Research carried out at two CVS referral hospitals has found a significantly higher incidence of thoracolumbar invertebral disc extrusions (IVDE) in Dachshunds compared to Basset Hounds1.

For the research, the medical histories of 188 Basset Hounds and 270 Dachshunds presenting to CVS’ Dovecote Veterinary Hospital and Chestergates Veterinary Specialists, and the University of Ghent were retrospectively assessed.

Information included signalment, whether the dog had received a diagnosis of TL-IVDE, the duration of clinical signs, affected discs and anatomical region and the neurological grading at presentation and discharge.

Basset Hounds and Dachshunds are both chondrodystrophic breeds which are predisposed to IVDE. 

However, the study found 77.4% of Dachshunds had presented with IVDE, compared to only 36.2% of Basset Hounds.

Dachshunds also presented earlier (66.5 months) compared to Basset Hounds (median 87.5 months).

Dachshunds had a lower proportion of midlumbar IVDE and were more frequently non-ambulatory at discharge than Basset Hounds. 

In addition, Dachshunds were more likely to be paraplegic without sensation at presentation than Basset Hounds (16/154 Dachshunds compared to just one Basset).

The Basset Hound is the largest chondrodystrophic breed and the physical characteristics of this larger body conformation may have benefits, with previous studies suggesting the protective effects of being a larger dog2.

One hypothesis is whether breed conformation and anatomy – the relative height/weight ratio - influences the severity and occurrence of IVD and points to a link between the size of the patient and the space in the vertebral canal.

A smaller spinal cord versus vertebral canal ratio in the Basset Hound may indicate a less compressive lesion.  

Sergio Gomes, Head of Neurology and specialist in veterinary neurology at Dovecote Veterinary Hospital, who led the study, said: “This is the first time that IVDE data for Basset Hounds has been directly compared with that for Dachshunds.

“We now need to look closely at the conformation and anatomy of the Basset Hound to see what learnings we can take.

"This could have positive future implications for Dachshund breeding programmes, so that longer term we can try to minimise this painful and common canine condition.”


  1. Thatcher H, Targett M, Alcoverro E, Stee K, Schofield I, Lowrie M, Gomes SA. Incidence and clinical characterisation of thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusions in Basset Hounds compared with Dachshunds. Veterinary Record. 2024 Jan 6;194(1):10.1002/vetr.3212
  2. Packer RMA, Hendricks A, Volk HA, Shihab NK, Burn CC. How long and low can you go? Effect of conformation on the risk of thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusion in domestic dogs. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e69650.

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