Canine expert Anna Webb is a regular writer for Photizo and CAM4animals. Here she highlights the problems that Mini Dachshunds are prone to and how Photizo red light therapy can help as part of an integrative approach to their veterinary care. President and founder of the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT), Sherry Scott, elaborates on this approach. IAAT member and manual therapist Alix Tidmarsh and Cosmo star in the case study.

This article first appeared in Edition Dog and can also be found on the Photizo website – thanks to both for permission to use here.

A rise in popularity

As part of the huge wave of new dog ownership with the pandemic puppy boom, Mini Dachshunds have become increasingly popular thanks to celebrity ownership and appearances in advertising campaigns.

Cosmo on the one and only sunny day in august 21!
Cosmo on the one and only sunny day in August 2021!

But a rise in spinal problems too ~ IVDD

However, The Kennel Club recently spoke out about why one in four Mini Dachsies is suffering from over-exaggerated features: their legs are too short for their bodies.

Making them appear more ‘sausage’ in shape is one of the stressors that puts pressure on Dachsies’ spines through exaggerated conformation.  This combined with congenital Intervertebral disc calcification can cause Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).

In action!

Responsible breeding and testing for Intervertebral disc calcification, often a cause of IVDD, is mandatory in the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme, helping eliminate this hereditary condition.

With unscrupulous breeders optimising the pandemic puppy boom and the soaring popularity of Mini Dachsies, many have been bred without health tests, maximising profits by optimising their cute ‘sausage’ looks.

Combining integrative therapies

The rise of IVDD cases has been noticed by the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT).

President of IAAT, Sherry Scott MBE, who was one of the first pioneers of animal physiotherapy in the early 1970’s, set up IAAT in 1990. She commented:

I’ve noticed many of our members treating Mini Dachsies with owners increasingly investigating non-invasive treatments and reaching out for rehabilitation, rather than rushing for surgery. Combining integrative therapies like massage, osteopathy, and physiotherapy is what IAAT is all about. We encourage practitioners to share an integrated approach to wellness, with up-to-date science incorporating the latest technologies including, Low Level Laser – LED red light (Photizo Vetcare), Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field Therapy, Radio Wave treatments and Ultrasound.”

Using red light therapy ~ Photizo

IAAT’s members were amongst the first to learn about Photizo Vetcare when it launched in 2013. As a handy non-invasive tool, it offers pre-programmed, evidence-based doses of LED sourced red pulsed light. Recommended to members for use in their practice, it complements all physical therapies.

Vetcare helps reduce pain and inflammation, promote lymph flow and natural healing by stimulating ATP or cellular energy. It works to help repair musculoskeletal conditions, heal wounds and atopic skin conditions. Amongst its many biological effects, Vetcare encourages endorphin release, helping relax patients and aid their rehabilitation.

Sherry Scott continues:

“I believe the rise in cases is down to poor breeding and the rise of puppy farmed dogs, and the internet, allowing sales of puppies with just a few clicks. Mini Dachsies are perfect for town or country provided strict lifestyle issues like jumping up, sliding on wood floors, and running up and down stairs is minimised. It’s also important to keep them slim, putting less pressure on their joints.”

Cosmo’s story

When IAAT member and Manual Therapist, Alix Tidmarsh’s Mini Dachsie Cosmo was injured as a puppy falling down a rabbit hole playing football in 2013, the traumatic incident began her journey to change career as a BBC Producer and re-train as a Veterinary Physiotherapist specialising in visceral massage for dogs and horses.

Alix explains:

“Cosmo, my Mini Dachsie puppy, damaged her tibial growth plate.  She developed a strange, twisted limping walk and I was convinced it would do her no good in the future as I knew dachsies had a propensity to back problems. 

In conjunction with a Fitzpatrick operation to straighten Cosmo’s tibia in 2013, I began to study to become a veterinary physiotherapist with The College of Animal Physiotherapy, ending up changing direction halfway through towards using more energetic healing techniques such as myofascial release, cranio-sacral, acupressure and abdominal cavity techniques to help my clients”.

Having trained over nine years with highly specialised chiropractors, physios and rehab vets, Alix mainly uses these manual techniques in combination with a professional device offering red and blue light and pulsed magnetic modalities.

