IVDD is the most significant health issue in Dachshunds and is a disease resulting in degeneration of the discs in the spine. It is reported that 20 - 25% of Dachshunds will suffer with some degree of back problems within their lifetime, unfortunately there is no screening for IVDD as yet. Severity ranges from mild discomfort and pain through to total paralysis. Symptoms typically occur between the ages of 4-7 years old, but can occur at any age.
While there is nothing that can prevent IVDD, there are several things that a Dachshund owner can do to minimise the risk:
* Keep your Dachshund within the recommended weight range and excerise him/her daily - overweight dogs are more prone to IVDD. The Breed Standard States the ideal weight for a dachshund is 10-11 Ibs but some dachshunds maybe to thin at this weight for their frame.
* Lift your Dachshund with two hands, one supporting its chest and one supporting its back
* Limit your Dachshunds use of up/down stairs and steps and jumping on and off furniture and beds
* The use of ramps is strongly recommended
* If possible, use a harness instead of a collar and lead
Please imagine yourself with a vulnerable back and think about what measures you would take to minimise further damage - this is then what you should do for your Dachshund!
Cord 1 PRA Mutation
PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is the general term for degeneration of the retina found within some breeds of dogs (and humans). Several breed specific forms or retinal degeneration are caused by mutation in different genes.
Retinal degeneration was first documented in Miniature Long Haired Dachshunds. A 'DNA' test was made available in 2005 that identifies a specific gene mutation known as 'Cord 1'. The identical mutation was then found in Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshunds and Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds. The age in which degeneration of eyesight occurs within affected dogs varies widely, as do the levels of vision impairment and age of onset.
Breeders of Miniature Dachshunds are now required to carry out DNA testing to check their dogs Cord 1 PRA status. The test then shows whether the dog is Clear, Carrier or Afftected with the Cord 1 PRA mutation. If both parents of the puppy are Clear then testing is not required as the whole litter will be Hereditary Clear.
Clear and Carrier dogs will never be affected by the symptoms of PRA, however, two Carrier dogs mated together could produce affected puppies.
A prospective owner of a Miniature Dachshund should be aware that it is important to ask the breeder what the Cord 1 PRA results of the puppies' parents are. Only purchase a puppy if at least ONE of the parents has tested Clear or is hereditary Clear of the Cord 1 PRA mutation (please see diagram above)
All of our girls at Royaldach are Hereditary Clear of Cord 1 PRA mutation as both sets of parents for each are Clear dogs.