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Juniper, a one-year-old dachshund, is part of research into the gait of dogs. (Chad Hills/CTV Saskatoon)

SASKATOON -- Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are studying the way dachshunds walk.

The goal of the study is to characterize what’s normal in the breed’s walking behavior, to help in rehabilitation and better detect spinal cord injuries – which are common in dachshunds.

“It could potentially help dogs around the world,” Romany Pinto, one of four veterinary researchers involved in the study, told CTV News.

“Dogs are potential models for spinal cord injuries in people, so that could lead to some interesting things that could help people down the road.”

The veterinarians have analyzed 30 dachshunds, commonly known as wiener dogs, using a computer pressure walkway.

The walkway, synced to a computer, shows exactly how much force a dog is putting on each leg.

“The interesting thing we found in dachshunds, the ratio of force on their front legs to the back legs is about two-to-one. Most other breads are about one-and-a-half-to-one,” Dr. Pinto said.

The veterinarians are now completing the second part of the study, analyzing dogs with back problems, to compare the results to the 30 healthy dachshunds.

Pinto expects the research to take another a year.

In the future, Pinto hopes the computer pressure walkway technology can help dogs who are undergoing spinal cord treatments.

“It would let us put numbers on how bad it is, and let us monitor if a certain treatment is making a difference or not,” she said.