Inter-Vertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

According to research, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 Dachshunds will suffer some degree of disc-related problems in their lifetimes.  This is the most significant health issue in the breed.

Dachshunds have a condition known as CHONDRODYSTROPHY – “chondro” means cartilage and “dystrophy” means disorder. Chondrodystrophy refers to the abnormal development of bone from a cartilage skeleton during growth from a puppy to an adult. The long bones of the body tend to be affected the most and this results in short limbs. It is “genetically programmed” in dwarf breeds such as Dachshunds.

Discs have an outer fibrous capsule (annulus) and inner gel nucleus. Discs degenerate with age in all animals – they lose water, become more fibrous and sometimes mineralised (calcified). The fibrous annulus can also rupture. Degeneration takes place much earlier in chondrodystrophic breeds, i.e. from 12-18 months, compared with 6-8 years in non-chondrodystrophic breeds.

Disc disease can and does happen at any age, but dogs between the ages of 4 and 6 seem to be most susceptible.  There is also research evidence that IVDD has an inherited component.  If you’d like to help with our research programme, read this.

Download the Breed Council’s advice: Dach-Facts IVDD, written in conjunction with  You can also download the Bill Oxley IVDD Presentation from the Breed Council’s 2009 Conference.

The Dachshund Club of America has produced an excellent handbook.

More useful links:

Diagnosing IVDD (DVM360  article April 2009)

Managing IVDD (DVM360 article May 2009)

American College of Veterinary Surgeons article

UC Davis article

A test for Dachshund back?

Dachshund Back-related Websites

Dachshund Breed Council Summary of IVDD and Research findings (May 2009)

Dachshund Club of America article

Disabled Dachshund Society

DodgersList Presentation

European & US Research Studies – Summary

InfoDachshund IVDD pages

Integrative Treatment for IVDD

Developing a new treatment for severe spinal cord injury in dogs

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