Achondroplasia is variously referred by orthopedic specialists as achondroplastic dwarfism, chondrodystrophia fetalis, chondrodystrophy syndrome, congenital osteosclerosis, dwarf, and osteosclerosis congenita. These various definitions mean the same abnormal development of bone from cartilage.1 Dachshunds, basset hounds, bulldogs, and German shepherd dogs seem to be prodisposed to this musculoskeletal disease.6

Offspring can look normal at birth and weaning, but at the age of 2.5 to 4 months the longitudinal growth of the spine and leg bones can retard in the dwarfs compared with the normal littermates. Most dwarfs perform well, even in the field.5 Canine achondroplasia can be a mild condition, with slightly bowing or simply short legs, causing no discomfort to the animal. Severe achondroplasia requires extensive orthopedic surgery to both alleviate pain and allow the dog to function normally. This surgery, most frequently an ulna, or radius surgery, is generally performed at one year of age when bone growth is nearly complete. Surgical success is variable.

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  1. Sharon L. Vanderlip D.V.M. The Shih Tzu Handbook, Barron's Educational Series 2005, p. 120
  2. Clair A Francomano, MD, FACMG, Achondroplasia, Jan. 2006,
  3. Brian Funaki, MD, Achondroplasia, CHORUS, September 2006
  4. Achondroplasia, Genetic Home Reference, December 14, 2007
  5. Hanssen I, Falck G, Grammeltvedt AT, Haug E, Isaksen CV. Hypochondroplastic dwarfism in the Irish setter, J Small Anim Pract. 1998 Jan;39(1):10-4.
  6. Achondroplastic dog breeds have no mutations in the transmembrane domain of the FGFR-3 gene.
Smooth dachshund
The dachshund breed is considered to be predisposed to achondroplasia.

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