The Dachshund Breed Council, with support from CVS Group, is launching a UK screening programme for Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Back disease is by far the most common health problem in UK Dachshunds: around one-in-four may be affected at some stage in their lives. Whilst many recover well in time, there is significant risk of permanent damage so severe that it is life-changing or life-threatening.
Research in Scandinavia has shown that there is a good correlation between calcification of the discs and clinical disc herniations when dogs are X-ray screened between the ages of two and four. The breed council has based the screening programme on the Scandinavian protocols and CVS has offered to screen the dogs in a cost-effective manner at a number of its clinics across the UK. The company will also be collaborating on a multi-year research study of the dogs participating in the scheme to monitor its success.
Ian Seath, Chairman of the Breed Council, said: “X-ray screening has been used in Scandinavia for several years and is currently the best available tool to help us reduce the genetic risk of IVDD. All six varieties of Dachshund in the UK are encouraged to participate. The aim of X-ray screening is to reduce the occurrence of herniations by encouraging breeding with dogs that have low numbers of calcifications.”
Specialist neurologist, Dr Mark Lowrie from the CVS-owned Dovecote Veterinary Hospital in Castle Donnington, said: “We feel it is important that breeders, owners and vets work together to try and reduce the prevalence of this condition which can cause catastrophic changes to a dog’s quality of life and much upset for dedicated and caring owners.”
Dachshund owners can find out more about the scheme at a newly developed website www.dachshund-ivdd.uk. The website is also a source of advice and guidance for Dachshund owners who want to learn more about IVDD and the options available if their dog should suffer a back problem.