Why no dog breed is perfect !
Although there are stringent guidelines by the kennel club and reputable breeders try to ensure the best bloodlines they can for their animals, it must be remembered that there are still breed specific conditions. These conditions mean the dog could be more prone to a certain disease. Below are listed popular dog breeds, along with conditions that they can be affected by. These lists are not exhaustive and of course every dog is different! Prospective owners and current owners should be aware that some insurance companies will look at breed specific conditions and it may affect policies.
The Yorkshire Terrier breed is one of the most popular in the United Kingdom with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years; it can however be prone to certain health conditions such as:
- Bronchitis – inflammation of the lungs.
- Portosystemic shunts – a vessel which diverts blood around the liver, meaning the blood does not get filtered and can lead to neurological problems.
- Cataracts – a whitening of the lens the of eye resulting vision loss.
- Distichiasis - an eyelash coming out of an abnormal area irritating the cornea.
- Luxating patella – when the knee pops out of place, resulting in lameness.
- Tracheal collapse – this is where the walls of the trachea (windpipe) is weakened making the trachea flaccid. This can make it hard for the dog to breathe.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome – this affects the femur and hip joint where the top of the femur can break down resulting limping and pain.
- Dental problems – because of their small mouths Yorkshire Terriers are notoriously known for poor teeth! Many dogs but this breed can have several dental treatments during their lifetime and many extractions.
German Shepherd Dogs
The German Shepherd breed of dogs are very intelligent herding dogs and are overall very healthy but they can be prone to these following disease conditions:
- Von Willebrand disease – this is a blood clotting disorder that is inherited and can prove fatal if not discovered before surgery. In a nutshell it means that if the dog is cut then they have little or no ability to clot the blood. Small cuts are not too much of a problem however major surgery such as a spay could prove a disaster. (This condition also affects other breeds such as Dobermans and Scottish Terriers).
- Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus – in this breed (and many others) the stomach is prone to bloating and can twist. This could prove fatal if not treated quickly. Symptoms of this would include retching (but not producing vomit), restlessness and pain.
- Epilepsy – these dogs are prone to this condition where they suffer unpredictable spontaneous seizures often of which the cause is unknown.
- Hemangiosarcoma – the tumour that is commonly found within the liver and is often fatal.
- Hip dysplasia – this is a malformation of the hip socket which leads to pain and lameness when trying to walk.
Although the conditions seem extreme (and in many cases fatal), this breed is generally very strong. These dogs are not used in the police and for security for nothing!
The Boxer dog breed originated in Germany and has an overall lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Their characteristic boxy shaped head came about because they were originally bred from English Bulldogs. They can suffer from the following conditions:
- Entropian – this is a condition where the eyelid's role in words towards the eye resulting in irritation for the cornea. Surgery can correct this condition.
- Dystocia (difficulty in giving birth) – due to the shape and the largeness of the dogs head it can be difficult to give birth, sometimes needing a Caesarean section to deliver puppies.
- Aortic stenosis – this is a narrowing of the aortic valve which can result in congestive heart failure.
- Boxer cardiomyopathy – this is a disease of the heart electrical conduction system which can mean the dog's heart beats erratically.
- Degenerative myelopathy - spinal disease seen in older dogs which can result in loss of coordination of the legs.
This dog breed can also suffer from hip dysplasia, bloat and entropian disorders among other conditions.
Poodles are considered one of the most intelligent dogs and in several different sizes – standard, medium, miniature and toy, this dog breed is generally very healthy however it to can suffer from the following conditions:
- Addison's disease – this is an endocrine disorder meaning the adrenal gland is not producing enough steroid hormones. This condition can show the following symptoms – fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal disorders and skin problems.
- Chronic active hepatitis – this is the inflammation of the liver and can lead to liver failure.
Like the other breeds mentioned poodles can also suffer from hip dysplasia and epilepsy among other disorders.
This short legged breed originally bred to hunt for badgers in Germany, can suffer with conditions such as patella luxation and epilepsy. Dachshunds are also at risk from:
- Intervertebral disc disease – because the dog is very long and has a long back they are very prone to this painful condition. Vertebral discs can prolapse out of place and if they pinched spinal-cord can result in permanent paralysis of the animal.
- Granulomatous meningoencephalitis – this is an inflammation of the nervous system which has a rapid onset. It can be caused by either the immune system or by a virus.
Although this article only lists five common dog breeds, it is up to owners and prospective owners to do their homework on their animals or the dog they would like as a pet. Thorough research can save a lot of heartache and money. It is not worth giving a dog a home without knowing anything about it!
Many Pet insurance companies will look at other breeds that have similar breed specific conditions from Pugs (which can suffer with problems associated with having a short snout leading to breathing problems), to giant breeds such as Great Danes that can suffer with dilated cardiomyopathy (a progressive issue with the heart which eventually results in heart failure).
Above all any sized dog, regardless of breed might come with problems, but as long as we are aware we still love them anyway!
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