If well cared for a Dalmatian can live between 11 and 13 years of age. The major health issue with the breed is the well known genetic predisposition to deafness - in fact estimates are that around 30% of Dalmatians have some sort of hearing impediment. However, they are such popular family dogs and have been for a very long time which is understandable as they boast lovely natures and looks.
Like so many other pure breeds, the Dalmatian is prone to suffering from certain hereditary disorders as well as few acquired ones. Knowing about these in advance helps owners recognise any early signs there may be a health problem. In general, the earlier a correct diagnosis is made and the condition treated, the better the outcome is for the dog. Below is a list of the conditions the breed is predisposed to suffering from.
Dalmatians are known to have a genetic predisposition to suffering from deafness with a high percentage of the breed having some degree of hearing issue. Today a test called the BAER – Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response can be carried out on affected dogs as a way of assessing their hearing.
With this said, Dalmatians cope very well even when they are totally deaf and go on to live long and happy lives. Naturally owners have to make allowances for the fact their pet is deaf and to always make sure they can see any commands they are given.
This is a condition that affects the blood and where a build-up of uric acid occurs much the same as it does in people where it causes kidney stones. With Dalmatians this build-up is much higher than in other breeds causing stones to form in their urinary tracts.
Dalmatians, as such are prone to liver issues, notably the inability to break down Uric Acid, which can potentially cause Gout and ultimately Kidney Stones. These conditions are primarily seen in males aged 9 years plus and are controlled with medication from your vet.
One way of reducing the risk of dogs developing the condition is to ensure their diets do not contain high levels of purines and to make sure dogs drink plenty of water so they urinate more frequently.
This is a condition that affects a dog's hips and which is caused by an abnormal development in their joints. The disorder typically affects larger dog breeds but can also be seen in Dalmatians and other breeds too. It's a very painful condition that causes dogs to be constantly lame.
The breed is also known to suffer from certain skin issues and allergies which studies have shown are generally caused or triggered by environmental and dietary changes. Vets need to carry out repeated skin tests to all the substances and other things a dog comes into contact with on a regular basis in order to rule out the cause of any allergies a dog may be suffering from.
However, airborne allergens which includes both mould and pollen can cause a serious skin reaction and respiratory issues. Luckily, these can be treated and controlled by diet and over-the-counter antihistamines although nothing should ever be given to a dog without first consulting a vet.
It's really important to discuss any of the above disorders with a breeder if you are thinking about buying a puppy from them. A reputable breeder would be more than happy to show you the bloodlines of their breeding stock which includes dam and sires as well as grandparents and great grandparents of a litter of puppies. Having this kind of information will give you the peace of mind that puppies produced by the breeder are healthy and are less at risk of being affected by any of the common hereditary disorders mentioned above.
As with any type of disease or disorder, the earlier it is diagnosed the better the prognosis usually would be. With this said some disorders would need to be treated on a ongoing basis because there is no known cure for them. This would mean regular scheduled trips to the vet so your dog can be thoroughly examined and their condition assessed.
It really does depend on the disease and how severe it is as to how a vet would want to manage and treat it. The first thing they would want to do is make life as comfortable as possible for your dog before establishing a correct diagnosis and then recommending the best course of action when it comes to treatments and therapies.
Although it may seem like Dalmatians are predisposed to suffering from a lot of health issues, many of the breed go their entire lives without developing any of them. However, the biggest issue is to do with their hearing so this is something that potential and existing owners need to think about and have their dog's hearing regularly tested.