There are certain health issues in dachshunds that you need to be aware of if you plan on owning or adopting a dachshund.
Since all dog breeds have different genetic makeups there will be strengths and weaknesses in their DNA.
Being aware of these health issues in dachshunds will help you to prevent any issues from occurring or at least to be able to minimize any health issues that could occur.
13 Most Common Health Issues in Dachshunds
1. Intervertebral Disk Disease
First of all, the dachshund is unique with its long body and short legs in comparison to other dog breeds.
Because of this unique long body and short leg bone structure, this can cause health issues in dachshunds called intervertebral disk disease.
Basically, this is a back disease that affects the spine of the dachshund. Nearly a quarter of all dachshunds will be affected by this disease.
With their big deep chest, long spine, and short legs this disease can be painful. In order to prevent or minimize these health issues in dachshunds, one of the most important things to do is make sure your dachshund doesn’t get overweight.
Obese dachshunds have the greatest chance of getting this disease so you must make sure you keep them at an ideal weight.
Make sure you feed them the healthiest dog food, and not overfeed them or give them too many treats or table foods. Doing this will help prevent back pain disease.
According to the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, “Chondrodysplasia [can]… impact the health of animals through an abnormal process that causes premature degeneration of the intervertebral discs.”
Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) is very painful and can occasionally, lead to permanent damage to the spine.
In addition to keeping your dachshund at a normal weight, here are other preventative measures.
Make sure you exercise your dachshund, by taking them on daily walks. This will help strengthen their muscles.
Don’t allow your dachshund to jump up or down on sofas, chairs, or beds. This is very stressful on the spine.
I would recommend getting a dog ramp for them to walk up to get on a sofa or bed. When you pick up your dachshund make sure you have one hand on the front end and one hand on their rear end so they are supported correctly and not put stress on their back.
It is a good idea to get a health supplement like glucosamine and chondroitin. I give this to my dachshund every day and this has helped tremendously as he has no back pain.
2. Dental Issues
One of the genetic issues in dachshunds is the crowding of their teeth in their jaws, as this is cause by a genetic disorder called chondrodysplasia.
When the dachshund’s teeth are crowded, this can trap food in their teeth, which can then cause plaque and tartar. Thus, this can possibly contribute to periodontal disease
The best prevention for this is to make sure you brush your dachshund’s teeth regularly. And then when you take them to your vet make sure they check their teeth and gums as well.
3. Cushing’s Disease Dachshund Health Issues
Cushing’s disease is a hormone imbalance when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisone.
This hormone imbalance will show up in your dachshund with symptoms such as excessive drinking, hair loss, increased appetite, gaining weight, and having urination accidents.
If you see such symptoms, it might be a good idea to take your dachshund to the vet for a checkup.
The good thing is that Cushing’s disease can be treatable with medications, so your dachshund can have a healthy and long life span.
As indicated earlier in this article, obesity is one of the dachshund health issues that can cause back issues.
Did you know that the dachshund is one of the top 10 breeds with the highest rate of obesity according to the Banfield Pet Hospital.
Obesity not only can cause back disorders but can be a greater chance for arthritis in your dachshund.
5. Bone and Joint Health Issues
Dachshunds have brittle bones that can break easily, so it is recommended to give your dachshund health supplements such as calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Many high-quality dog foods contain some calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin so you need to check the percentages on the labels.
However, most of these dog foods still might not be adequate amounts, so you can give them health supplements as well.
6. Anal Gland Health Issues in Dachshunds
Many dogs have this issue, and the dachshund is no exception.
Their anal glands can get full, which causes pain and your dachshund can get constipated. Your vet can squeeze the anal glands to empty it or you can learn to do this yourself.
One thing you can do is to feed your dachshund easily digestible dog food. Look for high-fiber dog foods and ones that contain probiotics, as these can help with anal gland problems.
7. Cancers & Tumors Health Issues
The dachshunds are more at risk of getting cancer of the skin, anal sacs, fat cells, and mammary glands than some of the other dog breeds.
You should check your dachshund’s skin from time to time and feel if there are any lumps. Dachshunds can develop tumors so if you find any unusual lumps you should have your vet check these out.
8. Neurological Disorders & Seizures
Dachshunds are prone to seizures from neurologic disorders, such as Lafora disease, epilepsy, and narcolepsy.
Lafora disease is a genetic type of epilepsy, and the symptoms are jerking action in muscles that might last a few seconds.
Usually the wire haired dachshunds are about 20% more likely to develop this then the short haired or long haired dachshund.
I had one of my own dachshunds that had inherent seizures starting at the age of 3. When you haven’t seen that it can be frightening as they tremble, stiffen up and have a glazed look in their eyes.
I had to give him medication which stopped nearly all of the seizures. He went on to have a healthy and active life and lived to be 17 years of age.
So if your dachshund has these seizure symptoms take them into the vet right away as there are medications to control the seizures.
9. Eye Problems
Dachshunds like other dog breeds can get cataracts when they are old. Surgery can be done to restore their site in some cases.
The dachshund health issues also include glaucoma which can lead to blindness if you do not get them treated.
Dachshunds also have a tendency to get dry eyes. However, you can get an ointment to apply daily for this condition.
10. Liver Disease Health Issues In Dachshunds
Dachshunds are more prone than some other dog breeds to get a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt (PSS).
This disorder makes it so the liver doesn’t work in removing the toxins from the bloodstream.
Most cases medication and a special diet will treat this, but occasionally surgery might be needed.
11. Stomach Health Issues
Recommended Probiotic For Dachshunds. This will help with prevention of stomach problems.
Dachshund’s sometimes have stomach problems where they are sensitive to certain foods or if you change their dog food.
Some dachshunds have stomach issues that results in inflammation of their gastrointestinal tract.
Dachshunds are also more prone then other dog breeds to develop hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE).
HGE can have symptoms like bloody diarrhea and if that occurs, you need to take them to the vet immediately. This HGE if untreated can be life threatening.
12. Immune System Health Issues
Dachshunds in their genetic makeup can sometimes get an autoimmune disease. This is where the immune system will attack their own body’s tissues and cells.
Dachshunds can also get what is called Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia. This is where their body attacks its own platelets and clotting function is impaired.
Some dachshunds can die from this, but many will respond to medical treatment. However, they may have current bouts throughout their life.
13. Cardiac Disorders
A leaky heart valve is common in dachshunds and usually occur when your dachshund is 8 to 10 years old.
This leaky heart valve is called DMVD (degenerative mitral valve disease).
When you take your dachshund in for a checkup at the vet they can catch this issue and can give medication to control this.
Again, having your dachshund maintain an ideal weight is important. As an obese dachshund’s heart has to work harder.
Having A Healthy Dachshund
Any of these health issues in dachshunds might shorten their life. However, this isn’t meant to scare you in thinking dachshunds are not healthy.
These issues just mean there is a chance a dachshund could develop one of these issues, especially if they are not well taken care of.
It doesn’t mean they will have any or all of these health issues in dachshunds either.
In fact, if you keep your dachshund at a healthy weight with good nutrition, keep them active, and give them healthy supplements, you can possibly avoid or minimize any symptoms.