Has your Dachshund started to skip when they walk or run? Has it become more noticeable recently? Are you wondering what it is and what you need to do? Here’s everything you need to know about why Dachshunds skip when they walk or run.
Why Does My Dachshund Skip When They Run? The most common cause of a Dachshund skipping when they walk or run is a luxating patella. This is where the kneecap dislocates and slides out of place. Other causes are ruptured ligaments, foot injuries, hip dysplasia, back pain, strained muscles or arthritis.
But before you take your Dachshund out for a walk, there’s more you need to know. Read on to find out more about why a Dachshund may skip when they run and what a luxating patella is.
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This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
What Causes A Dachshund To Skip When They Walk Or Run?
There are a number of things that can cause a Dachshund to skip when they walk or run.
Sometimes there’s an obvious cause, like an injury or something getting stuck in your Dachshund’s foot. While for other Dachshunds it may be because of a medical condition.
Here are some of the possible causes of why Dachshunds skip when they walk or run. However, it’s always best to seek advice from your vet if your Dachshund has any mobility or health issues.
A luxating patella is when your Dachshund has dislocated his kneecap. It can cause him to skip because the kneecap keeps sliding out of place, which is painful for him as he walks or runs.
This is one of the most common health problems in Dachshunds.
Torn or ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
A torn or ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is when the ligament inside your Dachshund’s knee joint tears or ruptures. It’s also known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).
When your Dachshund tries to walk on it or place any weight on it, the pressure causes the shin bone to slide away from the thigh bone.
This is very painful for your Dachshund and makes the joint unstable, which is why he’s skipping while walking.
As well as the pain, discomfort and lameness, ACL/CCL can lead to arthritis which is why it needs to be checked out by a vet.
Hip dysplasia is when the joint hasn’t formed properly, meaning that the ball and socket don’t align.
This causes the joint to jar rather than functioning smoothly.
Back pain or Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
If your Dachshund has hurt his back, he may skip when he walks or runs to try to alleviate the pressure on his lower back.
Sadly, Dachshunds are prone to back problems because their long, low backs are so fragile.
Many Dachshunds suffer from Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). This is when the discs in the spine bulge or burst, causing pain and sometimes paralysis.
If your Dachshund has pulled a muscle in his leg, he may skip because it hurts to stretch it fully or put weight on it.
Injured foot or leg
It could be that your Dachshund is skipping because he’s hurt his foot or leg, so he’s trying to avoid putting his weight on it.
He may even have something stuck in the pad of his paw, like a small stone or twig that needs to be removed.
If your Dachshund is getting older or has older injuries or conditions that have gone untreated, he may be developing arthritis.
This makes it painful to move, which may be why he’s skipping as he runs or walks.
Skipping is not always a sign of a problem. If this is the way your Dachshund has always moved, maybe it’s just something he does naturally.
Some Dachshunds may start moving like this suddenly, for no obvious reason, and then stop a few seconds later.
However, it’s always a good idea to get your Dachshund checked out by your vet if you notice any new mobility issues.
What Is A Luxating Patella In Dachshunds?
A luxating patella is when a Dachshund’s kneecap dislocates. It’s also called a floating kneecap. It can be caused by genetics or injury.
This condition mainly affects small dog breeds, and is one of the most common causes of skipping in Dachshunds.
Normally, as a Dachshund bends and straightens his leg, the kneecap runs smoothly up and down a groove at the bottom of the thigh bone.
With a luxating patella, the kneecap slides out of the groove as the knee bends and straightens, or it doesn’t fit into the groove at all.
This is very painful for your Dachshund and can make it difficult for him to move as the knee joint is so unstable.
This can cause him to skip as he runs or walks, or stop walking altogether.
He may also have difficulty jumping. Although he shouldn’t really be doing this anyway. Dachshunds’ backs are very fragile and the sudden impact of jumping could potentially injure them.
In some cases, if a luxating patella is left untreated, your Dachshund can develop arthritis.
