereditary and that dog should not be bred.
The severity of the cataract will vary and can stay small or can progress to cause vision impairment. A canine ophthalmologist can examine the affect eye and determine the best treatment plan for your Dachshund.
Dachshund Seizure Problems
While epilepsy is not a super common health problem in Dachshunds, it can occur and has been becoming more common in recent years. Canine epilepsy is a seizure disorder that is very similar to epilepsy in humans and can be managed with a treatment plan put in place by your veterinarian.
Things to watch for if you suspect your Doxie is having an epileptic seizure:
- Stiffness in their limbs and neck
- Body begins shaking
- The body goes completely limp or unresponsive
- Possible crying or foaming at the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek veterinary help immediately. Epilepsy is not preventable but it is able be managed and treated with medication.
Dachshunds do not usually suffer from allergies. However, environmental and/or food allergies can occur and cause your Dachshund to not feel well. Skin problems, such as itching, rashes, open sores, and hair loss can mean your Doxie has an allergy to their food. The same symptoms can also mean there is an environmental allergen causing problems.
Speak with your veterinarian about allergies and you may need to change your Dachshund’s diet to eliminate the most common food allergens. A specialized food such as Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein dog food may be necessary.
If determined that it is not a food allergen, an antihistamine may be prescribed. There is also natural allergy relief supplement such as the Zesty Paws Allergy and Immune Support. This daily supplement helps boost the immune system and aid in allergy relief.
Dachshund Bladder Problems
Dachshund bladder problems can occur at any time; however, the most common is incontinence as your Dachshund ages, especially in spayed females. As your Doxie ages, their muscle control weakens and they will experience urinary incontinence.
Keeping disposable diapers on your incontinent Doxie is a way to minimize any messes. Potty pads in their beds are also another way to minimize messes, since urinary incontinence generally occurs when they are sleeping or when they first wake and stand up.
Dachshund Weight Problems
Dachshund obesity is a real thing, especially when your Doxie does not get enough exercise and has a high-fat diet. Dachshunds that have been altered (spayed or neutered) are also at a higher risk of becoming obese.
You want to ensure your Doxie is eating a well-balanced diet that is low in fat and high in protein. Do not overfeed your dog or give too many treats throughout the day, this can lead to weight gain. Dachshunds that are obese can have hip pain or limp from having to carry the extra weight on their short legs.
A sedentary life is not healthy for anyone, especially your Doxie. You want to put your Dachshund on a strict exercise regimen and keep them moving. It is recommended that Dachshunds get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. I recommend breaking that up into two exercise sessions a day; 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.
13. Internal Parasites
Worms are a very common health problem for Dachshunds. It is recommended that you de-worm your Dachshund every six months or at least have a fecal exam performed by your vet to ensure there are no intestinal worms.
Intestinal worms can cause diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, dull coat, and/or hair loss. Heartworms are also another concerning internal parasite that you will want to test for and put your Doxie on preventatives to keep them from becoming infected.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common dachshund health problems?
The most common Dachshund health problem is IVDD; this affects the spine and can cause complete paralysis of the hindquarters. Another very common health concern in Dachshunds is obesity especially in older and/or altered Dachshunds.
Many Dachshund health issues can be managed with a treatment plan set up by your veterinarian which is why regular wellness checks are vital.
What is Intervertebral Disc Disease?
Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD, is a neurological disorder where the cushioning between the vertebrae, the intervertebral discs, starts compressing either from disease or injury. The compression of these discs will cause severe pain and weakness in the hindquarters and can even cause paralysis in extreme cases.
Dachshunds are 10 times more likely than other long-backed, short-legged breeds to develop IVDD during their lifetime.
What health problems do older dachshunds have?
As any dog ages, their health may begin deteriorating and they can develop health issues such as IVDD, incontinence, obesity, cancer, cataracts just to name a few. It is vital that you put your senior Dachshund on a wellness check schedule with your veterinarian so health concerns can be quickly detected and treated.
How do I keep my dachshund healthy?
A well-balanced diet and plenty of exercises are the best ways to keep your Dachshund healthy. Regular wellness checks with your veterinarian to discuss any changes in your Dachshund’s body condition and health is also important to keeping your Dachshund healthy.
Keep your Doxie from straining or spraining their back, avoid slick floors and stairs. Keep your Dachshund active and well-muscled; also ensure they are getting the proper nutrition by feeding a high-quality food with a balanced analysis.
Spaying or neutering too early in life is not healthy for your dog and can cause severe developmental delays. The earliest you want to neuter a male is six months of age and spay a female at eight months of age.
Vaccinations are important, however, we do have a tendency to over-vaccinate and that can cause serious health problems. Once your Dachshund has their core vaccinations, you will want to start doing titer tests to make sure they have antibodies so they do not keep getting vaccinations that they may not even need, this includes the rabies vaccine.
How do I know if I’m buying a healthy dachshund?
It is always vital to research the breeder you are considering getting your Dachshund from. Ask plenty of questions and look for a breeder that is willing to stand behind their puppies with a health guarantee. Breeders that offer a health guarantee have put a lot of work into producing healthy puppies.
If you are adopting a Dachshund from a rescue or shelter, you will want to see all the reports from the attending veterinarian and to make sure the Doxie has been thoroughly checked and there are no known health issues.
While there are specific Dachshund diseases that are most common, any health problem can be alarming and will need to be addressed with your veterinarian. Keep your Dachshund at their ideal body weight and condition and ensure they are getting at least the recommended amount of exercise each day.
Your Dachshund is most likely a beloved family member and just like other family members, they do need preventative care to ensure that any changes in their health is caught early and treated accordingly. Dachshund illnesses can cause stress and worry, so it is always best to do a full hands-on physical exam of your dog at least once a day.
Supplements for their joints, especially the spine, are beneficial when your Doxie reaches maturity. I generally add a joint supplement to all my Dachshunds by the time they reach 2 years old.