Dachshunds are prone to spinal disc problems, also known as Dachshund paralysis. This is due to their very long spinal columns and doxivery short rib cages. Dogs with this problem can become completely paralyzed. For this reason, it's important that your dog be trained early on not to jump, as jumping puts additional pressure on the spine. You should also be taught how to hold your dog properly, as improper handling can lead to back problems, too. Some veterinarians caution against Dachshunds using stairs, though most feel that it does not pose a problem for the dog to use stairs, as long as they are walking instead of running. Researchers are finding that the occurrence and severity of these spinal disc problems are hereditary in large part, so it's important to inquire about such problems from your breeder.


Back problems


The breed is known to have spinal problems, especially intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage]. The risk of injury can be worsened by obesity, which places greater strain on the vertebrae. In order to prevent injury, it is recommended that dachshunds be discouraged from jumping (something many seem to enjoy doing anyway) and taking stairs, and encouraged to instead take the elevator (though some veterinarians say that slow stair-climbing is unlikely to lead to injury). However, according to the same article above, dachshunds that climb stairs regularly may actually be less problematic probably because the exercise helps to keep them fitter and healthier, and positive correlations were found between physically fit dogs and a lower incidence of IVDD. Hence the importance of keeping the dog at a good body weight. Holding the dog properly is also important, with both front and rear portions level. Under no circumstances should a dachshund be exposed to rough play or handling, as their spines may not tolerate such treatment.

As it has become increasingly apparent that the occurrence and severity of these spinal problems, or intervertebral disk disease, is largely hereditary, responsible breeders are working to eliminate this characteristic in the breed. Treatment consists of various combinations of crate confinement and courses of anti-inflammatory medications (steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen and meloxicam). Serious cases may require surgery to remove the troublesome disk contents. Others may need the aid of cart to get around if paralysis occurs.

A new minimally-invasive procedure called "percutaneous laser disk ablation" has been developed at the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Hospital. Originally, the procedure  was used in clinical trials only on dachshunds that had suffered previous back incidents. Since dachshunds are the poster children of dogs with back issues, the goal is to expand this treatment to dogs in a normal population.

In addition to back problems, the breed is also prone to patellar luxation.