Depending on how bad your Dachshund’s luxating patella is, he may skip just some of the time, or all the time.
If he walks and runs fine but has periods where he’s skipping, this indicates that the kneecap is occasionally dislocating, rather than being permanently outside the groove.
If he always skips when he walks or runs, or you’ve noticed that he can’t straighten his leg properly, these are signs that the kneecap may be permanently dislocated.
You obviously need to take your vet’s advice on this.
What Causes A Luxating Patella In Dachshunds?
Some Dachshunds are born with a genetic defect that causes the luxating patella condition, such as the groove being malformed or the ligament attaching to the wrong part of the shin bone.
If your Dachshund has been born with a defect, you’ll probably notice the signs within the first year.
If it’s severe, your Dachshund will need to have an operation to correct it. However, if it only happens occasionally and isn’t causing your Dachshund discomfort or distress, an operation may not be necessary (that’s for your vet to decide!). You’ll just need to manage the condition as and when it occurs.
A luxating patella can also be caused by injury. If the cartilage or soft tissue that holds the kneecap in place becomes damaged, the kneecap can pop out of place.
For Dachshunds, the most common cause of this injury is jumping or falling – typically off things like your bed or sofa.
What Should I Do If My Dachshund Is Skipping When They Walk Or Run?
This is what you need to do if you notice your Dachshund skipping on his leg when he walks or runs:
Take your Dachshund to the vet
If your Dachshund has always skipped when he walks or runs but you’re worried about it, the best option is to take him to the vet.
They’ll examine your Dachshund’s range of movement and may take X-rays, and hopefully tell you what’s causing the skipping.
Don’t delay if you notice your Dachshund has lost his appetite, if he seems uncomfortable or in pain when he moves, if he doesn’t want to walk or run or if he seems depressed.
Another thing to look out for. If your Dachshund has trouble lifting his paw and stands with his back legs close together (these are both symptoms of hip dysplasia).
And if he’s trying not to put any weight on his leg (this could indicate ACL/CCL).
If the skipping is persistent or your Dachshund has any other painful symptoms, your vet is always the first port of call.
Check your Dachshund’s foot or leg for signs of an injury
You should also check your Dachshund for any injuries, as these are usually the easiest cause to spot. Obviously, this is dependent on how bad his condition is and whether he has any other symptoms. If he’s clearly in pain, go straight to the vet.
Carefully examine your Dachshund’s paws, legs and back for any bruising, cuts, breakages, foreign objects, etc. If you find anything that you’re worried about, take him to the vet.
You may find something obvious like a stone or twig lodged in his paw that you can easily remove. That should resolve the problem but, if not, it’s best to contact your vet.
Give his paws a wash too just to be sure they’re clean.
Think about whether your Dachshund could have injured himself
Not all injuries are easy to spot, especially if your Dachshund has hurt his back. So, it’s a good idea to have a think about whether he could have hurt himself recently.
Has he jumped off of something, or ran up or down the stairs too much? Could he have twisted his leg somehow or fallen of something?
If there was an incident where he could have injured himself, get him checked over by the vet right away.
Reduce your Dachshund’s exercise for a week or two
If you’ve taken your Dachshund to the vet but they can’t find anything seriously wrong, make sure he takes it easy for a week or two. Just give him short walks and keep any playtime calm and gentle.
If you’ve only noticed the skipping a few times, and haven’t seen any other symptoms, he may have just pulled a muscle or scraped his paw pad or something. Giving him some rest should help resolve the issue.
Keep an eye on the skipping and, if it worsens or doesn’t improve, it’s best to go back to the vet to be sure nothing is wrong.
So, there you have it! If Dachshunds skip when they walk or run it’s most commonly because of a luxating patella. However, it could also be hip dysplasia, ruptured ligaments, foot injuries, strained muscles, back pain or arthritis. The best thing to do is check his feet over for any foreign objects and then visit your vet for advice!
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