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What's It Like to Have a Short-Legged Pet?

Do 'shorties' require more visits to the veterinarian? Can they get around by themselves? Know the special needs of short-legged pets and the extra steps you can take to help them live a happy, healthy and comfortable life.

short legged dogs


  • Short-legged dogs are adorable, but unfortunately, their short legs are a result of chondrodystrophy (CDDY); not long ago, researchers identified a genetic mutation in several dog breeds that results in the condition
  • CDDY results in not only abnormally short legs in certain breeds, but can also cause premature degeneration of intervertebral discs, resulting in Hansen Type I intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Currently, there are over 40 dog breeds in which the CDDY gene mutation has been identified
  • A primary symptom of IVDD is reluctance to move the neck and head, a lowered head, and/or moving only the eyes to look at objects; there are many other symptoms as well
  • Treatment of IVDD can involve medical management and/or surgical intervention; regular physical therapy is a critical component in treating the disease and reducing the risk of recurrence

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