The Dachshund Health
Dachshunds are typically a healthy robust breed with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Occasionally, the Dachshund Club learns from some Member Breeders that their Dachshund has reached the age of 18, 19, 20, and 21 years, WOW!! It goes to show that it is vital you want a healthy dachshund from the start. By selecting a breeder who researches pedigrees and conducts appropriate health screening where nessasary or where the health history is unknown in the hope to negate as many health ailments as possible.
Intervertebral Disk Disease
Breeds: All Dachshunds
Illness Impact: Moderate to Severe
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 interventions are begun, the better the therapeutic outcome.
Extensive worldwide scientific research into identifying possible causes of IDD continues. 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 definitive answer.
The following link http://dachshund-dca.org/discbook.html 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 http://www.dodgerslist.com
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.
Sarcoglycan Deficient Muscular Dystrophy (SDMD)
Breeds: Miniature Smooth Haired, Miniature Long Haired
Mini Smooths Risk: Low (Due to DNA testing; risk is managed)
Mini Long Risk: Nill – Low (Due to DNA testing; risk is managed)
Illness Impact: Severe
In late 2019, breeders advised that a group of related miniature dachshund dogs with exercise intolerance, stiff gait, dysphagia, myoglobinuria and markedly elevated serum creatine kinase (CK) activities were identified in Australia, South Africa and the USA.
Muscle biopsies were dystrophic. Sarcoglycanopathy, a form of limb girdle muscular dystrophy, was suspected based on immunostaining
and western blotting, where α, β, and γ-sarcoglycan were all absent or reduced. Genetic mapping and whole-genome sequencing identified a
premature stop codon mutation in the sarcoglycan A subunit gene (SGCA). Affected dachshunds were confirmed on several continents.
Clinical signs, first noted at approximately 6 months of age, are variable and include exercise intolerance, stiff gait,
myoglobinuria and dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort in swallowing causing drooling or choking).
A DNA test is available from the University of Minnesota, USA, and Orivet Australia. The mutation is autosomal recessive, and the test identifies Clear, Carrier and Affected dogs.
We recommend that breeders breed and buyers ensure that at least ONE (1) parent is DNA tested CLEAR to avoid breeding AFFECTED offspring. CARRIERS do NOT present illness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Cord 1 Mutation
Breeds: Miniature Smooth Haired, Miniature Long Haired, Miniature Wire Haired
Risk: Low (Due to DNA testing; risk is managed)
Illness Impact: Low
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 ophthalmologists 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 a rare incidence of blindness in mini smooths The AHT have discovered that they too can carry the gene mutation 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. Today we have multiple providers to choose from including Orivet Australia, Paw Print Genetics
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% of 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.
Breeds: All Dachshunds
Illness Impact: Nill – Moderate
Pes varus is a Latin term that combines pes (foot) and varus (inward). It is a bone deformity where the distal tibia is turned inward toward the body. It occurs when the shinbone growth plate closes prematurely, causing asymmetrical growth of the tibia. It results in a bow-legged appearance and lameness. It is also known as Angular Limb Deformity.
Severity & treatment:
The younger the age at which the growth plate closes, the more severe the deformity. Dogs that are mildly affected may experience few problems and are unlikely to need surgical treatment. In more severe cases, the dog may be lame, in pain and may develop osteoarthritis in older age. In these cases, surgery may be required to correct the deformity.
The Dachshund Club of America published an excellent article on this condition and you can download it here.
Breeds: Miniature Wire Haired
Risk: Low (Due to DNA testing, risk is managed)
Illness Impact: High
Lafora Disease is an inherited form of epilepsy that affects Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds.
Symptoms develop because the dog cannot efficiently process starch into sugar. Over time, insoluble starch platelets gradually build up in the central nervous system. Survey results indicate that the majority, if not all dogs, will go on to show clinical symptoms to a greater or lesser degree. It typically becomes apparent any time from age 5+ with a variety of symptoms including myoclonus (jerking, characteristically this can be induced by flashing lights, sudden sounds and movement, especially when close to the dog’s head) and/or generalized or complex partial seizures. As the disease progresses, other neurological symptoms such as ataxia, blindness and dementia may occur.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Risk: Low (Due to testing, risk is managed)
Illness Impact: Nill – Moderate
Von Willebrands disease is considered to be a mild to a 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: www.vetinfo.com/dvonwillebrands.html
Breeds: Miniature Long Haired
Illness Impact: Low – Moderate
Extra eyelashes growing from the margin of the eyelid may cause irritation or scarring of the cornea and excess tearing from the eyes. Reported at 42% in a research sample of 80 UK Mini Longs in 2010. The condition will be identifiable by clinical examination from a very young age.
This is probably the most common canine hereditary eye abnormality. It is recommended that Clinical eye testing (KC/BVA/ISDS) should be carried out annually. Affected dogs should not be bred from as the cause may be an autosomal dominant gene with incomplete penetrance (Stockman, 1983).
Breeds: All Dachshunds
Illness Impact: Moderate
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.