What is the scheme?
The Kennel Club IVDD Scheme for Dachshunds (all varieties) in partnership with Dachshund Health UK uses X-ray to detect the presence and severity of IVDD in all varieties of Dachshunds. The scheme assesses for spine calcifications and gives guidance to breeders on how to reduce the risk of producing puppies affected by intervertebral disc disease.
What is IVDD?
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition that is caused by a gradual deterioration of the shock absorbing parts of the spine, known as intervertebral discs. These discs are filled with a jelly-like substance and sit between the bones in the spine. Intervertebral discs help hold the spine together, give the back its flexibility and also protect the spine by cushioning any impact. As dogs get older these discs can degenerate and harden (calcify). In Dachshunds this can happen at a much earlier age compared to other breeds. The calcification of these discs means they don’t absorb shock as well and can lead to a slipped disc (disc herniation) and spinal cord compression.
How is IVDD inherited?
A dog’s risk of developing IVDD is controlled by a number of different genes and influenced by several environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g. diet, exercise or factors when in the womb before birth etc.). Each of the genes that help to make a dog’s body may have different possible versions, or variants. Versions of some of a dog's genes increase the risk of IVDD, while others decrease the risk.
Each dog will have a mix of these 'good' and 'bad' versions of genes, making it very difficult to predict whether a dog will be affected. The impact made by one version of a gene might only be slight, but lots of genes having a small influence can have a combined additive effect.
Clinical signs of IVDD and treatment
- Signs of severe pain, such as yelping, moving cautiously or not wanting to move their head or neck
- Incoordination of the limbs and paws
- Frequent accidents in the house
- Not being able to move their limbs
Some dogs affected with IVDD can be treated with medication and rest, while others may require invasive or life-changing surgery and long-term rehabilitation therapy, or sadly in severe cases, this devastating disease can lead to euthanasia.
How common is IVDD?
Some varieties of Dachshund appeared to be more prone to IVDD than others. Results from the survey were:
- Miniature Smooth Haired Dachshunds - 29.9%
- Smooth Haired Dachshunds - 16.8%
- Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds - 16.5%
- Miniature Long Haired Dachshunds - 15.7%
- Long Haired Dachshunds - 9.4%
- Wire Haired Dachshunds - 8.6%
Getting your dog assessed
To have your dog assessed under the scheme you will need to:
- Contact a participating centre and arrange for your dog to be X-rayed as part of The Kennel Club IVDD Scheme for Dachshunds (all varieties) in partnership with Dachshund Health UK
- Before your dog’s X-ray appointment you will need to register for the scheme and pay a £20 registration fee. Once you have registered you will be emailed a further information request form that you will need to complete
- For the X-ray you will need to pay an assessment fee of £300. This can be made through your vet
- Your dog’s X-ray will be submitted by the participating centre to be reviewed by an expert scrutineer and graded appropriately
- The result will be returned to you via an email from The Kennel Club, with details of any findings, including the total number of the calcifications and their location on the spine, if applicable. You can find information on what your grade means and breeding advice below.
Find a participating centre
Essentials of the IVDD scheme
How old does my dog have to be and how often should they be screened?
To be assessed under the scheme, your dog must be between 24 to 48 months of age at the time of the X-ray.
Your dog will only need to be screened once and the result will be valid for their entire lifetime.
What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring your dog’s Kennel Club registration certificate and microchip identification with you to the participating centre. This will need to match the information provided at the time of IVDD scheme registration.
How much does it cost?
The total cost to have your dog assessed under the scheme is £320. This includes the £20 scheme registration and £300 grading fee.
To reward early adopters of the scheme, The Kennel Club and Dachshund Health UK are offering subsidies for a limited period (see next tab below).
Applying for The Kennel Club subsidy
To reward early adopters The Kennel Club is offering a £100 subsidy for all dogs that participate in the IVDD scheme for Dachshunds during 2021 and 2022.Apply for a subsidy by completing an IVDD subsidy request form.
Owners are required to pay the full screening cost at the participating centre before applying for the subsidy. To receive The Kennel Club subsidy, you will need to complete the subsidy request form once your dog's radiograph has been submitted for grading by the participating centre. We will then be in contact with you regarding your application.
