Dachshund Back Surgery: When Is It Done?

Dachshund Chekup

Dachshund back surgery is performed to fix a condition in which the spinal cord is compressed. It’s usually done when the dog has trouble walking or standing or with neurological signs.

There may be other reasons why a dachshund needs back surgery, including injuries and tumors. Dachshunds are naturally prone to their spine being too curved (known as lordosis). The breed is prone to a condition referred to as screw-tail (patellar luxation), in which its kneecap can slip out of its groove and pop in and out of position. This condition can occur when the dog jumps or trots or is exciting.

Some dachshunds are born with a spinal disorder known as syringomyelia, which means fluid has built up in the spinal canal. Syringomyelia results in a sharp bend in the Dachshund’s spine. It is a condition that does not have to be surgically fixed and may be treated with medications.

The surgeon will numb the dog’s back for surgery and place an incision through the skin to reach the spine’s muscles and bones. The incision line is closed by stitching it together. If the dog has no other symptoms, it is usually a one-day procedure. Sometimes the dog will need more sedation or anesthesia to sleep through the recovery period.

Table of Contents

  • How long does it take for a dachshund to recover from back surgery?
  • How do I protect my dachshunds back?
  • Can IVDD come back to my Dachshund after surgery?
  • Two Primary Treatments for an IVDD-Related Back Injury 
  • Considerations for Surgery in Your Dachshund 
  • What is IVDD means?

How long does it take for a Dachshund to recover from back surgery?

It depends on whether the surgery is to correct a spinal problem or an extradural procedure.

The latter is an injection into the brain. It takes longer to fix because the Dachshund’s head has to be moved, which requires extra time and strength.

Earlier this month, we asked how long it takes for a dachshund to recover from back surgery and how long it takes for dogs to recover from general anesthesia? In both instances, recovery was only temporary.

How long does it take a Dachshund to walk after back surgery?

It depends on the type of surgery. If I were to operate by entering the abdomen, recovery would take longer. If the surgery were performed through the back, it would be quicker to return to full function.

What kind of aftercare is involved?

Some people prefer a crate to bed rest after back surgery. With a crate, not only will your dog get lots of exercises while pottying and playing inside, but you can help keep your dog off slippery surfaces and out of trouble. It will depend on how successful your school/training program is at keeping your dog from counter surfing and other bad habits that can lead to degenerative changes in the spine again. If you create your dog, I recommend giving it some exercise in the crate, so it doesn’t feel like a prison. I also recommend that you feed the dog its favorite food in the crate, so it doesn’t get boring and develop bad habits. Don’t forget to give your dog plenty of quality time to play on its own before bedtime.

Do dogs need medicine after back surgery?

If your dog is a rescue from a shelter or rescue group, has been through extensive medical care already, and has been diagnosed with pain, perhaps even with an incision site causing pain at the incision site. Yes, your veterinarian will want to prescribe pain medication for its comfort.

How do I protect my Dachshunds back?

Dachshunds love to be active and on the go. Playing is such an essential part of their lives that you are doing a disservice to your Doxie if you don’t give him or her some vigorous exercise every day. If your dog is a backyard dog, take it on at least one walkout in the neighborhood at least once a week. Walks keep it out of danger and burn off energy, too. And if your dog doesn’t have back pain now, he or she will as they age.

