Dachshund health: here's a great resource
Responsible dog owners are the ones that buy their dachshund from a trusted source, register them with a vet, and then continue to look after the health and wellbeing of their dog throughout their life. None of this comes cheap. But having expert and accurate information at your fingertips can mean the difference between a good and healthy life for your dachshund, a good recovery from treatment and surgery, or a poor outcome after illness and frustration for both you and your dog.
When our standard smooth dachshund Sunny woke up paralysed in his back legs one morning, we knew something was wrong and suspected IVDD, because we'd read up about IVDD after seeing so many mentions on social media. We knew that a quick referral to a vet was essential, and were waiting outside our vet´s office at 9am. By midday we were at a specialist veterinary hospital and he was operated on later that day. Thankfully, he has made an excellent recovery, and we are forever grateful to the vets that treated him.
The Dachshund Breed Council reports a rise in the number of dachshunds registered in the UK, as well as the rise of puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders selling dachshund puppies. This was before the pandemic, which also saw a big rise in demand for dachshunds in the UK. Wherever your dachshund comes from, forewarned is forearmed. It's best to read up about the breed before committing yourself, as dachshunds are not for everyone. The DBC reports that owners surveyed most wished they had known about barking and noise before getting a dachshund!
Once you have your dachshund, like all breeds dachshunds have particular health problems, with perhaps the most feared being Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). The outcome for a dachshund with IVDD is related in part to the speed with which the dog is seen by a vet and treated once the owner has recognised that help is needed. For dachshund owners therefore, understanding the warning signs of IVDD and other conditions is essential, and requires a bit of homework in advance. It also helps to understand the cost of treatment, and whether or not it might be helpful to you to have insurance.
As a youngster in London, Sunny snuck into our guest bedroom and ate his way through a block of chocolate in the open suitcase of some newly arrived visitors while we were making them coffee downstairs. When he reappeared licking his lips, and we worked out what had happened, knowing that chocolate can be fatal for dogs we jumped in an Uber and the vet was helping him to vomit it all up within 30 minutes. We knew chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but until we did our homework we had no idea that grapes are too.
We had planned to make this post a directory of information from as many reputable sources as we could find, but changed our minds when it became clear that the comprehensive English-language website Dachshund Health UK website managed by the experts at the Dachshund Breed Council, has pretty much all the information you need.
If you´re a new dachshund owner then this really is the place to look for information, with essential guides on health and common illnesses, behaviour, breeding from your dachshund, things that are poisonous for dogs, as well as nice-to-know sections like ´How to pick up a dachshund´ and First Aid for dogs. There´s information for veterinary professionals as well. A separate section of their site is dedicated just to IVDD.
You can give back to Dachshund Health UK by submitting reports on any health problems suffered by your dachshund, completing their regular dachshund health surveys, and by donating to support their work.
Another site we really like and would recommend is the Dachshund IVDD Support Australia website. It has lots of useful information on IVDD, including rehabilitation equipment, and all presented with a dry humour that could be just what you need at a really difficult moment.
If you would like to recommend a similar resource in German, Italian or Spanish (as long as it's produced by professionals) just send us the details for inclusion here.
We wish you and your dachshund(s) a happy and healthy 2023!
The Barkmatic team