Posted tagged ‘Health and Welfare’

2 new members join our Health Committee Pet Adviser team

February 4, 2017

In 2011, three people, Helga Klausgraber, Emma Newman and Gill Key were invited to join the DBC Health and Welfare sub-committee as Pet Advisers, with a remit that included helping to raise awareness of health and welfare within the pet community by supporting responsible buying and ownership, directing owners to the invaluable resources on the DBC website via social media, the internet and social events. The team also provide input from the pet owner perspective within the sub committee.

Since then, the breed has grown in popularity hugely, in no small part due to the high profile of dachshunds on TV and adverts, and at the same time, the Facebook community has expanded enormously. We now actively participate in the majority of the UK Facebook pet groups along with a number of U.S./multinational groups. Amongst the biggest UK groups are:

· Dachshunds Needing Homes (UK): 8402

· Miniature Dachshund UK : (6342)

· Dachshunds in the United Kingdom (5164)

· Dachshunds Anonymous (UK): ( 5038)

· Simply Sausage Dogs (3830)

· Happy Dachshunds (3445)

· Sausage Dog Walks South Wales UK (3346)

· Dachshunds UK (3285)

There are at least 20 groups with more than 400 members, including regional (e.g. Yorkshire Dachshund Group), variety or colour specific (e.g. Brindle Dachshunds) or with a specific purpose (e.g. Dachshunds for Sale UK – help and advice).

Helga has now emigrated to Australia, where she is doing sterling work on IVDD, and Emma has been increasingly busy with work commitments, meaning that the bulk of the work has been shouldered by Gill Key. For some time, we have been looking for two additional Pet Advisers to support the work, and we are now delighted to announce that two new members have accepted an invitation to join the subcommittee: Charlotte Baldwin and Aimée Thomas. Welcome Charlotte and Aimée, and thank you Helga and Emma for your invaluable contributions.

Charlotte Baldwin:

Although fairly new to the dachshund world, Charlotte has been invited to join due to her incredible organisational and fundraising skills, high social media profile and ongoing commitment to health.

Charlotte and her husband own two mini smooths, Barney and Rosie. A couple of of years ago, keen to socialise them with other dogs, they joined a local dog walking group. It soon became apparent that the excitement and mayhem of running with the big pack of dogs of massively varying sizes may have been putting them in danger.

After a few near misses, in late 2015 they set up a brand-new Facebook group: Sausage dog Walks South Wales UK and invited likeminded dachshund owners along for sociable, safe walks on some of the beautiful beaches in the area. However, it rapidly became so much more, taking all by surprise. Within weeks of announcing a Christmas walk at Porthcawl, over 500 dachshunds descended on Porthcawl for what may be the biggest dachshund walk ever in the UK. Since then the group has continued to grow and now has nearly 3500 members, and even attracted national and international press interest!

Sadly, it soon became apparent that many of the dachshunds were unable to join the walks as they were suffering with IVDD. In September 2016, Charlotte launched Dedicated to Dachshunds, with the aim of providing equipment (temporarily or permanently) and additional therapies for the dachshunds in need, whilst also raising IVDD awareness and the importance of getting an early diagnosis. Charlotte organised fundraising events alongside the walk, mobilising exceptional support from her group and beyond, with people donating their time, goods and donations to the cause.

In just 5 months over £7000 has been raised and D2D now qualifies for charity status. Some money has been passed to Dachshund Rescue and the rest is used to buy and loan out crates, strollers and other equipment as well as supporting complimentary treatment such as hydrotherapy to help wasted muscles and nerve regeneration.

Charlotte is passionate about health and welfare and is very keen to help with ongoing research initiatives and raising awareness of responsible buying and ownership. She is often referred to as the Dachshund Godmother by her Facebook group and hopes to continue to sprinkle this magic and hope across the UK and further, with the generous support and donations from the dachshund pet community.

Charlotte works for the Welsh Blood Service, collecting blood from donors across Wales and all her hobbies all revolve around dachshunds. She wouldn’t want it any other way.

Aimée Thomas

Since meeting a primary school teacher’s black and tan miniature long haired dachshund when she was 7, Aimee has been in love with dachshunds and set herself the goal of one day owning at least one of her own. She now has two miniature long haired dachshunds, a red called Poppy and a shaded cream puppy named Pumpkin, who joined the family at the start of 2017. She also has a 12 year old Black Labrador and a 5 year old Jack Russell terrier. Growing up, she always had the company of animals and her family owned dogs of various breeds including a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Flat Coated Retriever and Labrador, but none of these breeds never had as big of an effect on her than her dachshunds.

Aimee studied Animal Management and Welfare at Harper Adams University, including units on health, welfare, biology and physiology in the curriculum. Before that she had spent a year helping out on weekends at veterinary practices while at school. Since becoming a dachshund owner, she is now pursuing a career in canine behaviour, with the aim of setting up her own business.

