Like all other dogs, Dachshunds have breed related medical problems. There are several Dachshund health issues that can be costly and heartbreaking if they are not treated quickly. Don’t wait until your Dachshund has a health problem, learn now about how to avoid them and what to do if your Dachshund does become ill.
What Are Some Dachshund Health Issues?
It is important to remember that while Dachshunds can have many health issues, they can’t tell you what is wrong or that they are sick. Often, by the time you notice that there is a problem they have been suffering for a long time. By knowing about Dachshund health issues and their early signs and symptoms, you can take your Dachshund to a veterinarian and have them treated before the problem becomes severe and expensive.
Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is one of the Dachshund health issues that every Dachshund owner knows about and fears. Simply it means that one of the disks in your Dachshunds spine, that provides a cushion between the vertebrae, is protruding or has ruptured, putting pressure on the spinal cord. Dachshunds with IVDD can show some or all of the following signs:
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 quiet and take them to a vet, doing so immediately if they can’t use their back legs. Back injuries are time sensitive. The chances of a full recovery decrease dramatically if your Dachshund loses feeling in their legs and does not have surgery within 12 – 24 hours.
For less severe cases it may be possible to manage 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 rceovery.
Obesity is another of the common Dachshund health issues, caused by over eating and lack of exercise. Being obese predisposes your Dachshund to heart disease, liver disease, skin problems and of course IVDD. All of these issues can be life threatening, so it is important to work on keeping your Dachshund the right weight. There are many diet foods available to help you and of course, you can increase your Dachshunds activity level to burn off calories. Before putting your Dachshund on a weight loss program you should have them checked out by your veterinarian to make certain that there is no medical problem that is causing the obesity.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Dachshunds with thyroid disease can become obese, can be lethargic and have thinning haircoats and frequent infections, although some show none of these signs. Thyroid disease can be diagnosed by a blood test and is easily treated with inexpensive medication.
There are many different causes of allergies that Dachshunds can suffer from. The most common of these is flea allergies, that cause your Dachshund to become itchy and scratch and chew at their skin until they cause a hot spot. Be certain to use flea and tick prevention regularly and check your Dachshunds skin for sore areas or dry skin. Dachshunds can also suffer from food allergies. If your Dachshund has hot spots or frequent ear infections you should talk to your vet about allergies.
Dachshund health issues can be similar to human health issues, including endocrine diseases such as diabetes and Cushings disease (too much steroid produced by the adrenal glands). If your Dachshund has diabetes it is important to have them on a strict diabetic diet with no human food or table scraps. Like humans, Dachshunds with diabetes may require insulin injections, although some can be controlled with diet alone. Cushings disease requires medications to be taken long term. All endocrine diseases need regular monitoring and testing by your veterinarian.
Dachshunds can have any of a number of eye problems including cataracts, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). All are problems that need to be treated by your vet, some medically, others surgically. If your Dachshund has cataracts their eyes will look white and cloudy. Loss of vision will depend on how severe the cataracts are. Glaucoma causes increased pressure in the fluid in the eye and results in blindless 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.
While some Dachshund health issues are unavoidable, many can be prevented by feeding them a quality diet, keeping their weight down and providing lots of exercise. You should take your Dachshund to the vet for yearly physical exams and treat any problems that are found. Remember, the earlier you catch Dachshund health issues, the easier and cheaper they will be to treat.
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