Other subsidies may also be available to owners from Dachshund Health UK.
If my dog was assessed before 2021 can the result be published?
Yes - to reward those who initially participated in the IVDD scheme subsidised by Dachshund Health UK, we will be accepting X-rays for submission if scored by Dr Anu Lappalainen between 2016–2020. If owners submit all relevant files and information to The Kennel Club, the grade can be verified and recorded on the dog’s record.
For more information please contact
What does my dog’s grade mean?
Your dog will receive a grade ranging from 0 to 3, depending on the number of calcifications present in the spine. The higher the grade the higher the number of calcifications found and the more at risk a dog is for developing clinical signs and passing the disease on to any offspring.
- Grade 0: your dog has no calcifications
- Grade 1: one to two calcifications have been observed
- Grade 2: three to four calcifications have been observed
- Grade 3: five or more calcifications have been observed
The way that IVDD is inherited is not fully understood and is not always entirely predictable but has been shown to be partly influenced by genetics. Using the guidelines below can help you reduce the chances of breeding puppies affected by IVDD. However, even if used responsibly, this guidance cannot guarantee that a puppy from grade 0 parents will be free of IVDD. Breeding appropriately from screened dogs will reduce the risk of producing affected puppies. Please use the following table to note the outcome of mating a male and female with a known IVDD calcification grade.
Amber: A higher risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by IVDD.
Red: A mating that has a high risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by IVDD. These matings are not recommended. IVDD can have a serious impact on a dog’s health and welfare, so a mating which has a high risk of producing affected puppies should never knowingly be carried out.
Making balanced breeding decisions
As well as considering the implications of a dog’s IVDD grade, there are other equally important factors to consider when deciding whether two dogs should be mated together, such as temperament, genetic diversity (avoiding inbreeding), conformation, other available health test results, the general health of the dogs etc. Your breeding decisions should always be well-balanced and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.
|Centre:||Carmarthen Veterinary Centre and Hospital|
|Location:||Llysonnen Road, Llanllwch, Carmarthen, SA31 3SA|
|Centre:||None yet available|
|Centre:||Chester Gates Veterinary Specialists|
|Location:||Units E&F, Telford Court, Gates Lane, Chester gates, Chester, CH1 6LT|
|Centre:||Dovecote Veterinary Hospital|
|Location:||5 Delven Lane, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2LJ|
East of England
|Centre:||University of Cambridge Veterinary School|
|Location:||Queen's Veterinary School, Madingley Road, Cambridge,CB3 0ES|
|Centre:||Grove Veterinary Hospital|
|Location:||Grove House, Holt Road, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 8JG|
London & South East
|Centre:||Rosmullion Veterinary Hospital|
|Location:||66 Melvill Road, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4DD|
Could you help us with research?
If you are interested in having your dog assessed under The Kennel Club IVDD scheme for Dachshunds (all varieties), the University of Cambridge would also like to invite you to participate in a research project, which would require you to allow a CT scan (A computerised tomography scan) to be performed on your dog’s spine.
They are hoping to be able to collect CT scan images of as many Dachshunds undergoing X-rays for the scheme as possible. They plan to analyse the CT scans (these will not be used for scoring/grading purposes), in order to assess the increased sensitivity of CT scans for identifying calcified discs. They would also like to follow your dog over its lifetime in order to see if there is a connection between what they see on CT scans and what happens to your dog in terms of IVDD. This way we will be able to build up a better picture of what early disc calcification means for the chances of future IVDD and ultimately may be able to formulate better lifestyle and breeding guidelines to further reduce the incidence of this disease.
- To participate in this research project, you will need to visit the University of Cambridge Veterinary School
- The CT scans will be at no additional cost to you as the cost is being subsidised by the veterinary practices involved and The Kennel Club Charitable Trust
- CT scan images will all be sent to the research team in Cambridge for counting of visibly calcified discs, and the results will be logged on a spreadsheet alongside your dog’s identification, age, sex, body weight and body condition score; only the researchers at Cambridge will have access to this specific information
For more information about participating in this vital research project please contactHealth (The Kennel Club)