Your new dachshund puppy or dachshund dog can be subject to many potential illnesses and injuries. These may crop up unexpectedly and be devastating to your peace of mind and wallet. Don’t be caught off guard. You can learn, quickly and effectively, about the potential health problems and how to avoid or overcome them. Don’t react to a surprise, be pro-active and avoid problems becoming severe, then you can keep your dachshund happy and healthy.
Potential Dachshund Health Problems
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from any number of health issues. The hard part is that they can’t communicate in words to tell us they are suffering, your dog cannot tell you “I have a painful backache”. They will often just become withdrawn and suffer in silence until their extreme pain causes them to yelp or bite. It’s up to you to figure out when they need help. It is important to recognize the type of symptoms they display and the steps you can take to avoid these problems in the first place.
In addition to the usual dog health issues, there are breed related health conditions particular to dachshunds.
Some Dachshund Health Problems
Remember, you are in control of your dachshunds diet. This means, to a very large extent, you are in charge of your dachshunds health. Your dachshunds diet and exercise habits directly affect its well being. Some dachshund health issues are inherited, you should make your the dachshund puppy you buy has a good ancestry. Responsible dachshund breeders know the full genetic background of their dogs and take care to breed dachshunds with the lowest possible chance of genetically linked conditions and diseases.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is one of the Dachshund medical conditions every Dachshund owner has heard about. We all fear the consequences of this condition. Put simply, it means that one of the discs in your Dachshunds spine is protruding or has ruptured, putting pressure on the spinal cord. The discs normally provide a cushion between the vertebrae. Dachshunds with IVDD may show some or all of the following symptoms:
• Walking stiffly, hunching their backs
• Discomfort when you touch a specific area of the back or neck
• Crying, whining or shivering
• Weakness in their legs or dragging their back legs
If you see any of these signs you need to keep your Dachshund very still and take them to your vet. It is particularly urgent if they can’t use their back legs. This type of injury is time sensitive. The hope of a full recovery decreases considerably if your Dachshund loses feeling in their legs and does not have surgery within 12 – 24 hours.
For less acute cases it may be possible to nurse them with medication and crate rest. This can be a long process, requiring 6–8 weeks of confinement with no running, jumping or even walking, but many Dachshunds will make a full recovery.
Obesity is probably the common Dachshund health problem, simply caused by too much food or the wrong type of food and lack of exercise. Just like in humans, obesity predisposes your Dachshund to heart disease, liver disease, plus skin problems and of course IVDD. These issues can be life threatening, so it is important to maintain your Dachshunds correct weight. Providing the correct quantity of the right type of food, plus plenty of exercise to burn off calories is essential to your dachshunds health.
Hypothyroidism is caused by the thyroid gland failing to produce sufficient thyroid hormones. Dachshunds with this disease can become obese (even when not overeating), can be lethargic and have hair loss and thinning coats and frequent infections. It’s important to note that show none of these signs. Thyroid disease can be diagnosed by a blood test and is easily treated with inexpensive medication.
Dachshunds can suffer from infections which may occur in their ears, on their skin, in their eyes and their gums. Ear infections are the most common and are often due to a foreign body or bacteria getting into this moist hard to access area. Be sure to check your dachsunds’s ears frequently for red spots, swelling, excess moisture, or dirt. Of all dog health problems, infections are the easiest to prevent. Gently wipe clean any build-up in the corner of your dog’s eyes, brush their teeth (with doggie toothpaste) and brush their coat regularly to keep it clean. Make this maintenance a part of your fun, playful daily routine and you’ll be sure to find any issues before they become severe.
Dachshunds can have many forms of allergies. By far the most common is a flea allergy this may cause hot spots which in turn lead to infections. Be certain to get flea and tick prevention treatment for your dachshund every month and get regular vet examinations. Dachshunds can also suffer from skin allergies on their tummies if they walk in long grass. If your dachshunds skin problems lead to ear infections or other hot spots, it may be a food allergy. This is a more severe problem which should be dealt with by a veterinarian.
As you may have noticed, dog health problems tend to mirror human health issues in many ways and diabetes is one such disease. Excess rich, fatty and sugary foods can result in pancreatic issues that cause diabetes. To avoid diabetes, keep your dog on a strict diet of appropriate dog food with minimal table scraps or excess meals. If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to take your dachshund to your vet regularly and you may need to give your dachshund regular injections.
Endocrine disease is a metabolic disorder which is similar to human diseases such as diabetes and Cushings disease (too much steroid produced by the adrenal glands). Cushings disease requires medications to be taken long term. All endocrine diseases need regular monitoring and testing by your veterinarian.
Dachshunds may have any of a number of eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). All eye conditions need to be treated by your vet, some medically, others surgically. Cataracts will cause your dachshunds eyes to look white and cloudy. The degree of loss of vision will depend on the cataracts severity and location. Glaucoma causes increased pressure in the fluid in the eye and results in blindness if not treated.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a genetic disease that affects the retina in the back of the eye. First signs of PRA are usually night blindness, that progresses until your Dachshund is completely blind. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease.
Arthritis and Dysplasia
Some dogs are highly susceptible to joint problems. Some pure breeds especially have a long history of arthritic dog health problems due to genetic disposition. Make sure your dog receives the necessary vitamins and minerals it requires each day and that your vet checks the joints for deterioration at least once a year.
If your dachshund gets plenty of exercise, eats well every day, and you keep her clean and well groomed, many of these health problems will never be an issue. Even then, you should make sure you visit your vet at least annually to check for any potential issues. The earlier you see signs of a condition, the better it can be treated.