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9 Common Dachshund Health Issues: Vet-Verified Overview

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

a dachshund dog looks sick lying on its owner

9 Common Dachshund Health Issues: Vet-Verified Overview


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dachshunds are popular pint-sized family dogs originally bred to hunt badgers and other small game. Often called “wiener dogs” or “sausage dogs,” their unique conformation is part of their appeal but also a factor in several health issues.

If you’re planning on bringing home a Dachshund, it’s important to prepare yourself for potential common health problems to help your pup live a long, healthy, and happy life.


The 9 Dachshund Health Issues

1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

The distinctive long back and short legs of the Dachshund leave it prone to musculoskeletal conditions like intervertebral disc disease, or IVDD. This condition causes the vertebral discs to weaken and protrude into the spinal canal, causing pain and mobility issues. The best way to prevent IVDD is by keeping your dog at a healthy weight, supporting it to keep the spine in a neutral position, and discouraging it from jumping onto or off high furniture. IVDD may be treated effectively with medication, but it could require surgery.

The symptoms of IVDD may include:
  • Limping or lameness
  • Reluctance to move or play
  • Yelping at touch

2. Hip Dysplasia

Several breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, including Dachshunds. With this condition, the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone, leaving the hip joint partially or completely dislocated. It may be caused by injury or genetics. Hip dysplasia can be managed with medication, physical therapy, or surgery.

The symptoms may include:
  • Limping
  • Hip stiffness
  • Atrophied thigh muscles
  • Poor mobility
  • Pain or discomfort

dachshund nesting
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

3. Patella Luxation

Patella luxation is a condition of the knee that causes the patella, or kneecap, to pop out of place. Because of the Dachshund’s short legs, they are more likely to develop this condition. Like spinal issues, you can minimize the risk of patella luxation by giving your dog plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and speaking to your vet about joint supplements.

The symptoms may include:
  • Lameness
  • Favoring one leg
  • Reluctance to play or move

4. Obesity

Obesity is a common condition in many dogs, but with the Dachshund’s conformation, it can be more detrimental. The long back and small legs of a Dachshund put it at additional risk for spine and joint problems with extra weight. Dachshunds are highly food motivated as well, so they can put on pounds easily. Some conditions can contribute to obesity, including hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, so be sure to speak to your vet about your dog’s weight.

The symptoms of an underlying condition may include:
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Insatiable appetite

dachshund is weighed on a scale wrapped in measuring tape
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

5. Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GPRA)

Generalized progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA) is a genetic eye disease that breaks down the photoreceptors in the retina. Though it doesn’t cause pain, it will lead to eventual blindness. This disease can occur early or late. There is a genetic test for GPRA.

The symptoms may include:
  • Gradually diminished vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Eventual blindness

6. Various Eye Conditions

Dachshunds can develop other eye conditions beyond GPRA, though they are often easier to manage. Cataracts, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and cherry eye may all occur more often in Dachshunds. Regular exams can identify eye conditions to treat them effectively.

The symptoms of eye problems vary by the condition but may include:
  • Eye tearing
  • Squinting or a fully closed eye
  • Itchy eyes
  • A swollen “third eyelid”
  • Eye bulging
  • Eye cloudiness

vet examines the eyes of a dachshund with cataracts
Image By: Masarik, Shutterstock

7. Hereditary Epilepsy

Dachshunds may have hereditary epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures. Though they can be distressing to see and potentially dangerous, seizures can often be managed with medication. It’s important for these dogs to be managed carefully by a vet.

Seizures can look different, but the symptoms may include:
  • Running in circles
  • Twitching
  • Suddenly falling
  • Stiff muscles
  • Unconsciousness
  • Drooling
  • Biting
  • Uncontrollable tremors

8. Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Dachshunds are over twice as likely to develop a congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). With this condition, the main communication between the two blood vessels leading from the heart remains open after birth, leading to considerable changes in the heart’s function. Without treatment, part of the heart may fail prematurely.

PDA is usually found during routine exams, but the symptoms may include:
  • A loud heart murmur
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal pulses
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Stunted growth

vet with stethoscope examining sick dachshund
Image By: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

9. Genetic Conditions

Some varieties of Dachshunds are prone to specific genetic conditions related to their breeding. Double Dapple Dachshunds, a Dapple coloration produced by two Dapple parents, often have vision or hearing loss or even reduced or missing eyes and malformed ears. Other dilution genes that produce Blue, Isabella, or Cream Dachshunds are prone to color dilution alopecia, a skin disorder that causes sun sensitivity and hair loss. These conditions can be prevented by diligent genetic testing by breeders.


Are Dachshunds Unhealthy Dogs?

All dogs can develop health problems, and certain breeds are prone to certain conditions. Dachshunds aren’t unhealthy dogs but may have a greater risk of health problems from poor breeding. It’s important to work with a reputable breeder who conducts health testing to minimize the risk of hereditary conditions like GPRA and hereditary epilepsy.



Like any dog, Dachshunds are not without possible health problems. Fortunately, many Dachshund health problems can be prevented with responsible breeding and diligent care, including regular vet checkups and weight management to prevent obesity. All pets deserve to live happy and healthy lives with their owners.

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Featured Image Credit: Leka Sergeeva, Shutterstock

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