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Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy in the Hungarian Vizsla
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Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy in the Hungarian Vizsla

Dogs
Health & Safety

The Hungarian Vizsla is a large and very noble-looking dog breed with a short rich red coat, and that is placed within the Kennel Club’s gun dog grouping. This is one dog breed that has become really popular in the UK over the course of the last decade, and the Hungarian Vizsla is now the 48th most popular breed in the UK overall.

For people who are looking to buy a larger dog breed, the Hungarian Vizsla is definitely worthy of consideration. Not only are they undeniably handsome with a very distinguished appearance, they are also extremely loving and affectionate, usually forming very strong bonds with their owners.

Hungarian Vizslas are very energetic dogs that need lots of play and exercise, which makes them a good fit for active, lively owners who like to walk and do things outdoors. They are also above average in the intelligence rankings and are very amenable to training, as they really enjoy having a job to do and work hard to please their handlers.

Vizslas also tend to get on well with children, and are very obedient when properly trained and managed, which makes dogs of the breed a great package with a lot going for them, which has helped to ensure that their popularity is rising year on year.

However, Hungarian Vizslas can also suffer from a number of hereditary health problems that can affect their lifespan and quality of life, even though dogs of the breed tend to live relatively long lives as a general rule. One hereditary health condition that is considered to be a risk to dogs of the breed is called Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy, or you might hear it referred to by the more commonly used layman’s term of Vizsla muscle disease.

This is the very latest health condition to be formally recognised as a breed-specific risk for Vizslas, which means that not even all Vizsla owners are aware of the condition at all.

Whether you own a Hungarian Vizsla or are considering buying a Vizsla pup, it is important to learn the basics of Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy, which is what we will talk about in more detail within this article. Read on to learn more.

What is Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy?

Poly means “many” and myopathy refers to the muscles, and so polymyopathy means a condition that affects multiple muscles at once. Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy affects the muscles in the dog’s head and neck, causing muscle wastage and acute secondary effects such as excessive drooling and problems with chewing and swallowing food.

Understandably, this has a serious and acute effect on dogs with the condition, and may mean that they are unable to eat or drink, and are at higher risk of inhaling food or choking.

How do dogs develop Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy?

The exact root cause of Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy isn’t known, but its presence within certain Vizsla breed lines and the fact that the condition is not contagious means that the condition has been established to be hereditary in nature.

Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy is thought to be an immune-mediated condition, and affected dogs with the condition will almost certainly have other close relatives with it too, further reinforcing the hereditary nature of the illness.

The exact defect or gene mutation that causes the condition has yet to be identified, but Vizsla breed clubs both in the UK and further afield are working hard with veterinary professionals to advance research into the condition to improve our understanding of it, and how it occurs.

What are the symptoms of the condition?

The symptoms that might be present in a Hungarian Vizsla with Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy can be quite diverse, and so it is very wise for all Vizsla owners to familiarise themselves with them. Another point to note is that the condition only received formal recognition as a syndrome in its own right recently, which means that not all vets are aware of it.

Ensure that your own vet is aware of the condition and able to research it properly when they work to diagnose your dog. Some of the symptoms of Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy that you might observe include:

  • Problems swallowing.
  • A tendency to regurgitate food.
  • Excessive salivation, drooling and slobbering.
  • A noticeable loss of muscle tone around the dog’s head and neck.
  • A tongue that is not fully able to function and that might poke or protrude from the mouth in some cases.
  • Poor tolerance for exercise and exertion.

Your vet will need to examine your dog and run some tests and scans to view what is going on internally, to either confirm or rule out a diagnosis of Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy.

Can Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy be treated or cured?

If the condition is caught and diagnosed early on and treatment begun promptly, Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy can usually be kept under control with medications, which may include steroids, and immune-suppressant therapies.

However, the condition cannot be reversed or corrected, and so affected dogs will need their condition to be monitored and medicated for the rest of their lives. Dogs with Vizsla inflammatory polymyopathy should not be bred from, because the condition tends to develop in clusters of closely related dogs.

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