For the last year, she has also one of the two main administrators on the Facebook group ‘Miniature Dachshund UK’, which is now the biggest dachshund group in the UK with over 7000 members, and growing by the day. She regularly responds to requests for information about dachshund health and welfare from other pet owners and has been complimented by members of the Dachshund Breed Council Health and Welfare Sub Committee for her sensible and articulate posts.

Aged 23, she is aware that her experience isn’t as extensive as the other members of the sub-committee, but has already found the information provided by the Dachshund Breed Council invaluable and every day she is learning more and more about this unique breed.

She is incredibly excited to now be part of the team.


Dachshund Breed Council Annual Health Report for 2016

January 8, 2017

health_report_2016The Breed Council’s Health Committee has published its 2016 Report.

Chairman, Roger Sainsubury’s summary:

During 2016 there were a number of interesting and exciting initiatives and a new IVDD project.


This remains the most important issue for us, Dachshund back problems being far too common. Currently, there are a number of research projects looking at the genetic basis for this condition, new screening techniques and also lifestyle factors that may be involved in precipitating back conditions.

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) are sequencing the complete genomes of a number of breeds in their Give a Dog a Genome project, and comparison of these with the Dachshund genome may provide leads in discovering the genetic basis of IVDD in the future.

Our IVDD Screening Project started in November and this involves taking X-rays of the spines of Dachshunds between two and four years old and scoring these for disc calcification. Information is also gathered on the dimensions of the dog, together with photos, and its lifestyle. The back scores and other data will be analysed and should eventually enable us to advise on reducing the risk to individual dogs and helping with breeding to improve the situation. This is, of course, a long-term project and the dogs in the study will be reviewed annually.

Analysis of the DachsLife 2015 data by the Royal Veterinary College has indicated that all the breeds, except the Wire Haired Dachshunds, have body length to height at withers ratios that are significantly higher than they should be – they are too long.  There is a known association between the length of the Dachshund’s back and IVDD so this analysis confirms the importance of breeding to try to reduce the length of Dachshunds’ backs.

Lafora Disease

A reasonable estimate indicates that around 20% of Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds carry the Lafora mutation at present, so testing is still very important. So far, testing for the Lafora gene, which is not easy and is expensive, has been carried out using blood samples that are sent to Toronto Children’s Hospital in Canada. The AHT has been working on a new genetic test for this disease. This uses cheek swab samples which will make testing much easier to carry out, and this work is progressing well. The AHT are now at the validation stage and it is hoped that there are no hitches as this has proved to be a difficult mutation to deal with. Fingers crossed.


Cord 1 testing continues to show a reduction of the mutation in all three miniature breeds. It is important, though, that owners continue to test their Dachshunds as a proportion of all the miniature breeds still have the faulty gene. It is much lower in Mini Wires, though, but is still present.


This is, in fact, the commonest hereditary eye problem in Dachshunds, especially Mini Longs, and a high proportion are affected. There is no DNA test but a clinical eye examination of dogs that are to be used for breeding will identify any with this condition and this should be carried out as well as doing the DNA testing for PRA.


Mini Long Haired Dachshunds have a significantly higher incidence of epilepsy then the other breeds and an online reporting registry was set up this year to gather information. Half the small number of cases reported on this so far involved Mini Longs. More information is, however, needed before any useful analysis can be carried out. The form to report a case can be found on the Dachshund Health UK website.


Informing Dachshund owners and the public about health and welfare is an important part of the Sub-committee’s work and the Breed Council Dachshund Health UK website and Facebook are becoming more and more important in providing this information. Our Pet Advisors monitor Dachshund issues on the internet – blogs, groups advertising etc. – and they provide advice and help where they can.

Genetic diversity

A case in 2016 highlighted the problem of getting the right balance between introducing genes from one Dachshund gene pool to others to increase their genetic diversity and the risk of transferring genetic disease into these breeds.  This concerned recessive coat genes and Dachshunds puppies changing from one coat type to another, but also the risk of transferring genetic diseases like Lafora into the other Dachshund breeds.

This is an ongoing story and the details, together with much else, will be found in this Health and Welfare Sub-committee Report, which I hope you will find interesting and helpful.

Roger Sainsbury BVM&S, MRCVS


The 2017 #SausageArmy Calendar is now on sale – please help support our Health Fund

November 12, 2016

sausage_army_calendar-3The 2017 #SausageArmy Calendar has just gone on sale. Last year, 100 were sold and this year’s target is 180. All profits go to the Dachshund Breed Council Health Fund. Thanks, once again to Kate and Fonz who you can follow on Twitter @Fonz_

Order yours by sending payment via PayPal to

£10 UK, £15 Europe (GBP), $19.50 Rest of the World (USD)

Please select “Friends/Family” to ensure more funds go to the Health Fund and list the quantity required and your full postal address in the “Comments”.


New KC Breed Watch Guide – advice for Dachshund exhibitors and judges

November 10, 2016

The Kennel Club has published a fantastic new resource for judges and exhibitors to explain the requirements of Breed Watch.

The new guide is available to access from the KC website as a pdf, here.

