As you probably know, dachshunds make playful and loyal pets! Also known as ‘wiener dogs’ or ‘sausage dogs’, any owner will feel lucky to know the devoted love of a dachshund. However, both prospective owners and current owners should know about some of the most common health issues that this breed faces.
Knowing about potential health issues ahead of time can help you recognize the symptoms earlier, and also know what to expect in the long term.
Why are dachshunds prone to certain health issues?
Since their distinct skeletal structure means that their long body lies low to the ground atop short legs, it can encounter lots of stress. Known as ‘disproportionate dwarfism’, dachshunds can suffer from health issues due to their short legs carrying their entire body weight.
Here are some of the health issues to look out for in dachshunds:
- Back problems. Due to their elongated spine and short legs, back issues will be one of the likeliest health problems you may encounter with your dachshund. In fact, around 25% of dachshunds will have back issues during their life. As your dachshund ages, it may become prone to Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), which is similar to a slipped or ruptured spinal disk in humans.
You can help reduce the chances of your dachshund suffering from back problems by giving it plenty of exercise to promote muscle growth, and discouraging them from jumping from heights.
- Dental issues. The bodily structure of dachshunds also means that overcrowding of teeth in the lower jaw can cause a buildup of plaque, leading to infection and/or inflammation. Try to ensure you either brush your dog’s teeth regularly or take them for professional cleaning!
- Cushing’s Disease. Check if your dog displays any of the following symptoms: Excessive drinking, urination accidents inside the home, hair loss, increased appetite, or weight gain. These can be symptoms of overactive adrenal glands producing too much cortisone – Cushing’s Disease. Be sure to have your dachshund checked by a vet.
- DMVD (Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease). Unfortunately, this cardiac issue is common in dachshunds between 8 and 10 years of age. Ensure your dog is a healthy weight and take them for checkups regularly so this disease can be caught at its earlier stages. If so, it can be controlled with medication.
- Eye problems. Dachshunds are also prone to eye issues, including glaucoma, cataracts, and Dry Eye (also known as KCS). Glaucoma is a painful disease that needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent blindness. Cataracts are more likely to appear in older dogs, and can sometimes be improved with surgery. Dry Eye takes the appearance of an itchy, sore infection which can be treated with a daily ointment.
- Liver disease. Dachshunds are more likely than other breeds to suffer from a liver disease named PSS (portosystemic shunt). It is a hereditary condition, so there won’t be anything you can do to prevent it. However, it is easily treatable with medication and a special diet, or sometimes surgery.
Your dachshund will be a beloved member of your family for years to come! There is no need to stress about any potential health issues, but being aware of them can help you spot the signs earlier. Be sure to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups throughout its life.
Jack Vale is a writer in partnership with recreational fabric retailer Seattle Fabrics.