Probably the main health problems with Miniature Dachshunds is a condition called Inter vertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). This disease is caused with the weakening of the disks between the vertebrae, in the spine. This can be caused by poor handling, jumping from height, over exercise, increased weight or strain on the spine or the main cause is usually due to obesity. Obesity is a very common cause basically because Dachshunds will eat practically anything put in front of them.
For more detailed information on Inter vertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) please click the following link :
Some suggestions for helping prevent further injury or pain to your Miniature Dachshund's spine are confining your dog to their crate / cage to prevent any undue movement or stress on their spine. Drugs that can be prescribed by your vet to ease pain are anti-inflammatory medication, steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen and meloxicam. If your Dachshund suffers from chronic back pain they can also be prescribed with tramadol. In more severe cases the disk contents can be removed. In the event of the worst case of paralysis your Miniature Dachshund may require a cart to get them around.
Ways of avoiding your Dachshund gaining back problems are (and they may be difficult to control) prevent your Miniature Dachshund from jumping up on anything I.e beds, sofas, seats etc, prevent them running up and down stairs, be careful how you lift them up and how you hold them, keep an eye on children lifting and holding them and lastly avoid using collars and leads on your Miniature Dachshund as it adds pressured to their necks and spines when you pull on them (Use a harness). There are three of many suggestions on how to prevent back pain below :
Another common problem with Miniature Dachshunds and many other breeds of dog is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) or Progressive Retinal Degeneration (PRD). This disease can affect some breeds of dog early in their life. PRA is a family of diseases which gradually degrade the retina. It will affect your dog's ability to see in the dark or low light levels. If your Dachshund's environment remains constant he/she should be able to adapt well to this disability. You can recognise PRA/PRD forming by checking your dog's eyes for increasingly dilated pupils which will cause a 'shine' to their eyes. When you first buy or have your puppy the vet can check for PRA in the earliest stages. To find out more on Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) please click the following link :
In the early stages of having your Miniature Dachshund puppy they may seem to have very itchy ears. This can be a number of reasons but a very simple explanation is teething. As with babies they itch their ears with teething pain which is similar to what Miniature Dachshunds do. I myself almost had heart failure when I found two of Mister Cooper's teeth on the floor...so do not panic when it happens to you ! Pop them under a pillow for the tooth fairy.
There is also a condition which is only found in Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds called 'Lafora’s disease'. Lafora’s disease is an inherited, late onset, progressive myoclonic epilepsy. This degenerative neurological disease has been identified in Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds. The disease is characterized by myoconus. Typically this looks like a backwards shuddering/jerking of the head when there is movement towards the eyes, when light intensity increases, when there is flickering light (e.g. television) or at sudden noises. Some dogs also develop epilepsy. Middle aged to older dogs (age range 5-8 years) of both sexes can be affected. Unfortunately there is not a completely effective treatment, however many are improved on anti-epileptic drugs.
Although the myoclonus (jerking) and epilepsy can get worse it does not appear to shorten the life of affected dogs; they do not appear to develop the severe neurological signs (status epilepticus and death) that characterizes the human form of the disease, which occurs because affected dogs are missing a vital enzyme involved with carbohydrate metabolism. This results in the storage of a polyglucasan storage material (Lafora bodies) within the brain and some other tissues. The material interferes with synaptic transmission. Diagnosis is by identification of the Lafora bodies in a liver, muscle or nerve biopsy. There have been cases of Dementia which progresses after time. Lafora's Disease can also cause increasing blindness and indeed deafness. For more information on Lafora's Disease please click the link below:
The abnormal gene which causes this disease has been identified and a DNA test is available. Over the next couple of years (from 2011), the United Kingdom is hoping to carry out a national DNA profiling to over 500 dogs and to identify their affected/carrier/clear status. This is especially important as the disease develops after the normal breeding age, so an early test could provide a way for breeders to “breed away” from this problem.
Lafora's Disease is primarily known with Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds and is believed to affect 5% of Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds, however testing other types of Miniature dachshunds would do no harm...as the old saying goes 'Better Safe Than Sorry'. Testing will cost around £80 subsidized by WHDC, DBC and other breed clubs. For more information on Lafora testing please e-mail Nora Price at the following web address firstname.lastname@example.org.
One other health issue which can be severe during breeding is anyone who is intending to breed Dapple to Dapple, this could be potentially lethal as you can see by clicking the following link 'Breeding Dapple to Dapple' It is very important for anyone breeding Dapple Dachshunds to take note of everything mentioned in the link provided.
For breeders the Kennel Club have now launched a new page on their website called ‘mate select’ which allows you to look up other Miniature Dachshunds to check their health test results etc and will also guide you on breeding healthy dogs.
Please note that just because the health conditions are listed below, doesn’t mean that they are prevalent in Dachshunds.