Dachshunds are chrondrodystrophic dogs which means they have developed in such a way that their limbs are disproportionately short & angular. It also means their spinal disks are faulty in their construction, having a slightly thinner and more brittle covering, predisposing the dogs to disc degeneration and rupture. I mean think about it, what do you get when you build a long body on short legs? Unfortunately, you may get a dog prone to a painful debilitating disease known as IVDD or Intervertebral disk disease however, there's 6 steps you can take to possibly prevent this from occuring in your Dachshund.
The 6 steps below is an excerpt from Dachshund Magazine.
1. Find a good breeder. The first best way to prevent disk disease in your Dachshund is to purchase your dog from a breeder who is working to eliminate IVDD from their lines.The earliest prevention is to look at the breeding history, family line, the mother, father and littermates.
2. Don't go too long. The less weiner-shape your dog is, the better. Dachshunds with longer backs are more prone to disk rupture. (I beg to differ)
3. Slim down. An overweight Dachshund is at higher risk for disk rupture than a physically fit Dachshund at a normal weight. Dachshunds are very prone to gaining weight so be careful not to feed table food as they can become overweight on just dog food alone.
4. Four on the Floor. Because jumps from high places put extra stress on the spinal disks, don't let your Dachsund jump down from couches, beds and steps. Many companies make ramps that you can buy for your couch, outside steps, bed etc. A Dachshund should not be walking up and down stairs either, this is one of the most stressful of all activities on their backs.
5.Handle with care. Keeping your Dachshund horizontal when picking it up for a cuddle is another important preventative measure. The correct way to pick up a Dachshund is called the football hold, with your palm under their chest and their abdomen supported by your elbow against your body. When finished then set them down nicely on the floor.
6. Play nice. Because sharp back & forth motion can put stress on the disks, avoid playing tug of war or any other spinal jerking/twisting games. This doesn't mean though that Dachshunds are fragile dogs either, as they were originally bred to hunt badger in Germany, going down under ground in badger holes. Don't write off this breed!
It's in my personal opinion with speaking to many breeders of Dachshunds about IVDD. I believe this disease is genetic and runs in certain Dachshund lines. Several genes given from the parents must align, in a specific way to cause IVDD. I believe that close inbreeding such as mother-father/father daughter as well in some cases will weaken lines. Inbreeding is putting in or duplicating same or similiar genes back into a line which weakens the lines in Dachshunds. A Dachshund's genetic makeup causes this disease. If one parent of a puppy had IVDD then, a puppy in turn would have a 50% chance of getting IVDD as an adult. Things such as a jump could rupture the disk sooner but, it probably would of happened anyway in time. Flaws such as weak rear limbs, as a puppy is a sheer indication of a flaw in that line. A puppy by 4-5 wks. should have strong legs, confident on their feet and no lameness should be present. Far spread legs as a puppy when sitting could be an issue. It doesn't matter short back or long back, it happens to both. Short legs, medium or long Dachshund legs, this can happen to all body types of Dachshunds. It does have A LOT to do with becoming overweight, what activities the dogs are allowed to do that can put extra stress on the spinal disk in some cases. Stair walking is a huge problem. I have worked hard over the years researching lines. I've talked to many breeders and also breeders who have experience IVDD cases. Most cases have been treatable. I've been fortunate not to have any IVDD cases in my lines. I'm very careful in my selection of Dachshunds. I've kept several Dachshunds from my lines and raised them up from a puppy. I figured that's the safest way to breed. Most Dachshund breeders will not tell you the truth, they will hide IVDD in the closet. A breeder has the advantage to stop creating dogs that could be prone to IVDD and should eliminate any dog from their breeding program that has signs of IVDD. Such as weak or wobbly rear legs, pain, lameness. IVDD usually happens from ages 4-6 years but, can happen up to age 10. We have good Mommy's and I have good sturdy Champion Bloodline mates for them. Remember, if you treat your Dachshund in the correct manner and no harsh handling, have the correct living environment and train him or her not to jump, your Dachshund will be just fine. NEVER let your Dachshund become overweight and monitor their weight gain from age 10 mos. on. If you notice your Dachshund becoming several pounds overweight from their (age one) weight, back off the food. Keep your Dachshund active outside and encourage play activities such as running for his favorite ball. The more you know the more you grow. However, if your Dachshund, when you touch his back seems to be extra sensitve, especially below the shoulder blades, contact your Veterinarian right away. The earlier treatment is started the better success rate. A blown disk takes 6-8 wks. or longer to heal. The dog must be on cage rest. The cage should only be big enough to sit up & up turn around. Due to swelling around the spinal cord, the dog may not have any feeling in it's back legs. This will only be temporary until the swelling comes down as the injury begins to heal. Please don't give up on him or her! There is hope. The dog will need medicines, nursing care and maybe help going pee (express-bladder). After 6 wks. from injury, start daily hydro therapy. You can do this yourself at home. Fill you bath tub with luke-warm water, buy your Dachshund a Life jacket, never leave him or her alone while in the water. I read swimming is the best way to get his or her muscle tone and full use of his or her legs back to 100% functional. ~Marilynn
With every breed, they may later develop possible medical issues. When buying a pet it's a lifetime commitment. Below is a Diagram of statisitcs pertaining to all breeds and what is common, breed by breed. I hope this information comes in handy. ~Marilynn