Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a condition that affects the discs that sit between the vertebrae in a dachshund’s spine. These vertebrae are made up of a jelly like material that cushions the spine. All dogs’ discs will deteriorate with time as the dog gets older, losing water and becoming more fibrous, sometimes they can start to mineralise. Unfortunately this can happen to your dachshund’s discs at a much earlier age compared to dogs with standard length legs.
IVDD in dachshunds is usually Hansen Type ll, as the disc deteriorates it bulges out and if it moves upwards it can compress the spine which leads to pain and ultimately paralysis – unfortunately this can happen very quickly. It is usually seen in dogs aged between three to seven years old, when they are most active
About a quarter of all dachshunds may be affected at some stage of their lives. Whilst many recover well in time, there is significant risk of permanent damage so severe it is life changing or threatening.
How it affects dogs
Dachshunds are a short legged breed dog, not a long backed dog so to try to minimise IVDD make sure you purchase your dog from a recognised breeder who adheres to the ethical breeding practice and breed standards.
- Loss of/or reduced appetite
- Reduced activity level
- Lack of ability to jump up
- Pain and/or weakness in back legs
- Tenderness and/or pain
- Change in behaviour/temperament
- Muscle spasms and /or hunched back or neck.
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
The most important way to prevent IVDD is to keep your dachshund as fit and active as possible. Aim for regular, moderate exercise, and avoid any uncontrolled leaping or jumping from any high places like beds and sofas. Do not let your dachshund come downstairs on their own as their large bodies and comparatively short legs are especially prone to musculoskeletal and spinal injuries.