5 Dachshund health problems
Dachshunds – also known as sausage dogs – are a fun, curious, loyal and loving breed. Famous for their short legs and long bodies, they make excellent pets for people who want a small dog with a big personality!
Sausage dogs can be standard-sized or miniature, and there are three coat varieties: smooth coat (shorthair), longhair and wirehaired.
Dachshund translates as “badger dog” in German, with the breed initially developed to dig its way through badger dens to oust the occupants. Their short legs make them perfect for this subterranean task.
If you’re thinking about giving a sausage dog a forever home, or you’ve recently adopted one, one of the first things you need to do is secure pet insurance.
As the UK’s only dedicated pet insurance comparison website, Go Get It can compare cover to protect your pooch (and your finances) if they were to get ill or injured.
Having cover in place can help to recoup some of the costs associated with vet fees, meaning you can focus on nursing your hound back to full health without worrying about your finances.
Compare pet insurance with Go Get It and choose from a range of policies.
What are common health issues for Dachshunds?
Like other breeds, there are a number of common health issues associated with sausage dogs. Let’s take a look at what some of them are.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is the most common health issue among UK sausage dogs. A website dedicated to the disease notes that around one in every four Dachshunds could be affected by IVDD at some point during their lives.
While many dogs recover in time, it’s possible that the disease could lead to permanent life-threatening or life-altering damage.
The disease is essentially a genetic disorder that causes the vertebra in the spinal cavity to weaken and sometimes protrude. The three main signs to watch out for include:
- Pain – for instance a reluctance to jump or climb, yelping, head carried low or arching of the back.
- Incoordination (ataxia) – which may involve your pooch stumbling, swaying and looking generally unstable.
- Paralysis – this typically happens on the hind legs, but sometimes all four legs can be affected.
A dog may not develop all three of these symptoms, so you need to be aware of all the signs of IVDD.
If you’re concerned that your sausage dog may have the condition, make sure you speak to your vet as soon as possible.
Feeding your pup a nutritious, balanced diet and letting them enjoy plenty of on and off-lead exercise can help to prevent the risk of your dog developing IVDD.
Lafora Disease is a type of epilepsy that affects miniature wirehaired Dachshunds in particular. As Dachshund Health notes, symptoms usually develop from five years old and can include things like jerking, fitting, panic attacks and incontinence.
Symptoms develop over a period of time as the dog is unable to process starch into sugar, causing the starch platelets to build up in the hound’s central nervous system.
Lafora Disease is what’s known as an ‘inherited autosomal recessive’ condition, meaning that the dog must inherit a mutated gene from both parents to be affected.
Though, a dog that has one mutated gene will still be a carrier, meaning if it bred with another carrier or affected dog some of the puppies may be affected.
A Lafora DNA test is required for dog breeders registered with the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders scheme.
It’s tests like these that can help to cut the number of dogs susceptible to developing the disease.
Patella Luxation is a common condition where the patella (kneecap) dislocates from its original position in the groove of the thigh bone.
Dachshunds are more susceptible to developing this condition due to their short legs, which alters the angle of the kneecap.
A common sign of Patella Luxation is the dog showing ‘skipping’ lameness, where it will limp for a few steps before returning to a normal walk. Some dogs will limp constantly, while dogs affected in both knees will walk in a stiff and awkward way.
Making sure your pooch enjoys a balanced diet and plenty of exercise can help to prevent them from getting this condition.
Again, you should visit the vets if you’re concerned your dog may have Patella Luxation.
Depending on your pet’s age, they may advise surgical or non-surgical treatment (surgery may be advised for young animals, to stop the potential development of serious limb deformities).
Miniature Dachshunds are susceptible to developing a form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which can cause them to go blind.
This is known as Cord1 PRA – dogs should be screened for this prior to breeding.
They’re also prone to other eye-related conditions, including dry eye and cataracts, though PRA is the most serious.
There aren't many symptoms for PRA, but dogs may be hesitant to go down the stairs or enter dark areas, and the eye might look cloudy.
There isn’t any treatment for PRA.
Things you can do to help promote good eye health in your dog include making sure any infections are treated quickly and effectively, and keeping the hair around your dog’s eyes short.
Miniature Dachshunds in particular are prone to excessive weight gain, which – similar to humans – can lead to a number of health problems.
Specifically, there will be a much greater risk of them getting IVDD.
If your dog is unable to maintain a healthy weight even though they’re getting plenty of exercise and enjoying a balanced diet, this could be a sign of an underlying thyroid problem, so it’s worth seeing the vet.
Compare pet insurance with Go Get It
Hopefully, your pet Dachshund will never develop any health issues and will live a long and happy life. But it’s still important to prepare for the unexpected by taking out pet insurance.
When you compare pet insurance with Go Get It you can choose from a range of cover options, including accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime cover.