Because of their build, dachshunds are prone to disc fractures and other problems, which can lead to paralysis of the hind legs. According to Pet MD, the combination of a long back and a low-set carriage makes dachshunds vulnerable to intervertebral disc disease, in which damaged discs press on the spinal cord – essentially slipped discs. Other causes of paralysis include infections and injury. Paralysis may not be permanent, as surgical treatments, therapies and medications exist. Whether or not your pet recovers, you will certainly have to provide an increased level of care for a while, particularly with regards to hygiene and sore prevention. Although caring for a paralyzed pet is challenging, it is quite possible for your dachshund to have a happy, comfortable life.
Arrange a veterinary appointment as soon as possible if your pet shows signs of weakness or paralysis, if you haven’t already. Paralysis is a serious problem and requires professional attention. Follow your vet’s advice closely, especially with regards to urination. Paralysis can lead to incontinence, the continuous passing of urine or an inability to pass urine without assistance, and the care required differs greatly.
Stock up on the necessary supplies. Depending on the severity of the paralysis and its symptoms, you may need a dog cart for small breeds, dog diapers and a supportive harness. If your veterinary clinic or local pet stores don’t stock everything you need, you can order online through specialist suppliers. You should also obtain wipes, a very mild dog shampoo and a baby bath or similar large bowl.
Prepare a bed with plenty of soft bedding, such as towels and cushions. Your vet might advise an enclosed space to prevent your dog from injuring himself through dragging when you are not around.
Examine your dog daily for signs of sores developing, especially where the paralyzed body parts touch the ground, which can arise either through dragging or through enforced immobility. Look for redness, inflammation, broken skin and patches of fur loss. If you find a sore, use bandages and an appropriate ointment as per your vet's instructions.
Wipe away any urine clinging to your pet immediately. Urine can cause burns if left on the skin. If burns have already developed, be careful because they are painful. As with other care, advice from your vet is essential. Follow your vet’s instructions on the correct urination procedure, while will depend on how the paralysis has affected your dog. He might need diapers or help emptying his bladder. Manually expressing the bladder involves applying pressure, but you must ask your vet to show you the procedure first, otherwise there is a risk of causing further injury.
Bathe the dog about once a week in lukewarm water, according to your vet’s advice. Paralyzed dogs find it difficult to keep themselves clean. Use a very mild shampoo, rinse thoroughly and be alert for the signs of dry skin developing -- i.e, flaking and irritation.
Perform physical therapy daily as per your vet’s instructions. This might be as simple as flexing and massaging the paralyzed legs.
Use a support harness for walking your dog. Although dachshunds are small, it can be awkward both supporting him with one or more harnesses and holding his leash; you may wish to ask a friend or family member to help.
Use a dog harness, not a collar, with a leash for walking a dachshund. This is advisable for any dog, because it reduces strain to the neck and spine, but is especially important for breeds prone to back and neck problems.
Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Items You Will Need
- Dog cart for small breeds
- Dog diapers
- Supportive harness
- Mild dog shampoo
- Baby wipes
- Baby bath
- Antiseptic ointment
- Paper towels
- dachshund image by TOMASph from Fotolia.com