  1. Since it is advisable to leave the dog’s back straight to prevent pain, elevated food dishes and water bowls are recommended.
  2. Do not let your Dachshund jump off furniture or climb onto things. Teach it to step up only, not jump down.
  3. Please make sure you supply your Dachshund with regular exercise and take it out for a walk at least once a week.
  4. When lying down to rest, make sure that your Doxie has an area where there is no pressure on any part of his or her spine.
  5. Do not let your pet run or jump up and down stairways, especially when carrying something in its mouth, which could injure the back even more.
  6. Do not let your Dachshund jump into car trunks or onto car seats to ride either in the car or with car doors open into yards or buildings it may visit. An open door can hit a dog’s back and cause serious injury.
  7. If your Dachshund tends to be active at night while you sleep, a crate-trained Dachshund is ideal. They fit in the crate during the day, where they can rest and exercise in the crate at night or when you are traveling. A crate-trained Dachshund will refrain from counter surfing and other bad habits that can lead to degenerative changes in the spine again.
  8. Please don’t let your pet jump up on furniture, especially chairs without arms.
  9. Do not let your Dachshund run up and downstairs.
  10. Ensure your Dachshund does not jump from high places or climb objects, such as the top of a fence or car.
  11. Remember to avoid situations that may cause pain to the stretched muscles and joints, such as poorly placed stair steps, furniture, or uneven floors that cause pressure on joints and muscles.
  12. Carry your Dachshund’s food and water dishes up and downstairs with you for its safety sake when going in and out of the house/apartment or moving to another room if it is keeping watch for potential emergencies where it could be injured.
  13. Do not use anything to carry your dog’s food and water dishes to cause injury.
  14. Avoiding procedures called “microchipping” had caused an increase in the number of dachshunds from shelters undergoing back surgery due to fractures of the vertebrae in the spine that occurred when their owners abandoned them at animal shelters or pet stores. That is also due to larger breed dogs falling on them after they got out of crates and from being aggressive to other dogs by chasing other dogs, digging holes, or digging up yard plants or landscaping and causing injury.
  15. Avoiding wearing a dog’s collar when you are not directly supervising your dog in case there is an emergency where the collar could be pulled and cause injury to the dog’s neck or back.
  16. Avoiding carrying other dogs or small children on your back as no one can adequately supervise another dog or child when carrying your pet. You can provide the proper supervision by using a leash instead of a collar.
  17. Do not use any dog houses with mesh floors because this could injure your Dachshund’s back during play or sleeping if the pet falls into it.
  18. Avoid the use of sweaters and vests. They are made to fit the pet’s body, not the clothes hanger in your closet. It could cause added pressure on the pet’s back, causing injury due to added strain on already strained muscles and joints.
  19. Avoid being underfoot in your home or apartment as this can cause Dachshunds running to or from you to fall, which could result in injury to their back if caught under your feet. Avoid jump-ups on furniture because dogs can fall when jumping up from a lower area onto a chair or furniture.
  20. While you are supervising your Dachshund, make sure it receives the proper amount of exercise to keep it fit and free from injury.

Can IVDD come back to my Dachshund after surgery?

Posterior intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) can come back to a dachshund after surgery. The prevalence of dogs who eventually have a recurrence of back leg pain after surgery is around 40-50%, and it often occurs within six months of the initial surgery.

Why does it come back?

IVDD comes back because the condition of disc disease is not just a herniation but rather a cascade of events that lead to herniation. Thus surgical correction does not always address all these causes. For instance, IVDD has been linked to stress in dogs, notably fear stress; however, surgical procedures do not address stress reduction.

What should I do if it does come back?

If the condition comes back, there are a few things you can try: 

No single study has analyzed the long-term success of surgery in dogs with IVDD. Given the high number and diversity of surgical procedures available for treating degenerative disc disease in animal patients, it is vital to know all possible outcomes in your pet. Dogs who have failed one or more treatments for IVDD may choose to receive additional surgical procedures such as lumbar or disc surgery. Even if these attempts fail to improve the patient’s quality of life, they may still end up with a life free from pain and disease.

Are stairs bad for dachshunds?

Stairs can be hazardous for dachshunds, especially if they are older. The reason is that the Dachshund’s long back and short legs make it hard to climb up or downstairs. On top of that, the Dachshund’s hind limbs are not strong enough to support their body weight when descending stair steps. Because of this, some breeds of dogs may have difficulty climbing stairs.

What to do if you have stairs?

