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It’s Back Problems for Mitzi, the Dachshund

METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) - Just like people, some pets are more prone to back problems than others.  At Southeast Veterinary Specialists in Metairie, a four-year-old dachshund named Mitzi is an example of how generations of over breeding can lead to hereditary spine trouble.

Over the years, dachshunds and basset hounds have been bred to have long bodies and short legs—perfect for burrowing into holes to flush out rabbits and foxes.  But their body type also makes them likely to develop disc problems.

Surgery Coordinator Jessica Bedford, says you can think of a disc as looking a little like a jelly donut.   A healthy disc is firm on the outside, and squishy in the middle.

But in dachshunds and basset hounds, the squishy middle part often becomes dehydrated, breaking apart to cause a bulging or ruptured disc that requires surgery.

In Mitzi’s case, Southeast Veterinary Specialists repaired two bulging discs, and a couple of days after the surgery Mitzi is starting to regain movement she had lost in her back legs.   Bedford expects Mitzi to have some physical therapy and be able to go home within one week.

Bedford also says there are some things owners can do to lessen the risk of future injuries.   They should limit their dogs’ jumping, get pet steps their dogs can use if they like to get on and off the furniture, and try to keep their dogs’ weight down in order to lighten the load on their lower backs.

Mitzi would appreciate not having to make another trip to the emergency room.