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Dachshunds are short dog breeds that may be wiry haired, or have a smooth long or short hair coat. Typical features of a dachshund include a long body paired with tiny legs and long, floppy ears, and a feisty personality. However lovable and popular this dog breed may be, the deformities that are intentionally bred to create this breed come with their own set of health issues.
Preventive measures for common dachshund health issues
- Spinal and vertebral problems: A long body paired with extremely short legs means that this breed commonly suffers from spinal and vertebral problems. Lack of support to the long spine means that if any vertebra gets weak, it may protrude into the spinal canal and cause a lot of pain and eventual paralysis if not checked and fixed in time.
- Hip dysplasia: Another common issue with this breed is hip-related problems. There are some problems with the joints in the hip because of which many dachshunds suffer from hip dysplasia. In this condition, the hip bone and thigh bone do not fit well together, which may lead to problems with read leg movements and eventual paralysis as the dog gets old.
- Eye diseases: This breed has congenital problems with the eyes. Common problems include dry and watery eyes and cataracts. Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a serious eye disorder. PRA is a degenerative disease that results in blindness as the dog grows older and could cause your dog’s eyes to look clouded.
- Patella luxation: Dachshunds are created by selectively breeding a genetic deformity that causes shortness of limbs. Although many believe that the short legs make this breed look cute and adorable, it can cause a major issue with mobility and joint health. The short legs typical of this breed causes the patella or the knee cap to pop out. This causes the knee joint to become loose and leads to mobility issues.
- Obesity and consequent disorders: Dachshunds are prone to gain weight easily in a short period of time. Obesity in this breed can lead to a number of health problems that are similar to obesity-related problems in humans. Obesity can lead to joint issues, thyroid imbalances, and diabetes in this dog breed, leading to poor quality of life or shortened life spans.
- Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet that has all the nutrients it requires. You may need to supplement your dachshund’s diet with special supplements as it grows older.
- Ensure your dog gets adequate and regular exercise to avoid obesity and mobility issues.
- Avoid letting your dachshund run up and down stairs frequently to minimize the load on the back and legs.
If you have a dachshund at home, no matter how young or old, it is important to understand these health problems that are common to the breed and to keep an eye out for them regularly.