If your dog cannot use your stairs any longer because they are too old or large, you can try a pet ramp as a replacement. However, the pet ramp would need to be sloped inward at one end to prevent the Dachshund from tumbling down. Also, make sure that it is non-slip or non-marring.

There Are Two Primary Treatments for an IVDD-Related Back Injury 

Surgery

One of the most recommended treatment options for IVDD in dogs is surgery. The goal is to replace the damaged disc with artificial material or graft. The disease will return after multiple surgeries, so it is crucial to identify the underlying reason for disc degeneration and address it accordingly.

Medical Treatment

Most dachshunds undergoing IVDD surgery will need their veterinarian’s assistance to monitor them throughout treatment. Medication is often administered that reduces inflammation and pain from the condition. Pregnant dams may also be prescribed a drug that can relieve uterine contractions during delivery, which is more likely if they have been diagnosed with IVDD in utero.

What Are Some Causes of IVDD?

There are two primary causes of IVDD that play a role in developing this disease in Dachshunds: genetics and breed.

Genetics

Dachshunds with a family history of IVDD are more likely to be affected by this disease type. Their genes may be predisposed to IVDD, meaning that they possess specific genes that make them more likely to develop symptoms than other dogs without the gene.

Breeds

Other breeds may also have a predisposition to IVDD, but the Dachshund is one of the most affected breeds in this particular condition. I found some information on the different types of Canine Spinal Disorders, including a picture from my research. It was informative and easy to read.

Considerations for Surgery in Your Dachshund 

  1. The decision to have surgery or not must be taken lightly; there are times when it can be more dangerous than helpful, and perhaps euthanasia may be the kindest option for your beloved pet. 
  2. One of the most common outcomes after spinal surgery for IVDD is a dog with a poor prognosis. Most dogs with IVDD surgery have a complete loss of control of their bladder and bowels, and some owners have reported many deaths due to complications from this condition. 
  3. Any dog over five years of age with multiple surgeries is at an increased risk for developing Senile Arthritis, a degenerative joint disease in the knee or hip known as Luxating Patella Syndrome (LPS). 

The decision to have surgery must not be taken lightly; there are times when it can be more dangerous than helpful, and perhaps euthanasia may be the kindest option for your beloved pet.

What is IVDD means?

IVDD is an abbreviation that means Intervertebral disc disease. An intervertebral disc disease causes a dog’s discs and cartilages between its vertebrae to become damaged. These discs protect the spine and make your dog’s ability to walk and move around less painful.

As a result of this condition, the disc may enlarge and bulge out, causing spinal cord pressured. These tissues between the spinal cord and the vertebrae do not function normally after the discs become enlarged and hardened since these tissues are not as flexible or pliable at that time.

Dachshund Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) 

Similarly to humans, Dachshunds can suffer from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), where the discs in the back between the vertebrae become inflamed. It is painful and can cause paralysis in the back legs, and it can be fatal if not treated. The risk of this disease increases with age but does affect dogs of all ages.

Some common warning signs may include:

A bump or bulge inside of your Dachshund’s back, especially behind the legs

Knee pain when walking or standing.

Difficulty with bowel movements and urinating

Weakness in the rear legs that is more than just soreness from walking/running

Difficulty standing when they are younger or smaller

Difficulty climbing stairs

Difficulty getting up from the floor after sitting through a meal.

Pain or difficulty lifting your Dachshund by the back legs

Back leg tightness when the dog is lying down 

It isn’t easy with normal life activities such as walking on a leash, standing in water, jumping out of a car, etc.

You do not want to rush into any surgical procedure for IVDD without first consulting with a dachshund veterinarian specializing in IVDD and talking about all other options, such as medical treatment or special diets.

Two types of Intervertebral Disc Disease

Herniated discs – Disc that has also torn through the outermost covering (called the annulus fibrosus) of another disc

Ruptured Disc – Disc that has ruptured and pushed out of its regular place within the vertebrae. What stresses the spine and the nerves is that push-out. The pain is so severe that it will stop a dog from walking or moving around usually. 

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