Short Dogs

Short-legged dog breeds 101

Short-legged dog breeds 101

Short-legged dog breeds, such as dachshunds, corgis and basset hounds make for popular pets due to their distinct appearance. There are whole internet photo collections dedicated to hilariously chunky corgi rumps – just Google “corgi butts” if your interest is piqued! These dogs are also enjoyed for their loyal, loving and often sassy personalities.

Short-legged breeds get their distinctive appearance due to a cartilage development abnormality called chondrodysplasia. Whilst beloved by their owners, these body shape differences can unfortunately predispose to certain health conditions.

What common health conditions can chondrodysplastic breeds suffer from?

Limb deformities – Because of their cartilage development abnormalities, these breeds may develop bent legs. This can place abnormal forces on their joints, making them more likely to hurt themselves with activities such as jumping and be at risk of painful arthritis later in life. Severely bent limbs can also cause long-term issues with walking or running.

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) – This is when the spongey, cushioning discs that sit between the vertebral bones of the spinal column become weakened and abnormal, causing disc material to bulge out and compress the spinal cord. This can cause sudden or gradual onset of back or neck pain, limb weakness, and there’s the potential for permanent paralysis and incontinence.
What can I do to help my short-legged dog?

The best way to help your pet is to keep them in slim body condition to reduce the load on their back and limbs. It is sometimes recommended preventing them from jumping up and down off furniture with the use of pet ramps, especially if they have had any prior issues.

If your short-legged dog ever limps or shows any signs of walking difficulties, it is best to get them in to see us urgently, as successful treatment can be time-dependent.

Have a chat with our team today if you have any questions or concerns about your pet.

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