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Friday, 10 June 2011

Back to good health

Dear Think Tank

My young Dachshund recently hurt his back, I know the breed are very prone to this so it's not totally unexpected, but what can I do to make sure this injury doesn't create long term problems for him? What is the best way to ensure maximum healing and to encourage healthy joints?

Many thanks
Mary Smith, Reading, Berkshire

Please note: Dogs Today strongly advises that veterinary attention is sought in the first instance so please assume this is the case when providing advice, tips and suggestions.

Alison Logan,
vet, replies...

As a breed, the dachshund is certainly prone to back problems. This ranges from back strain (arched back, unwilling to go up/down stairs) through to the other extreme of a prolapsed intervertebral disc (knuckling of hindpaws, difficulty walking on hindlimbs, loss of ability to pass urine/faeces voluntarily). Back strain should settle with rest and pain relief, but at the other end of the spectrum major back surgery may be advised in order to avoid paraplegia

I am assuming that your dachshund made a full recovery, but I would treat this as a warning of potential future episodes. You rightly want to avoid long-term problems and action you can take includes:

- walking your dachshund with a body harness rather than collar and lead

- regular exercise – two or three short walks rather than one long walk, and avoid the common pitfall of a super long walk at the weekend after a week of shorter walks

- maintain ideal body condition, ie avoid your dachshund losing his waistline and carrying excess bodyweight

- avoid jumping up or down – consider furniture, car

- avoid rough play

- balanced diet with particular attention to the joints (glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids)

If, however, your dachshund has not made a full recovery then I would have him checked out by your veterinary surgeon, especially if you have not had him examined with this problem.


  1. I also have a long backed breed. I have found a dog chiropractor to be very helpful. Not all vets will recommend it, but I have found that it helps keep things in line and will also help you to be aware of the status of the back.

  2. Hi Mary,
    GWF Nutrition is a specialist animal feed company who make Joint Aid for Dogs which is a market leader. Joint Aid for Dogs is a complementary feed for all dogs and provides a painless, economical aid for maintaining healthy joints.
    Through the use of 11 specific nutricines, Joint Aid for Dogs provides support to the normal wear and repair within the skeletal structure. This helps maintain flexibility of movement throughout the life of the dog. For more information and to check out those 11 active ingredients please visit
    Good Luck!

  3. Hi Mary,

    Just reading about your dachshund and thought I would mention our new product – Trionz dog collars which I think would help.

    Trion:z products are the global leaders in magnetic and ionic therapy products. The bracelets and necklaces are worn by professional sportspeople to help them achieve maximum potential in training and to accelerate their recovery time. Significant numbers of arthritis sufferers have also sent in testimonials stating that wearing Trion:z has helped them reduce swelling and decrease their pain. The same technology of 1000 Gauss magnets set in a patented ANSPO orientation and negative ions is in our dog collars .

    Simba, one of my dogs has shown really positive benefits from wearing the collar. Simba is a nine year old Staffie who snapped her cruciate ligament when she was barged by another dog. This meant she had to have a double op to mend her ligament and to insert a prosthetic piece into her hind leg. The op was a great success but we were warned that she would most likely develop arthritis due to the magnitude of the op. I don’t know if you know much about Staffies but they are determined, little dogs and she was really wanting to run after the ball and keep up with our other two dogs but paid for the running around the next day by not being able to get out of her bed and then limping around. Simba has been wearing the Trionz collar for the last month and over the last weekends we have noticed that she has been running after the ball as per years ago and apart from a little stiffness has gone back to pre-op days. The other two dogs I have are also wearing the collar and just seem a little perkier.

    Hope this helps, Sue

  4. Hi Mary,

    I am a qualified canine remedial massage therapist and run a small business called Healing Paws. Like your dog, I treat a Dachshund who suffers from back problems. Remedial massage, combined with stretches and rehabilitation exercises is a great way to help your dog's current injury and help prevent him getting problems in the future. Once your dog has had a problem in an area of its' body it is likely to always be a ‘weakness’ and although it can not guarantee that the injury won’t come back, massage and rehabilitation therapy can massively reduce the chances. It is also good to keep everything that might be working harder to compensate for this injury in good working order to prevent these getting injured too. Although, there are not a huge number of therapists around it is becoming more popular, with an increasing number of people becoming qualified and vets recommending it. The best place to find someone is on the ACAT (Association of Complementary Animal Therapists) website, this way you will know that they are a highly qualified therapist and will do their very best for your dog.
    Hope he makes a speedy recovery.

    Lizzie, Healing Paws, London, Surrey and Kent.

  5. Hi Mary,

    Giving the right nutraceutical support can play a huge role in the prevention and management of joint problems. If you are looking to avoid medication and want to give the best possible natural care I would recommend Nupafeed Flex GLM.

    The main ingredient in Nupafeed Flex GLM is Green Lipped Mussel extract which is considered the most suitable source of nutrients for joints. The extract Nupafeed use is of pharmaceutical grade, taken from the mussel itself (not the shell which many supplements use) and specially prepared to protect the Mussels’ delicate composition. It contains not only glucosamine, chondroitin and a range of trace nutrients, but also omega-3 and -6 oils which are unique to the Mussel and thought to be the most powerful naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds in existence. What is more is that these components are believed to work synergistically making them more potent than feeding the isolated ingredients.

    Nupafeed Flex GLM also contains the active ingredients calcium, magnesium, zinc and the anti-oxidants Vitamin E and selenium, making it a truly complete supplement. Flex GLM provides all the nutrients required for the building of new joint and connective tissue, prevents swelling, improves lubrication, promotes bone strength and protects against post exercise free radical damage.

    I have seen it make such a huge differnce to so many dogs, it really is worth a try!