Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 17, 2022
Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs

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The Dachshund, also known as the Viennese Dog, Dachshund and Sausage Dog, is a very popular short-legged, long-haired breed of dog. They can be smooth haired, wiry or long haired. The standard Dachshund was developed to track, hunt, and flush out badgers and other animals that live in burrows, which explains their peculiar physique. As with other breeds, Dachshunds have certain diseases and health problems that are usually inherited and related to their breed. It is important to familiarize yourself with any potential health issues that may affect your Dachshund if you have or are thinking about adopting one.

In this AnimalWised article, we explain what are the most common health issues in Dachshunds.

  1. Invertebral Disc Disease (IDD)
  2. Acanthosis nigricans
  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Eye disorders
  5. Epilepsy
  6. Von Willebrand disease
  7. Dachshund skin diseases
  8. Other common Dachshund diseases

Invertebral Disc Disease (IDD)

The elongated appearance of the Dachshund have earned them the nickname sausage dog. However, the feature that makes the breed so unique is also a problem for them, as many specimens suffer from herniated disks or disk disease. Although the Dachshund is the most notorious breed for this disease, any dog can suffer from it.

This disease causes extremely severe pain in dogs due to their body structure. The elongated spine and short legs create a lot of pressure on the intervertebral disks. The most common symptoms include back pain, partial loss of limb function, and in more severe cases, paralysis and loss of sensation.

Simple actions such as jumping or climbing a ladder may become very painful as a result. Many Dachshunds eventually require surgery and even need a special wheelchair for dogs, which they usually have to use for the rest of their lives.

Some experts suggest that this problem is related to the sedentary lifestyle Dachshunds experience in modern life, where they usually live in apartments with little space for physical activity. However, the studies are not conclusive. Still, there is no doubt that your Daschhund's health will benefit from an active lifestyle, not only in terms of IDD, but overall.

Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disease that causes dark discoloration in body folds. It typically affects the armpits, groin, and neck.

Dogs not only develop thickened skin, but also suffer from infections, peeling and pus in addition to this thickening. While there are various treatments for the condition, ranging from cosmetics to medications, once a dog is afflicted with it, the condition remains for life, as there is currently no cure.

As far as scientists know, only the Dachshund breed suffers from this type of acanthosis, and it is especially common in puppies of this breed.


Hypothyroidism is a disease that occurs when the thyroid does not produce and release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, which can lead to heart problems and even diabetes. Dachshunds usually suffer from this disease after the age of 5 years.

In dogs, hypothyroidism manifests as uncontrollable weight gain, mood swings, indifference, and tactlessness in situations that would normally move them.

Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs - Hypothyroidism

Eye disorders

Dachshunds are prone to suffering from certain vision problems, most of which are hereditary. Here are some of the most common issues:

  • Cataracts: just as in humans, cataracts in dogs develop as they age. A cloudy film settles on the eye's lens and prevents light from entering. Cataracts occur when the proteins in your dog's eyes begin to clump together, forming a cloud-like substance in the lens of the eye. This results in a whitish membrane that prevents vision.

  • Glaucoma: a painful condition characterized by increased intraocular pressure within the eye, which is caused by inadequate fluid drainage, the condition can progress quickly and cause retinal and optical nerve damage.

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): is a group of degenerative diseases that affect these photoreceptor cells. In this disease, the cells deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness in the affected dog.
Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs - Eye disorders


This is another hereditary disease of the Dachshund breed. It is a neurological disorder that causes uncontrolled spasms throughout the body. Seizures result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes sudden, but short-lived, changes in a dog's behavior. The episodes may last a few seconds or a few minutes and occur without warning or anything that seems to cause them.

The danger of epilepsy is that during the shocks of each seizure, the brain or another organ can be damaged. The disease is controlled with medications that must be given for life.

Von Willebrand disease

This disease, which is also hereditary, puts the life of the Dachshund in serious danger because it is accompanied by great blood loss. Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. The blood contains many proteins that help the blood clot when needed.

Almost any wound can cause significant bleeding, from an injury to the gums to childbirth. Therefore, the dog must be closely monitored to avoid life-threatening accidents.

Dachshund skin diseases

The shorthaired dachshund in particular is prone to a number of skin diseases. In general, the most common in this breed are demodictic mange, seborrheic dermatitis, and cutaneous asthenia, which are described below.

  • Demodictic mange: is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites that live in the hair follicles. All normal dogs (and many humans) have a few of these mites on their skin. As long as the body's immune system is functioning properly, these mites do no harm. Demodictic mange occurs most often when a dog's immune system is not mature, so the number of skin mites increases rapidly.

  • Seborrhea, or seborrheic dermatitis: is a skin condition in which the sebaceous glands of the skin produce an excessive amount of sebum, resulting in scaly, itchy and red skin. Seborrhea typically affects the back, face and flanks and is worse in the folds of the skin. It is usually hereditary.

  • Cutaneous asthenia: also known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, is the most severe of the three pathologies. It is a hereditary disease that causes defects in the collagen structure and therefore affects the connective tissue of the body. This causes the skin of the diseased animal to have abnormal elasticity, which manifests itself in drooping wrinkles. It is also much more fragile than usual and can tear very easily.
Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs - Dachshund skin diseases

Other common Dachshund diseases

Although the above diseases are the most common problems of Dachshunds, there are others that can also affect this breed. According to the College of Prince Edward Island, a list of all these pathologies has been established through studies, research and a general consensus among veterinarians.

  • Cleft palate
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Deafness
  • Dermoids
  • Follicular dysplasia
  • Histiocytoma
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Ocular dysgenesis
  • Mitral valve dysplasia
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Chronic superficial keratitis
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency
  • Urolithiasis
  • Elbow dysplasia

To know more about this breed, do not miss this article on the different types of Dachshunds and their most distinctive characteristics.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

  1. University of Prince Edward Island. Duchesshund . Available at:
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Most Common Health Issues of Dachshunds or Wiener Dogs