Intervertebral Disc Disease
Dachshunds are more likely to suffer from IVDD than many other breeds. It is possible to reduce the risk of IVDD (but not prevent it altogether) by taking responsible breeding and ownership decisions:
Owners: keep your dog in tip-top condition and avoid over-protection by adopting a sensible lifestyle
Did you know the Dachshund is a short-legged breed, not a long-backed one? It's the genetics of short legs that pre-dispose Dachshunds to back disease. Find out about Dachshund shape and conformation and how these relate to back disease.
All dogs' discs degenerate with age; they lose water, become more fibrous and sometimes mineralised. Degeneration of a Dachshund's discs happens at a much younger age than in dogs with normal length legs. Read more about calcified discs.
Testing for IVDD:
X-ray screening and back scoring has been used in Scandinavia for several years and is currently the best available tool to help us reduce the genetic risk of IVDD. All 6 varieties of Dachshund in the UK are encouraged to participate. You can see the results of UK screened dogs here.
It has been known for many years that herniated discs in Dachshunds have a significant hereditary component. Research in Scandinavia has shown that there is a good correlation between calcification of the discs and clinical herniations, when dogs are screened between the ages of 2 and 4. The aim of X-ray screening for IVDD is to reduce the occurrence of herniations in future generations by encouraging breeding with dogs that have low numbers of calcifications.
Symptoms and Treatment:
Would you recognise the signs that your dog might have a back problem? Check out the symptoms here. When you see any of the signs that your Dachshund might have a back problem, you need to visit your vet immediately. While waiting to see the vet, ensure your dog is confined to a small area (crate or pen) and not allowed to run, jump or able to climb on or off furniture. Your vet will carry out an initial diagnosis and may refer your dog to a specialist. We do not recommend you take your dog to see a Chiropractor.
Whatever your vet recommends, your Dachshund will need a careful programme of rehabilitation to help get back to normal. Download our crate rest guide from the rehab page.
Remember, IVDD is not a death sentence for your Dachshund; there is hope, but you need to understand the outlook (prognosis) based on the symptoms and treatment options. You also need to act quickly.