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Dachshunds and Back Problems
March 4, 2011, Submitted by: Lauren
As I discussed in an earlier post, “Why Do Some Dachshunds Have Back Problems“, the main problem that Dachshund’s have with their back and spine is a disk disease called IVDD or intervertebral disk disease.
You may never be able to prevent your Dachshund from developing IVDD, but there are things you can do to help reduce impact to your Dachshund’s back and spine. This, in turn, can help prevent or reduce the chances of a spine injury or back problems.
Here are helpful tips to keep your Dachshund’s back and spine healthy and hopefully prevent injury.
Maintain a Healthy Weight of your Dachshund
Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to let any dog get overweight. But it is definitely not a good idea to let your Dachshund become overweight. A dog will not turn down food, so it is up to you to monitor it. Carrying around extra weight will only weaken your dog’s spine, and the Dachshund with their long backs and short legs will suffer as a consequence.
Feed your Dachshund according to the instructions that come with the dog food you use! This is important. Every food is a bit different, with varying calories and nutrients, and a good dog food will include a list of proper amounts according to the dog’s weight.
There are some special Dachshund foods that contain supplements that support healthy joints such as glucosamine and chondroitin. These will help to strengthen your dog’s vertebrae in his back. If the food you use does not contain these supplements, consider getting them from your veterinarian.
Always Pick up Your Dachshund Properly
Always use two hands to pick up your Dachshund, which is crucial to preventing back problems. Use two hands and hold him level. This will alleviate any pressure on his back. Always ‘place’ him back on the floor, using your two hands for support until his little Dachshund legs are actually touching the floor. For more information, read, “How to Properly Pick Up a Dachshund.”
Make Your Home ‘Dachshund Friendly’
Because of the short Dachshund legs, their spine and discs are put under a lot of pressure when going up or down stairs. You should never let your Dachshund go up or down stairs. It is best to carry the little guy instead, and consider placing a baby gate at the foot and head of the stairs when you are not around to supervise your dog.
As a Dachshund Mommy or Daddy, you should also do your best to keep your dog from any activity that will impact his spine. For example, your Dachshund should not be jumping off of couches, beds or other high places. Jumping puts the most impact pressure on your dog’s back. One ‘bad’ jump could spell disaster for the short legged, but lovable little guy (or gal).
Know the Signs of a Ruptured Disk
Many Dachshunds that do become paraplegic after a disk rupture do so because they weren’t treated soon enough after the disk rupture. The sooner you can get your Dachshund treatment, the better his chances for recovery.
How do you know if your Dachshund has a ruptured disk? Other than paralysis of his back legs,
- he may walk stiffly, his back with a hunched appearance
- he may have a drunken or wobbly gait, dragging his back toes
- he may yelp in pain when you go to pick him up
- he may walk with his head down or back arched trying to keep his neck level
- he may refuse to move or walk
- he may suddenly have a poor appetite (this could be other reasons too)
- he may have lost control of bowel and bladder
As soon as you suspect your Dachshund may have a ruptured disk in his spine, get him to the vet for diagnosis and/or treatment.
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