The Dachshund Health

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updated 3/5/18


Dachshunds are prone to 2 main health concerns. We are lucky enough that PRA has a genetic marker that is easily tested for. The Dachshund Club NSW has been requesting members have their breeding dogs DNA tested for years.

Unfortunately IVDD does not have a proper genetic marker, meaning prevention is key but is still not a guarantee. We recommend not allowing Dachshunds to run up and down stair excessively, keeping them on a healthy diet, regular exercise, not allowing jumping from beds or lounges and keeping them at a healthy weight.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

Intervertebral disk disease is a major clinical problem in the dachshund breed. However, by recognising the causes and consequences of the problem, owners may prevent a great deal of difficulties by restricting the amount of excessive jumping and managing the weight of their dogs. In the event disk herniation does occur, veterinary attention should be sought immediately since the earlier medical and surgical intervention are begun, the better the therapeutic outcome.

Extensive world wide scientific research into identifying possible causes of IDD continue. One well tested school of thought from the Scandanavian countries suggests that disk calcification is hereditary and urges breeders not to breed from stock with this problem. In America a DNA clinical test program is currently seeking samples from affected dogs in order to find a definitve answer.

The following link is an informative site published by The Dachshund Club of America about this disease. Another useful site that is hosted by a support group for people whose dachshunds are affected is

The Mogensen 2011 paper “Genome-wide association study in Dachshunds: Identification of a major locus affecting intervertebral disc calcification” is now available,

  • Recently we have had a lot of discussion regarding IVDD amongst club members, after a lot of research we have found some great recommendations on prevention as well as personal testimonials of those having successfully treated IVDD. Although the vet is always the best place to start we do recommend alternatives to surgery where possible.

The following link on Vitamin C treatment for IVDD are now available.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy Cord1 Mutation in Miniature Long and Miniature Smooth Dachshunds

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a term for retinal degenerations occurring in many breeds of dogs. The disease results in a degeneration of the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eye – the retina – resulting in loss of vision, and often leading to blindness.

PRA has been diagnosed in all varieties of Dachshunds but there has been a predominant incidence in the mini long haired variety. Up until the beginning of 2005, canine ophthamologists could only diagnose whether or a mini long dachshund had PRA or did not have PRA at the time of the test. Breeders had no indication as to the carrier status of their dogs. Although there is rare incidence of blindness in mini smooths The AHT have discovered that they too can carry the gene muation and have accordingly developed a test for mini smooths.

Following many years of research the Genetics Services Division of Animal Health Trust in Suffolk, United Kingdom have developed a DNA test that identifies three important factors to eliminate this disease.

Affected – dogs that have no clinical symptoms but will develop the disease assuming they live to an appropriate age.

Carriers – dogs that have the mutation of the gene. They will never develop the disease but would pass the gene on to 50% their offspring.

Clear dogs – these dogs do not carry this mutation of the gene and will never develop PRA.

Breeders now have information to guide their future direction as responsible custodians of the breed.
How does this affect the puppy buyer?
Can you safely buy a mini long or mini smooth puppy as a pet?
The answer is yes. Discuss the latest scientific findings with your breeder.
It is imperative that pet owners not breed from a dog that is PRA Affected or a PRA Carrier.

For more information go to or contact the Dachshund Club of NSW Inc PRA Co-ordinator Jan Gardiner

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrands disease is considered to be a mild to moderate bleeding disorder. Many dogs with this disease do not ever experience a severe bleeding episode. But they can and there are reports of fatalities associated with this condition and surgical procedures.
The following link is an excellent resource:

Cushings Disease

Cushing Disease usually affects older dogs. It is probably more accurately referred to as hyperadrenocorticism — the production of too much adrenal hormone, in particular corticosteroids. It can be naturally occurring or due to over administration of corticosteroids such as prednisone (iatrogenic Cushings). The latter is easy to cure – just cut out the corticosteroid administration slowly to allow the body to return to normal function. The former is more difficult.

Cushing’s disease causes increased drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, panting, high blood pressure, hair loss – usually evenly distributed on both sides of the body, pendulous abdomen, thinning of the skin, calcified lumps in the skin, susceptibility to skin infections and diabetes, weakening of the heart and skeletal muscles, nervous system disease and other symptoms. Most owners reach a point where the water consumption and urination become bothersome to them.