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?
Mary Smith, Reading, Berkshire
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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.