Cosmo enjoying a herbal session with Alix’s horse – covered in Barley Grass!

Alix commented:

“Over the years, I’ve seen very effective results using LED sourced red light, despite various vets telling me there was no conclusive evidence! My views are backed by an ever-growing body of actual anecdotal success stories as evidenced by colleagues in the physiotherapy community globally, and that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface as to its potential.”

Another problem for Cosmo ~ surgery or rehab?

One morning, out of the blue, to Alix’s horror during 2020 lockdown, Cosmo could not walk properly:  like a drunk with very slow reactions, clearly in pain.  Although Fitzpatrick’s recommended operating immediately, after extensive discussion, it was decided to try and manage the situation conservatively, aiming for gradual daily improvement to avoid the operation and extra stress for poor Cosmo.

Cosmo’s rehabilitation journey was a challenge, Alix remembers:

“Strict cage rest and pain killers then followed for a month. Very challenging!  I began daily proprio-receptive techniques immediately 3 times a day; and inert brainteaser games and then from two weeks I decided to integrate my red-light machine four times a week, 10 minutes a session.

With steady improvement and a very carefully orchestrated exercise regime using static exercises, wobble cushions, etc, Cosmo slowly recovered and nine months later was back playing football.  Some weeks plateaued, others progressed – time and patience is needed for IVDD!”

An integrated approach shows how conservative management is possible

Cosmo’s journey has been very carefully orchestrated, working closely with Fitzpatrick’s, and Alix’s integrated rehab vet,  Veerle Dejonkheere.  Using her prescribed anti-inflammatory herb recommendations, combined with a grass-fed organic keto diet, has helped keep Cosmo’s weight down.  To date, the IVDD has been successfully managed.

She enthused:

“I’m not saying it won’t return but to prove it is possible to manage conservatively in some cases. I definitely think the red-light therapy had a big part to play in her recovery and I continue to use my red-light machine a couple of times a month to keep her soft and moving well. I have been so impressed with my red-light therapy machine in recent months that I bought a Photizo to leave with my clients as it is super easy and quick to use.  I recently decided to submit Cosmo as a case study to IAAT. I was bowled over and so honoured when I heard I had actually won!  I am absolutely delighted to have added a second Photizo Vetcare to my arsenal to help my clients be more comfortable and feel better when I can’t be there.  They are perfect for dogs with a short attention span – very easy to handle and only 30 seconds a cycle – you can treat quickly without them noticing and you know you are helping them – I use it regularly on Cosmo when we are on the fly”.

Anna 5.jpg

IAAT International Association of Animal Therapists 

Alix Tidmarsh, Canine & Equine Sports Massage & Myofascial Release Therapy

Photizo Vetcare

Veerle Dejonkheere, integrative veterinary surgeon

The Kennel Club

The College of Animal Physiotherapy

Edition Dog the Holistic Dog Magazine

Photizo have very generously given CAM4animals supporters a special offer of £25 off their Vetcare handset. Please use CAM4animals25 as your special discount code. When you do, they will also make a donation to CAM4animals for each handset sold using this code. You can see the sort of things this donation will be spent on here, and find out how to support us in other ways.

We’d like to thank Photizo for this specical offer.

Anna Webb

Anna Webb  ( is a canine behaviour, training and nutrition expert as well as a broadcaster and author. She has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT).

You can tune in to Anna’s popular weekly podcast A Dog’s Life here where she chats to a wide range of experts and dog lovers about many topics from the serious and cutting edge to the fun side of having dogs in our lives.

Anna lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier, and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. 

More information about the health care Prudence and Mr Binks as well as Molly, Anna’s first Miniature Bull Terrier, have had are to be found in Anna’s book, Manage Canine Arthritis Naturally. This covers a multidisciplinary approach involving a raw diet, supplements, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, a careful exercise and rest regime, and of course, Photizo. Wound treatment is also highlighted. Not just for dogs, she also includes her cat Gremlin. The ethos behind the book is that every animal is an individual and should be treated as such.

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

This blog may also contain an element of consumer opinionWhilst CAM4animals welcomes positive recommendations for holistic healthcare products, we don’t necessarily endorse the product or the author’s opinion. We acknowledge that each animal is an individual and may react differently to the highlighted product/s. There may also be other products available that produce similarly positive results.

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website