Breed Watch offers opportunities for judges to develop their understanding and raises awareness of health and welfare, ensuring it remains a key priority when judging and exhibiting dogs at shows. The new resource features guidance for judges on individual breeds, the regulations that apply to judges when judging breeds within the Breed Watch categories and further information on how the Kennel Club uses information received from judges to work with breeds to make health and welfare improvements.

If you would like to request a hard copy of the booklet, click here.

For Dachshund exhibitors and judges, the three Miniature varieties are listed in Breed Watch Category 2 where the point of concern is body weight/condition. This relates, primarily, to dogs that may appear to be thin. The Breed Council’s guidance on Dachshund body weight and condition is here.

For those Dachshund owners interested in showing their dog, the Breed Standard defines the Miniature and Standard varieties on the basis of their weight:
Standards: 9-12 kg (20-26 lbs), Miniatures: Ideal weight 4.5 kg (10 lbs), desired maximum weight 5 kg (11 lbs);  The Breed Standard also says: Exhibits which appear thin and undernourished should be severely penalised.  
Remember, the Breed Standard describes the ideal sizes of Standard and Miniature Dachshunds; these ARE NOT “target weights” for individual dogs.  Every Dachshund will be different and will need to be fed to keep his ideal weight for his frame.
Judges have a responsibility to ensure that there are no welfare issues, particularly of Miniature Dachshunds, related to the weight clause in the Breed Standard.  You can download the Breed Council’s Dach-Facts information sheet here.  A dog is too thin if, when running your fingertips over its body without applying any pressure, you can:
  1. Easily feel the ribcage and
  2. Easily feel the spine and
  3. Easily feel the shoulder-blades and hip-bones
If your Dachshund is one of life’s “thin dogs” no matter how much you feed him or her, you would be well advised not to show him/her, however good you feel he/she is in other respects.
Sometimes, young male dogs can go through a phase of not eating well and appearing underweight; such dogs would be best left at home until they body-up, rather than being shown looking thin.  It is equally unacceptable to show a dog that is overweight and who looks like it needs more exercise and/or less food.
Dachshunds should be shown in fit, well-muscled condition so that it is clear they could do the work for which they were originally bred.

UK launch of Dachshund back disease screening programme

November 1, 2016

logoThe Dachshund Breed Council, with support from CVS Group, are launching a UK Screening Programme for Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Back disease is by far the most common health problem in UK Dachshunds: around 1 in 4 may be affected at some stage in their lives. Whilst many recover well in time, there is significant risk of permanent damage so severe it is life-changing or 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 2 and 4. The Breed Council have based the screening programme on the Scandinavian protocols and CVS have offered to screen the dogs in a cost-effective manner at a number of their clinics across the UK. They 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 6 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, of CVS at 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 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.

About CVS Group:

CVS is the largest veterinary group in the UK encompassing four main business areas; veterinary practices, diagnostic laboratories, pet crematoria and an e-commerce division. The group comprises over 360 practices, more than 1000 vets and in excess of 2000 nurses. For more information, please contact Barry Brackner, Marketing Director,, 0115 9629 780

About the Dachshund Breed Council:

The Dachshund Breed Council was set up in 2009 to be a united voice for the Dachshund Breed in the UK. It is a Kennel Club registered organisation and its members are the 16 Dachshund Breed Clubs. It promotes the health and welfare of the breed, through research and education. For more information, please contact Ian Seath, Chairman,, 07850 728506

Dachshund Respite Care – a new service in Scotland

March 22, 2016

Respite Care logo

Dachshund Respite Care offers a bespoke service to owners of Dachshunds with elderly, sick and Dachshunds recovering from surgery.

Whether you require care for a day, overnight, weekend or longer, Elaine Brechin provides everything in her home to look after your Dachshund, from those that require a little TLC to those that require more nursing care.

Having retired from the Ambulance Service after 38 years, Elaine has the necessary skills to look after any medical needs, administer medication, injections, dressings, bladder expression and other medical procedures as required. A Vet that operates 24 hours a day is less than 5 minutes away to call upon, in case of emergencies.


It can be very difficult to care for elderly and sick Dachshunds and Elaine offers owners time to recharge their batteries and get a much needed break. For those dogs recovering from operations, in particular Dachshunds having undergone spinal surgery, it can be a difficult time for owners and they can easily feel unable to cope with the initial care required and/or take time off of work.

Working closely with Fusion Vet Physio, which opens in April and has a hydrotherapy pool, offers Physiotherapy and rehabilitation, these services will also be available, with the consent of the owner’s Vet.

  • Round the clock care, or boarding for a few days
  • Care for elderly, sick and post-operative Dachshunds
  • Daily massages, grooming and nail care
  • Pick-up service from vets and veterinary hospitals in Scotland
  • Liaise with your vet to ensure continuation of any treatment

Visit Dachshund Respite Care’s Facebook page.

Contact Elaine by e-mail.

KC Charitable Trust Science Report for 2016

March 20, 2016

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust recently published its annual report for 2016 and the Science feature this year was Lafora Disease in Mini Wire Dachshunds.

KCCT Report Lafora 2016