Your Dachshund is an energetic, smart, small hound dog that loves to dig and chase. Dachshunds have long bodies, short legs, and powerful muscles. They were bred to hunt and flush out badgers, rabbits, moles, and other burrowing animals. They also have an excellent sense of smell, and are prized as tracking dogs. There are several varieties of Dachshunds, including mini-, short haired, and long haired dogs.

Like all dog breeds, Dachshunds develop some health problems more often than other types of dogs. In particular, Dachshunds are prone to develop back problems, canine cancer, seizures, or heart problems, according to a survey conducted by the UK Kennel Club.

Back Problems in Dachshunds

Dachshunds are well-known for their back problems. Dachshunds famously have extended spines. Those elongated spines are exposed to more strain and pressure than the spines of more proportional dogs.

Because of that strain, and because of differences in the cartilage of dogs with long bodies and short legs, Dachshunds are more likely than other dogs to develop back and spine problems that humans experience. Both humans and Dachshunds can suffer from slipped or herniated discs, or muscle spasms. Dachshunds are at high risk to develop intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). IVDD occurs when the cartilage between a dog’s joints bulge or burst into the dog’s spinal cord. It’s also known as a herniated disc. Dogs’ spines are, like humans’, the site of most of their nerves. Damage to their nerves can cause extreme pain, loss of reflex, and partial or full paralysis.

A Dachshund with severe back problems will probably develop their symptoms over time, and will probably be in pain. These signs may indicate back problems:

  • Sluggishness
  • Hesitance to go up stairs
  • Sensitivity when touched on its back
  • Eats only when offered food by hand
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Trouble walking

A full physical conducted by your veterinarian is the only way to determine whether your Dachshund is suffering from back problems.

Some Dachshunds become partially paralyzed because of nerve damage. Dachshunds that lose some motor function can have a rich, full quality of life with the help of a wheelchair.

Canine Cancer in Dachshunds

Dachshunds are particularly prone to contracting cancer or developing tumors.  Cancer in dogs has as many forms as human cancer. Dachshunds are particularly at risk of developing mast cell tumors, a type of skin cancer, or Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Cancer mainly affects older dogs. So once your dog becomes around eight years old, you should check their skin for any abnormal lumps on the skin or just under the skin’s surface. tumors or melanomas. Check their feet, too, since they’re especially vulnerable to Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Other signs that your dog might have cancer include extreme losses in appetite and/or energy.

Seizures and Epilepsy in Dachshunds

Dachshunds are more prone to seizures than other dogs. If you notice your dog suddenly starts spasming, paddling, and/or has lost control of their bowel movements, they might be having a seizure. If your Dachshund has a seizure, you should make an appointment to have it examined by your veterinarian. If your dog has more than one seizure in a row, especially if they do not fully recover between seizures, call an emergency veterinarian immediately.

Dogs, like humans, can have sporadic seizures. They might have one seizure and never have one again, or have seizures years apart. However, if your dog has frequent seizures, they may have epilepsy. Epilepsy can be managed with medication.

Consult Your Vet

This guide isn’t meant to cover all of the health issues that could affect your Dachshund, but it can give you a sense of what is causing your pet discomfort and distress. And remember—if your dog has any of these health problems, they should be treated by a veterinarian.

Learn More About Your Dachshunds’ Health

Slipped Disc, Bad Back, and Muscle Spasms in Dogs — Pet MD

Dachshund — Wikipedia

What to Do When Your Dog is Diagnosed with Cancer: Treatment, Prognosis, and Aftercare — Pet MD

Mast Cell Tumor (Mastocytoma) in Dogs — Pet MD

About — K9 Carts

Dachshunds — Long Beach Animal Hospital

Idiopathic Epilepsy | Seizures in Dogs and Cats — VetSpecialists.com

How to Handle a Seizure in Your Dog — American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation