As many of us know Intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) is common in the dachshund, with lifetime risk reported to be around 15–20%. This condition is frequently associated with pain, disability, and reduced quality of life. Many dachshund owners do their absolute best to design their dachshunds lives in a way that will reduce the stress on their backs and help prevent IVDH and IVDD.
In 2018 a study set out to investigate whether the risk of IVDH in dachshunds was associated with the age in which a dachshund was desexed. Their findings are worth noting and have changed our advice and practice with our own dogs and puppies.
Put simply they found that Females spayed at any age had a significantly increased risk of IVDH than did unspayed females and that those females that were desexed before 12 months old were around twice as likely to develop IVDH as were the unspayed females.
Males neutered before 12 months old had a significantly higher incidence of IVDH than unneutered males, but there was no significant increase in risk between unneutered and late-neutered males, (those desexed after 12 months of age).
So what we recommend to our buyers is that they wait a full year before de-sexing their new family member. It's inconvenient dealing with heats and teenage hormones, true, but we believe the lifelong potential benefits outweigh the inconvenience.
Check out the full study here:
Neuter status as a risk factor for canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH)
in dachshunds: a retrospective cohort study
Citation: Dorn, M., Seath, I.J. Neuter status as a risk factor for canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) in dachshunds: a retrospective cohort study.Canine Genet Epidemiol 5,11 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40575-018-0067-7