Back Problems like Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common condition in Dachshunds. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. If your dog is suddenly unable or unwilling to jump or go up stairs, is reluctant to move around, has a hunched back, cries out, or refuses to eat or go potty, it's likely in severe pain. Your doxie may even experience sudden paralysis — dragging the back feet or be unable to get up or use its back legs. If you see these symptoms, don’t wait! Call your veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately! In many cases involving paralysis, surgical removal of the ruptured discs (within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms) has the best results. For less severe cases, rest and medication may resolve the problem. As with so many other diseases, weight control helps reduce the risk of IVDD. You should also provide ramps or steps for your pet from puppy-hood on to prevent your dog from stressing its back by jumping on and off of the furniture.
Bladder or Kidney Stones, There are a few different types of stones that can form in the kidney or in the bladder, and Dachshunds are more likely to develop them than other breeds. Periodic urine tests for telltale signs indicating the presence of kidney and bladder stones, which are very painful! If your dachshund has blood in the urine, can’t urinate, or is straining to urinate, it is a medical emergency.
Bleeding Disorders. There are several types of inherited bleeding disorders that occur in dogs. They range in severity from very mild to very severe. Many times a pet seems normal until a serious injury occurs or surgery is performed, and then severe bleeding can result. Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood clotting disorder frequently found in Dachshunds. Tests for blood clotting times or a specific DNA blood test for Von Willebrand’s disease, and other similar disorders should be done to check for this problem before any type of surgery is performed.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Your doxie will likely live longer than many other breeds and therefore is more prone to get cancer in the golden years. Many cancers are curable by surgical removal, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical!
Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Unfortunately, your Dachshund is more likely to have problems with its teeth than other dogs. Dental disease starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If dental disease is not prevented, your dog may lose teeth and be in danger of kidney, liver, heart, and joint damage. Clean your dog’s teeth regularly to keep those pearly whites... White!
Diabetes Mellitus is a fairly common disease in all dogs. Any breed can be affected, but doxies have an above average incidence. Dogs with diabetes are unable to regulate the metabolism of sugars in their bodies and require daily insulin injections. Diabetes is a serious condition and one that is important to diagnose and treat as early as possible. Symptoms include increased eating, drinking, and urination, along with weight loss. Lab tests are needed to determine if your doxie has this condition. Treatment requires a serious commitment of time and resources. Well-regulated diabetic dogs today have the same life expectancy as other canines.
Epilepsy, there are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain's reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, and Dachshunds are commonly afflicted. If your dachshund is prone to seizures, episodes will usually begin between six months and three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary to help keep seizures under control with periodic blood testing required to monitor side effects and efficacy. If your dog has a seizure, carefully prevent him from injuring himself, but don't try to control his mouth or tongue. It won't help him, and he may bite you accidentally! Note the length of the seizure, and call your veterinarian or an emergency hospital.
Dry eye also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, is common in Dachshunds. KCS reduces the amount of fluid produced by the tear glands such that they are no longer able to keep the eyes moist. This results in sore, itchy eyes and infections. Symptoms of KCS include a dull, dry appearance or thick discharge from the eyes, squinting, and pawing at the eyes. KCS is a painful condition; and should be attended to immediately if you notice any of these signs. prescription ointment will need to be applied for the rest of your dog’s life.
Heart Disease and heart failure is a leading cause of death among Dachshunds in their golden years. Most heart disease in dogs is caused by the weakening or slow deformity of heart valves such that they no longer close tightly; blood then leaks back around these weakened valves, straining the heart. Pets with heart valve disease (sometimes called mitral valve disease) have a heart murmur. If your dog has a heart murmur or outward signs suggesting heart problems, your veterinarian can perform tests to determine the severity of the disease. The same tests will need to be repeated every year to monitor the condition. If heart valve disease is diagnosed early, it may be that prescription medications could prolong your pet’s life for many years. Veterinary dental care and fatty acid supplementation can also help prevent heart disease, and weight control can help diminish symptoms.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. Just like in people, both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the joints to develop improperly and results in arthritis. Stiffness in your Dachshund's elbows or hips may become a problem, especially as they mature. You may notice that your dog begins to show lameness in the legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. The sooner arthritis is treated the better — to minimize discomfort and pain. X-rays of your dog’s bones help to identify issues early on; sometimes surgery is also a good option in severe and life-limiting cases. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering!
