Most dog owners are aware of the fact that the dachshund breed is genetically predisposed to vulnerable backs. They have a tendency to suffer minor injuries which can pose problems years later by weakening of the disc. This occurs primarily because of the structure of their bodies with an elongated torso and cute short legs. This causes immense strain on their back and often leads to disc problems rather prematurely, which is as young as two to four years of age.
Anatomy of Dachshunds’ Spine
Dachshunds are prone to what is commonly known as slipped discs or intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This occurs due to herniation of the disc between each vertebra cushioning the spine. This helps the movement of the spine protect dachs from injuries and pain. The discs however have a soft centre, enclosed by hard cartilage. Nevertheless, with wear and tear or any kind of damage the discs become hard thus losing its cushioning effect. This aspect causes undue pressure on the spine resulting in short or long term nerve damage.
Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dachshunds
1. Restricted Mobility
Dachshunds with back problem may show an unwillingness to remain playful and may hesitate to jump on the furniture or run down or up the stairs.
2. Hunched Over
Dachshunds with back pain have a tendency to adopt a hunched stiff posture known as “thoracolumbar kyphosis.”
3. Tensed Abdomen
With increasing pain, dachshunds may walk carefully with a taut distended abdomen, sensitive to touch or squeezing.
4. Lowered Head
Dachshunds may not move their neck and head standing rooted to the spot. With head lowered, they refuse to eat or drink as they might find it painful to bend their head and neck to the bowl.
5. Bladder Bowel Control
Dachshunds with back pain, find it difficult with the posture to urinate or defecate and due to the painful pressure on the nerves. Hence, some of them may become constipated, along with the possibilities of reduced mobility of the intestines.
6. Painful Limping
Dachshunds start limping with pain, appearing wobbly, dragging either of their legs as they walk. Besides this, they may start toeing over or knuckling over when walking or standing.
7. Breathing Changes
Doxies experiencing pain may breathe more rapidly or pant for breath than usual. Besides, there may be changes in the respiratory tract, such as the chest and the abdomen walls, which are involved in breathing.
8. Arched Back
Many of them adopt a stiff hunched stance and stand in an awkward stiffness guarding their movements.
9. Display Aggression
Dachshunds suffering from pain are on edge and when touched reacts aggressively. They become impulsive and hold their bodies in a defensive posture.
Helpful Tips to Prevent Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dachshunds
Some symptoms of back pain in dachshunds may be evident while some others might be rather subtle. Therefore, it is imperative to identify symptoms of pain and help prevent the pain.
- It is important to carry the pet to the vet for physical examination.
- Restrict movement such as running and jumping off the furniture or stairs dachshunds
- Put up dog gates at both ends of the stairs to prevent the pet from running up and down the stairway.
- Include dog stairs to furniture to help the pet climb onto them.
- Give ample rest forcefully and confine them to a crate.