Common Genetic Disorders Found in Dachshunds


Dachshunds, beloved for their long bodies and friendly demeanor, are not exempt from genetic disorders that can affect their health. As a pet expert, it is crucial to understand the common genetic disorders found in this breed in order to provide them with the best care possible. In this article, we will explore three highly prevalent genetic disorders in dachshunds, shedding light on their causes, symptoms, and potential treatments. By staying informed, you can ensure the well-being and long-term health of these adorable four-legged companions.

Common Genetic Disorders Found in Dachshunds

Dachshunds, with their unique long bodies and short legs, are beloved pets around the world. However, they are prone to certain genetic disorders that prospective owners should be aware of. In this article, we will discuss the most common genetic disorders found in dachshunds, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), Patellar Luxation, Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), Allergies and Skin Disorders, Obesity and Diabetes, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), Congenital Deafness, and Retinal Dysplasia. By understanding these disorders, you can make informed decisions about the wellbeing of your dachshund and take appropriate steps to ensure their quality of life.

Overview of Genetic Disorders in Dachshunds

Dachshunds, like many purebred dogs, are susceptible to a variety of genetic disorders due to their limited gene pool. These disorders are typically passed down from one generation to another, and it’s crucial for responsible breeders to screen their dogs for these conditions. While not all dogs may be affected, it’s important for owners to be aware of the potential risks and symptoms associated with these genetic disorders. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential to monitor the health of your dachshund and catch any potential issues early on.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

One of the most prevalent genetic disorders in dachshunds is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This condition affects the retina, leading to a progressive loss of vision. Early symptoms may include night blindness or difficulty navigating in dimly lit areas. As the disease progresses, affected dogs may eventually become blind. PRA is a hereditary disorder, and both parents must carry the gene for their puppies to be affected. Genetic testing can help identify carriers and ensure responsible breeding practices to reduce the incidence of PRA in dachshunds.

Common Genetic Disorders Found in Dachshunds

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a common genetic disorder seen in dachshunds, primarily due to their elongated spinal structure. This condition occurs when the discs between the vertebrae degenerate or herniate, causing pain, mobility issues, and in severe cases, paralysis. Symptoms of IVDD can range from neck or back pain to dragging of the hind legs. While IVDD can be managed with medication, physical therapy, or surgery, preventative measures such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that put strain on the back can help minimize the risk of developing this debilitating condition.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is another genetic disorder commonly found in dachshunds, affecting their knee joints. This condition occurs when the patella, or kneecap, shifts out of its normal position, causing pain and difficulty in walking or running. Mild cases may only require medical management, while more severe cases may necessitate surgical correction. It is important to note that patellar luxation can be hereditary, and responsible breeders should screen their dogs to reduce the incidence of this disorder in dachshunds.

Common Genetic Disorders Found in Dachshunds

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is a heart condition that affects the mitral valve, which is responsible for controlling blood flow between the left atrium and ventricle. In dachshunds, MVD is often characterized by a degeneration of the mitral valve, leading to a leaky valve and subsequent heart failure. Symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance. While MVD is more common in older dogs, it can also affect younger dachshunds. Regular cardiac examinations, such as ultrasounds and auscultation, can help detect and monitor MVD in dachshunds.

Allergies and Skin Disorders

Dachshunds are prone to various allergies and skin disorders, including food allergies, environmental allergies, and dermatitis. These conditions can cause itching, redness, hair loss, and recurrent skin infections. Identifying and avoiding potential allergens is crucial in managing these disorders. Your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing or dietary changes to alleviate your dachshund’s symptoms. Regular grooming and proper skincare can also help maintain healthy skin and minimize the risk of these allergic reactions.

Obesity and Diabetes

Due to their love for food and their tendency to be less active, dachshunds are at a higher risk of becoming obese. Obesity can lead to a myriad of health problems, including diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight through portion control, regular exercise, and a balanced diet is essential in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of diabetes in dachshunds. Annual check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor your dachshund’s weight and address any concerns or necessary dietary modifications.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart condition that causes the heart muscles to weaken, leading to an enlarged heart and reduced pumping efficiency. While DCM can affect any breed, dachshunds are among the susceptible breeds. Symptoms of DCM may include lethargy, coughing, labored breathing, and fainting. Regular cardiac evaluations, such as electrocardiograms and echocardiograms, can help detect DCM early and guide appropriate treatment options, improving the quality of life for affected dachshunds.

Congenital Deafness

Congenital Deafness is a genetic disorder that is occasionally seen in dachshunds. Some dachshunds may be born deaf or develop hearing loss at an early age. While the exact cause of congenital deafness in dachshunds is often unknown, it is believed to be inherited through a recessive gene. Early identification and management of deafness can help enhance the quality of life for affected dachshunds. Various communication methods, such as using hand signals or vibrations, can be employed to effectively interact with a deaf dachshund.

Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal Dysplasia is a developmental disorder affecting the retina, resulting in impaired vision or blindness. This condition may occur due to genetic factors or environmental influences during fetal development. Dachshunds with retinal dysplasia may have abnormal development of the retinal tissue, leading to vision problems. While there is no cure for retinal dysplasia, affected dachshunds can still lead fulfilling lives with proper care and support. Regular eye examinations can identify retinal dysplasia in dachshunds and help manage their visual impairments.


As a responsible dachshund owner, it is crucial to be aware of the common genetic disorders that can affect your beloved pet. Regular veterinary check-ups, genetic testing, and adopting responsible breeding practices are essential steps in minimizing the occurrence and impact of these disorders. By staying informed and taking proactive measures, you can ensure that your dachshund leads a happy and healthy life, despite any potential genetic challenges they may face. Remember, knowledge is power, and by understanding these disorders, you have the ability to make informed decisions for the wellbeing of your dachshund.

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