Common Genetic Health Issues Of Purebred Dogs
Some purebred dogs are predisposed to dog breed health problems that are more genetic or hereditary diseases than other dogs. While some breeds seem to be susceptible to a multitude of maladies others seem to be almost unaffected by these genetically transmitted diseases.
If you are considering a purebred dog you should educate yourself on all of the diseases and conditions related to that breed. These diseases can affect you both financially and emotionally.
Some problems of the eyes include cataracts which can affect any breed of dog. This is a hardening of the lens which affects sight. It is the same condition found in humans.
The Collies seem to be susceptible to a condition called collie eye anomaly (CEA) there is a problem with blood supply to the retina causing it to become detached and leading to blindness.
Ectropion is an abnormal rolling out of the eyelids. If severe it will need to be corrected surgically. It mainly affects the Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Boxer, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, English Springer Spaniel, Gordon Setter, Labrador Retriever, Shih Tzu and to a lesser extent the Great Dane, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees.
Entropion is an abnormal rolling in of the eyelid. If severe it will need to be corrected surgically. It mainly affects the Chow Chow, Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Shar-Pei, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.
Glaucoma is abnormally high pressure in the eye. This disease if severe will require removal of the eye. It is mainly seen in the Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Fox terrier (wire and smooth), Poodle (all sizes), Samoyed, Siberian Husky and Welsh Springer Spaniel.
Lens luxation is a condition where the lens in the eye is displaced into an abnormal position. A dog will show signs of intense pain, tearing and reduced vision that can lead to blindness if not treated. This mainly affects the Border Collie, Brittany Spaniel, Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a number of terrier breeds.
When purchasing a puppy from a breeder insist on seeing the parents CERF certification. This certification is from the Canine Eye Registry which certifies that the dogs have had eye examinations by a veterinary ophthalmologist and are disease free.
There are several musculoskeletal disorders common in purebred dogs.
Elbow dysplasia is an abnormal development of the elbow joint. You can generally see the onset at around seven to ten months. It mainly affects large and giant breed dogs but can affect any breed.
Eosinophilic panosteitis is a painful inflammatory bone disease of young, rapidly growing dogs, often characterized by increased eosinophils in the blood. This is most common in medium to giant breeds.
Hip dysplasia is a developmental malformation or subluxation of the hip joints. This can cause lameness in the back legs. Some dogs require surgery. This affects mainly large and giant breed dogs.
Patella luxation is a condition where the knee caps slide in and out of place. Surgery is usually advised to prevent osteoarthritis. Most affected breeds are the Affenpinscher, Australian Terrier, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, English Toy Spaniel, Maltese, Papillion, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle (toy/miniature) and Lhasa Apso.
When purchasing a puppy from a breeder insist on seeing the parents OFA results. The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) evaluates a dog (from test results) and then registers the results.
Dogs can also suffer with heart disease. Some of the more common defects can include the following.
Mitral valve defects are a group of abnormalities of the mitral valve of the heart. This causes a backflow of blood into the left atrium. Mostly seen in older dogs.
Subaortic stenosis is a tightening of the outflow opening for blood to go from the heart into the aorta. It is common in large/giant breed dogs such as the Golden Retriever and Newfoundland.
Tricuspid valve dysplasia causes a backflow of blood into the right atrium of the heart. Severe cases will cause early death. Most common in the Labrador retriever.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of weakened heart muscles. This can result in an irregular heart beat and even death. Commonly found in giant breeds, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers.
Dogs, like humans, also develop diabetes. In the inherited form the common symptoms are eating and drinking excessively but gaining little weight. This is usually apparent by six months of age. Breeds most affected include the Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke and West Highland White Terrier.
von Willebrand’s disease is a type of bleeding disorder (hemophilia) caused by defective blood platelet function. The disease occurs in fifty-nine breeds but most often in Doberman Pinschers.
Bloat , canine gastric delation- volvulus (CGDV), stomach torsion or twisted stomach. No matter the name it is a dangerous and life-threatening condition. Bloat will cause the stomach to swell with gas and fluid, then flips or twists and traps the gas. This will shut off the blood supply to the digestive organs and death will occur without prompt veterinary care. All large/giant breeds can be affected but it is best associated with the Great Dane and Mastiff.
These are but a few in a very long list of diseases that are more prevalent in purebred dogs than your average mixed breed. Be sure to check for your breeds specific predispositions and make sure the parents of your new puppy are OFA and CERF certified. It may cost you more to purchase your puppy but it will save you possible heartache in the future.