Hip Necrosis, Young Dachshunds may be prone to a painful degenerative hip condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP) disease. The exact cause of this condition is still not completely understood, but it is thought to be caused by a reduced blood supply to the hip, which causes the femoral head (the top of the thigh bone) to become brittle and fracture easily. Usually occurring between six and nine months of age, LCP causes pain and lameness in one or both rear legs, and often requires surgery.
Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Disease) is a malfunction of the adrenal glands that causes them to produce too much steroid hormone. This is a common problem in dogs, and your Dachshund is more likely than other dogs to be affected. The condition usually develops slowly, and the early signs are easily missed. Symptoms include drinking and urinating more than normal, increased appetite, and reduced activity level followed later by a potbelly, thin skin, and hair loss. Treatment usually includes oral medications and requires close coordination with your veterinarian to ensure correct dosing.
Infections. Dachshunds are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on age, the diseases common seen in our area, and other factors.
Juvenile Cellulitis occurs more frequently in Dachshunds than in other breeds, and multiple puppies in a litter may be affected. Puppies with juvenile cellulitis will develop swelling and inflammation of the face and of the lymph nodes under the jaw, but the disease responds well to antibiotic and steroid therapy if treated right away.
Knee Problems. Sometimes your Dachshund's kneecap (patella) may slip out of place. This is called patellar luxation. You might notice that your pet, while running, suddenly picks up a back leg or skips and hops for a few strides. Your doxie might then kick its leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place. These are common signs of patellar luxation. If the problem is mild and involves only one leg, your doxie may not require much treatment beyond arthritis medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from luxating further.
Liver Problems, Your Doxie is more likely than other dogs to have a liver disorder called Portosystemic Shunt (PSS). Some of the blood supply that should go to the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly. If your dachshund has PSS, its liver cannot remove toxins from the bloodstream effectively. To check for this problem, liver function tests in addition to a standard pre-anesthetic panel can be conducted every time your doxie undergoes anesthesia. If symptoms develop such as stunted growth or seizures, blood tests and possibly an ultrasound to scan the liver will be needed. Surgery may be needed, but in some cases, a special diet and medication are all that’s needed.
Mange or Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of all dogs. Normally a dog’s immune system keeps the mites in check, but some breeds, like Dachshunds, may develop an overabundance of these mites. In mild cases, pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions. These often occur on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections may also occur. Prompt veterinary care is important to keep the disease from getting out of hand. Many pets seem to outgrow the problem, while others require lifelong management.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder sometimes seen in young Dachshunds in which the puppy has uncontrolled sleeping episodes. Affected pets may be in the midst of playing or eating when they suddenly fall asleep. This disorder is caused by a recessive gene for which a DNA test is available. Narcolepsy is not usually harmful to the pet, but affected dogs should not be allowed to operate motor vehicles.
Neurological Problems. Several neurological diseases can afflict Dachshunds. Symptoms of neurological problems can include seizures, imbalance, tremors, weakness, or excessive sleeping. If you notice any of these symptoms, please seek immediate veterinary care.
Obesity can be a significant health problem in Dachshunds. It's a serious condition that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your dog food when it looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love your dachshund to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give hugs, brush fur or teeth, play a game, or perhaps go for a walk. You’ll both feel better!
Parasites. All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Doxie's body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest the skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heart-worms, and whip-worms can get into the system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that they are tested for them on a regular basis.
Taking Care of Your Dachshund at Home.
Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people. Watch the diet, make sure they get plenty of exercise, regularly brush the teeth and coat, and call your veterinarian or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What to Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere to a schedule of examinations and vaccinations. This is when the necessary “check-ups” and test for diseases and conditions that are common in Dachshunds.
Grooming needs will vary based on coat. Long haired Dachshunds will require trimming and all varieties require brushing. Your veterinarian can guide you further to your Dachshund’s personal needs.
Build routine care into your schedule to help your doxie live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during its lifetime.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.
Drinks and urinates more, eats more, potbelly, poor hair coat
Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease or it could just be a minor or temporary problem.
The important thing is to be able to tell when to seek veterinary help and how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Dachshund needs help.
Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:
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