Dachshunds And Disc Problems

One of the things I feel strongly about and will share with you is this: every breed has some problem or problems; some have many. Dachshunds have a proclivity for disc problems. No Dachshund breeder who is reputable can deny that.

Two Theories

Two theories are becoming more universally accepted—that disc problems are hereditary and that they usually manifest themselves between the ages of two to five years.

Some people think that if the dog does not “go down” (lose the use of his front and/or back legs, even temporarily) during those years, he isn’t likely to go down at all. But there are exceptions, so nobody can guarantee anything with regard to the disc syndrome.

There is still so much we do not know.

Possible Hereditary

While the fact that it is a problem inherent in some liners would seem to make things easier, in reality, it doesn’t.

This is why it helps to know what liners are behind your dachshund and why it is more advisable to purchase your pet from a reputable breeder.

However, if you didn’t and you’re not aware of your sausage dog’s background, don’t despair.

Many Dachshunds have the slipped disc syndrome.

Many have gone down and lost the use of their hind legs, many have gone down in the rear and in the front and have gone to live happy lives with good medical attention and owners who carried through with dedicated care.

Many more Dachshunds have had no disc trouble of any kind.

Having been around the breed for many years, read countless books, and spoken to numerous vets, I have known very few dogs who have had to be put to sleep due to the disc syndrome.

Remember, disk problems can run the gamut from minor to major and often require only rest and medication.

Our Patrick

Recently, our little sausage dog Patrick, at eight years old, could not use his hind legs. Having panicked and ran to the veterinarian. He examined him and prescribed medication and strict crate rest (Patrick hates the crate), for 2 weeks.

Though we had to carry him outside to relieve himself, he never lost control of his bodily functions. By the 10th day, his was up and normal again (we were so happy!).

a black long haired dachshund at the vets for disc problems
Patrick’s recent trip to the vet for his disc problems after making a full recovery (medication and crate rest).

Can You Help Your Dachshund Avoid Problems?

Well, if it’s in the family line and you know it is, you have to deal with what comes.

Today the success rate with surgery is impressive, even in severe cases.

Worrying about whether your dog will have a disc problem is the same as worrying that tomorrow you’ll have a car accident. If it happens you deal with it as best you can.

Meanwhile, you take precautionary measures.

  1. Try to keep your dachshund from climbing up and down steep stairs, especially if they are uncarpeted.
  2. Don’t let her/him jump down from the furniture to an uncarpeted floor. Discourage them from jumping down at all. If you can’t, provide a footstool or a small ramp, if possible. The Dachshund is fast, so you might not be able to stop them before they jump—but try.
  3. Remember, Dachshunds love high places as they give them a better perspective on the world. Since when they’re on their feet nothing much happens at eye level, they like to be on top of things—physically and mentally!
  4. If your Dachshund sleeps on the bed with you, it would be wise to provide a carpeted ramp for her to go up and down.

An Ounce of Prevention…

To care for the overall health of your Dachshund, there are certain things you should have on hand—a dog-orientated first-aid kit, so to speak—kept within easy reach in case you need it.

A First Aid Kit Checklist

Keep a canine first-aid kit on hand for general care and emergencies.

  • Activated charcoal tablets
  • Adhesive tape (1 and 2 inches wide)
  • Antibacterial ointment (for skin and eyes)
  • Bandages: (Gauze rolls (1 and 2 inches wide) and dressing pads
  • Cotton balls
  • Diarrhea medicine
  • Dosing syringe
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Tourniquet
  • Towel
  • Tweezers

Once you have lived with your dachshund, you will “know” when things are not right but bear watching, when they’re in trouble and needs immediate care, when to wait, and when to pick them up and run for help.

We knew our dog and knew something wasn’t right so we made a run for help.

When in any doubt, consult your veterinarian.