Among all the ailments that might affect a dachshund, back problems are definitely ones to guard against. They are active, fun-loving dogs that can live a long time. So you will want to take some preventative measures to help their backs stay as strong as possible, starting when they are puppies.
Dachshunds can become overweight quite easily, especially if they don’t get active, daily exercise or are overfed.
Because of the length of their spines and the fact that they like to jump, they’re prone to back injuries.
If your dachshund does seem in back pain, a trip to the vet is a must. Dachshunds are known to slip or herniate discs in their back, which can be painful. In these cases your vet will probably suggest that you crate your dog, to enforce rest and healing.
In extreme cases dachshunds can end up partially or fully paralyzed because of a back injury.
I’ve heard of a dachshund breaking his back and being in such pain, his parent decided to send him over the Rainbow Bridge.
To Avoid Dachshund Back Problems You Need to Support Their Backs
From my experience dachshunds jump a lot when they’re under the age of five. After that they tend to calm down — but my 8-year-old Cocoa will still jump onto our sofa if we let her. (When she was younger she’d jump up onto our four-foot-tall retaining wall from a standing position!)
Because of the risk of back problems, you need to support dachshunds properly when holding them. Don’t ever dangle a dachshund in the air or toss her!
Also, if your dachshund does jump onto something high, you’ll need to place her back on the floor. Often dachshunds injure themselves when they jump down, not up.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Another thing that may cause a back problem in a dachshund is Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD. This can be caused by genetics. Their long spinal cord and short rib cage makes them more prone to getting it. It's estimated that 20–25% of Dachshunds will develop IVDD.
When dachshunds develop this disease, they may not be able to sit up on their rear legs or walk. They may lose control of their bowel and bladder.
To treat this, veterinarians will recommend crating your doxie to give their back a rest. They may prescribe:
- anti-inflammatory medications (such as Carprofen or Meloxicam)
- steroidal drugs
- chronic pain medication, such as Tramadol.
The vet also may suggest surgery. During this surgery, damaged discs may be removed. There’s also been a development in dachshund back surgery that they say is minimally invasive. It’s a procedure the the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Hospital developed that’s called "percutaneous laser disk ablation."
Rather than resorting to surgery, some people take their dachshund to an acupuncturist, chiropractor, or rehab therapist. These are specialists trained specifically at treating dogs.
If your dachshund becomes paralyzed, you can purchase a dog wheelchair. It includes wheels at the back.
Dog wheelchairs can cost around $250. They come in different sizes based on the dog's weight.
I've seen dachshunds who have adapted well after they got used to a wheelchair.