Skin Disorders

Dachshunds tend to have skin problems. Causes for these problems range from mites and a dysfunctional immune system to allergies and inherited diseases. What these conditions all have in common is that they will make your dachsie very uncomfortable, so seeking veterinary treatment is a must.

Follicular Mange

Demodex canis is a mite that is present in small numbers in the skin of healthy dogs. In some dachshunds, however, something goes awry, and the number of mites explodes as they begin multiplying in the hair follicles on the dog's face, legs, and body. The mites cause patches of hair loss. In serious cases, the infected areas become scaly, red, and inflamed. Veterinary treatment may include bathing with a medicated shampoo and/or oral prescription medications.

Generalized mange is a serious condition that is thought to be inherited. Affected dachsies should not be bred, nor should their parents continue to be bred.

Acanthosis Nigricans

This is an inherited condition for dachshunds that involves a darkening and thickening of the skin. This condition is most commonly seen in puppies. The affected areas develop seborrhea (crusting or scaling) and can become infected. The disease cannot be cured; however, it is manageable with an antiseborrheic shampoo, as well as steroids and melatonin injections in severe cases.

Allergic Dermatitis

When a dog is suffering from an allergy, the reaction often appears in the condition of the dog's skin, which becomes itchy and red. The dachsie with allergic dermatitis tends to scratch, lick, or chew on certain areas of her body, creating sores that in turn can become infected. Treatment is prescribed after the cause of the allergy is determined and may include a strict diet, antihistamines, antibiotics, antifungals, cortisone, allergy shots, nutritional supplements, or bathing with special shampoos.

If a dog is showing signs of allergic dermatitis, often the first thing an owner will do is change the dog's food. This is usually not necessary since food allergies are quite rare and account for only 10 percent of all allergic dermatitis cases.

Hair Loss

The dachshund has the dubious honor of being the breed in which the hair loss condition known as alopecia, or pattern baldness, is most common. The hair begins to thin in puppies as young as six months and continues until the adult dog has a bald spot. There is no cure or treatment for pattern baldness, but the condition doesn't seem to cause the dachshund any pain.

There is another type of baldness known as color dilution alopecia, or blue dog disease. Unless your dachsie has a blue (dark or light gray) coat, you won't have to worry about this inherited disease that seems to be linked to coat color. The puppy suffering from blue dog disease starts out with a normal coat, but by the time she's two or three years old, you will notice pimple-like bumps in the hair follicles (folliculitis) and patches of hair loss. Treatments include periodic courses of antibiotics, which help to control the disease but do not cure it.

Histiocytomas

This benign tumor is most often found in young dachshunds, one of four breeds predisposed to histiocytomas. A histiocytoma is a small domed or flat tumor, sometimes pink in color, that usually appears on a puppy's or adolescent's (less than two years old) head, ears, or legs. The lumps usually disappear over time. Although histiocytomas are harmless, don't assume all tumors are histiocytomas. If your dachsie has a tumor, have your veterinarian examine it immediately.

Hot Spots

Dogs will often lick, scratch, and bite at painful areas on their bodies, creating large open sores in a matter of hours. Causes for the original pain can include flea bites, allergic dermatitis, shampoo that wasn't thoroughly rinsed from the dog's coat and is an irritant, a dirty, matted coat, or an aching joint — to name just a few.

If hot spots develop, take your dog to your veterinarian. He will first try to determine the cause of your dog's lesions and will then treat the sores according to the underlying cause.

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