Floppy ears. Long and low. Willfull and cuddly all at the same time. They love to sleep, eat, play and cuddle. What else is there? Life is good. Dachshunds are cute and a lot of fun but they do have their issues. The main issue for these little guys is Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD for short. IVDD can be brought on by jumping up or down from a piece of furniture, climbing stairs or playing rough.
Butch was living the life in South Carolina when something happened that changed his life forever. One day his mom noticed he was in pain and unable to walk. Rushing him to the vet she found out that he had herniated discs which is pretty common among dogs with long backs. She couldn’t afford the surgery he needed so after a week she decided to sign him over to the Dachshund Rescue of North America . The rescue took him to the University of Georgia where he had his surgery. After a little recovery time he was transported to his foster home in Pennsylvania.
Disc surgery is a very specialized, expensive surgery running between $2000 and $4500 and obviously not everyone can afford it. In lieu of surgery many people opt for crate rest which last for 6-8 weeks and is very effective in certain cases.
Toby was a “down” dog that was left at the vet because his family couldn’t care for him. The vet decided he was not a surgery candidate and he was put into rescue and began his crate rest. Besides being confined for 6-8 weeks, there are medications that must be taken to relieve the pain and inflammation. The only time the dog can leave his confinement is to be carried out to go potty and brought right back in. The dogs aren’t always thrilled about this but it works! Toby went from draggin himself in a sitting position to being a “wobbler”. He walks a little crooked and wobbles when he runs but he does walk! He will most likely need crate rest on and off for the rest of his life.
Butch on the other hand, had the surgery but never did regain his ability to walk. He can stand for a few minutes but his back left leg cannot hold him up. He now lives near Cleveland and is a happy little man. Butch has a cart from Eddie’s Wheels and gets around just fine. He’s lucky to live in an area with several good vets that can help with his therapy. Wellness Path Holistic Veterinary Care offers chinese medicine and acupunture and Toby loves going to see Dr Nan. Dancing Paws Animal Welless Center is where Butch goes for water treadmill therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture. Butch likes Dr Sivula but probably really goes to see the ladies. He is a ladies man!
IVDD dogs can live very long, happy lives if given the correct care. They need to be watched closely for any signs of back issues but that doesn’t mean they can’t “be dogs” and do all that they used to do. People with special needs dachshunds can get them stairs to get on the couch and ramps instead of steps to go from inside to outside. Just like people, dogs do adapt.
If you or anyone you know has a handicapped dachshund check out Dodgerslist for all the information you will ever need from surgery, to crate rest, to people in your area willing to help you learn.