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Spinal Disk Injury in Dachshunds

Despite taking preventive measures, a Dachshund sometimes will suffer a disk herniation where the disk bulges out from between the vertebrae in the spinal column. If this happen to your dog, you must know what to do, and you must do it fast. However, you can't do anything if you don't know that your Dachshund is having a problem in the first place.

Dogs have high pain thresholds and an instinct not to reveal when they're in pain. After all, in the wild, the obviously injured animal is the one that gets picked off by the predators. But if you pay attention, you can tell whether your Dachshund is in pain from a disk injury.

Look for the following warning signs of spinal disk injury:

  • Shivering — especially when combined with unusual inactivity
  • Refusal to get up and play, even for food
  • A yelp when you pet your Dachshund or try to pick him up
  • A pulled-in head, arched back, or any other strange position
  • A refusal to bend down to the food or water dish to eat or drink
  • Limping of any kind
  • A "drunken" rear end, which moves but looks as if it isn't completely under control
  • Dragging of the back legs

If your Dachshund shows any of these warning signs, call your vet immediately. In the case of dragging the back legs or showing any other signs of paralysis or severe pain, drive immediately to the vet's office or nearest pet emergency facility. Don't wait. You can call on the way.

In short, you have just hours to act. Immediate surgery on a Dachshund with a ruptured disk (where the disk is torn and the inner matter, called the nucleus, leaks out) has a much better success rate than a similar surgery on a human. For Dachshunds still feeling pain (a good sign that the spinal cord is still functioning), the success rate for restoring function is 95 percent. The success rate is 50 percent for Dachshunds experiencing total paralysis, as long as the dog was feeling pain within the last 24 hours. But if you wait longer than 24 hours after a disk injury, the success rate plummets to a meager 5 percent. If that isn't reason enough to rush your injured Dachsie to treatment, nothing is.

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