Dachshunds are everywhere these days and it seems that more and more people are adopting them. While lovable and loyal, they are not without their health problems. As a dachshund owner you need to be aware of the five most common health concerns they face.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Auto-Immune Disease
Dachshunds originate from Germany and were bred to hunt burrowing creatures. With their long spines they were ideal to crawl through badger and mole tunnels. These long spines are very susceptible to Intervertebral Disc Disease. The vertebral disc is a spongy material that sits between each spinal vertebrae. The disc can degenerate or herniate and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. This is usually caused by people improperly picking up their dachshund, obesity or the dog jumping up on or off high places. The proper way to pick up a dachshund is by supporting both ends.
The next issue that dachshunds face is obesity. Pet owners often give “people” food to their pets as a sign of affection. Remember that food does not equal love. Dachshunds are very prone to gaining weight very quickly. Being over weight can affect the heart, spine, lungs and may even help cause arthritis. Placing your dachshund on a healthy diet is a must and if you have to give “people” food stick to healthy treats. Food that can be good as treats can be small pieces of carrots, green beans, small pieces of boiled chicken breast or just good old fashioned dog biscuits.
An issue that is sort of related to diet is a disease called Pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy. This is generally caused by over eating fatty or greasy foods. If you have a dog that likes to knock over the trash can and eat the contents it is very likely it will get pancreatitis. Dachshunds seem to be very prone to this disease as they like to get into things they are not supposed to.
Auto immune disease is a very difficult disease to deal with. Basically it is where the dachshunds own immune system attacks itself. This causes severe itching, scaly skin, irritated skin, lesions and cracking foot pads. This disease is likely to appear around 5-6 years of age and is a lifelong disease. The treatments for this disease can be very expensive and time consuming.
Dachshunds have a variety of behavior problems as well. They can be very obsessive, stubborn and aggressive. They will hover over a particular toy and protect it with their life. They will sometimes even guard their food rather than eat it. Dachshunds seem to have a “little man complex” and think that they are much bigger than they really are. This leads to many battles over dominance with the pet owner. When the dachshund is a puppy be aware of any signs of aggression and curb them immediately. Be patient with your dachshund and understand that while they are stubborn they will learn the things you teach them.