For decades, both the Cardigan and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi have been popular choices of companion dogs and family pets and for good reason. These little dogs may be short in the leg, but their genes ensure they stand tall when it comes to loyalty and affection. However, these same genes predispose these lovely dogs to quite a few hereditary and congenital health disorders which are worth knowing about if you are hoping to share your home with either a Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
The main health disorders that parent dogs pass down to their offspring affect a dog's blood, vision and include the following:
Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are known to be more at risk of developing blood clotting and blood shunting issues. A puppy with the condition tends to be a lot quieter than their littermates, preferring to remain apart and not willing to play. They also tend to be a lot smaller than the other puppies. Other symptoms of them having inherited a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus includes coughing, weight loss and trouble breathing. A puppy with the condition would typically need to undergo surgery so a vet can correct the problem.
Another blood issue all too commonly seen in Pembrokes is von Willebrand disease which means their blood does not clot as it should. Dogs with the condition would need to be given the right type of medication throughout their lives because it’s one health disorder that cannot be cured, but it can be very successfully managed. Dogs can be DNA tested which is essential if you suspect your pet might be suffering from the condition so they can be put on the right medication sooner rather than later.
Both Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are more prone to suffering from Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a genetically inherited disorder that affects their vision and which can seriously impact their sight even when dogs are still very young. Signs of there being a problem with a dog's eyes includes a loss of night vision, a dog may have dilated pupils and they often suffer a loss in their peripheral vision. Dogs cannot be treated for the condition even it is diagnosed early, but with this said dogs adapt tremendously well when they lose their sight and go on to lead full and happy lives. This is another condition that dogs can be DNA tested for which is why it's so important that all breeders have their dogs screened before using them in a breeding programme.
Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are also more prone to suffer from a neurological disorder known as Canine Degenerative Myelopathy which vets believe is caused by the same gene mutation that causes ALS in people. Dogs are typically affected when they are around 8 years old and the signs of there being a problem might be subtle to begin with. Dogs with the condition may seem weaker on their back legs, but as the condition worsens they lose all movement in their back legs which ultimately leads to complete paralysis of their back ends. This is another incurable disorder, but vets have found that dogs often respond well to acupuncture treatment and specific supplements have also been seen to help dogs with the condition too. Again, this is another genetic health disorder that dogs can be DNA tested for. All responsible breeders would have their dogs screened before using them in a breeding programme which is why if you are thinking about getting a puppy, you should always do so from a well-established breeder.
It is not only dogs that suffer from this health disorder because it can affect children, horses and mice too. Both Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are more prone to the condition, but so are two other breeds which includes the Basset Hound and the Jack Russell Terrier. The disorder sees dogs not being able to fight off infections whether it's bacterial, fungal or parasitic all due to the fact their immune systems don't work as they should. Puppies with the disorder experience infections in their respiratory tracts and frequently develop ear and skin infections which their own systems just cannot cope with. Puppies often have the runs and when all of these symptoms manifest themselves at the same time it can make them very ill when they are as young as 6 to 8 weeks old.
Sadly, when a puppy develops the condition, they typically die at around 4 months old. Being an X-linked disorder, it is only male dogs that are affected, but females can be carriers of the mutated gene which means although they do not suffer the fatal consequences of the disorder, they will pass it on to their puppies. Dogs can be DNA tested for which includes whether they are carrying the gene or not and all responsible breeders make sure all dogs used in a breeding programme are screened first.
If you are thinking about getting either a Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgi, it cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of contacting a reputable and well-established breeder who always has all their breeding dogs screened for any hereditary and congenital health disorders. However, even the best bred dog may develop an inherited health condition because genes responsible can skip several generations. With this said, careful breeding reduces the chances of this happening which is why it's so important not to breed from dogs with known genetic disorders.