Are certain dog breeds plagued by specific diseases? The simple answer is yes. Each dog breed has different traits and characteristics, which make them desirable for whatever function they perform best. This is why domesticated dogs have been bred for centuries to reproduce these desirable traits, creating what we know now as purebred dogs.
Unfortunately, the long period of selective breeding also resulted in making certain breeds at higher risk to develop health conditions.
And these conditions do not appear exclusively to purebred dogs either. Even mixed breed dogs can inherit these health risks from their purebred ancestors, establishing the importance of understanding your dog’s genetic heritage through dog parentage tests.
For more information, here are 16 common dog breeds that are likely to suffer from certain health conditions.
Brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs like bulldogs look adorable, but they often suffer from breathing issues. If you have a bulldog, you might notice that he snores, which is due to his facial structure, particularly small nostrils, long soft palate, and a narrow trachea. If the dog gets overheated or overtired, these issues can result in a life-threatening emergency.
The dachshund’s defining feature is its long body, but it actually places the dog at a higher risk for injuries like back and spinal problems. Obesity or excess weight exacerbates the issue as it can put more strain on the dog’s back. Keep your dachshund at a healthy weight to avoid these problems and complications.
Similar to the bulldog, the pug is also brachycephalic. This time, the most pressing health issue pugs face is eye problems. When a pug gets into an accident or into a fight, serious eye issues can happen such as an eye popping out of its socket and/or loss of vision. You definitely need to monitor your pug to avoid this, but if it does happen, take your dog to the vet right away.
4. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is the perfect family dog due to its intelligence and affectionate nature. However, if you decide to get one, you need to keep in mind his physical needs and ensure that he gets plenty of exercise. Without enough exercise, the dog can gain weight, putting him at risk of joint disease and hip and elbow dysplasia.
5. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are a popular dog toy breed., but they are at risk to suffer a condition called patellar luxation. This means that the kneecap can pop out of place, which causes the dog to limp, hobble, or skip a step. While the kneecap will usually pop back into position without intervention, there are several cases wherein surgery is necessary.
6. German Shepherd
Another highly popular dog breed, the German Shepherds are a crowd favourite due to their intelligence and loyalty. But similar to the Labrador Retriever, this breed required a lot of exercise and physical activity. Without it, German Shepherds are prone to developing hip dysplasia. Another common problem of the breed is degenerative myelopathy which could lead to progressive paralysis.
7. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are undoubtedly gorgeous dogs, but the breed is susceptible to autoimmune disorders. These include skin conditions that cause hair loss and sores as well as eye conditions that can lead to cataracts and glaucoma. If your dog suffers from these conditions, your vet may prescribe corticosteroids to suppress the immune system.
Beagles are active dogs that make for excellent family companions. However, the breed is at an increased risk of developing epilepsy, which causes seizures. Epilepsy, which usually begins to occur between 3 months and 3 years old, has no cure, but the seizures can easily be managed using an anti-seizure medication.
9. Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are another extremely popular dog breed, a favourite pet among families because of their loyalty and affectionate nature. But golden retrievers tend to get itchy skin, which explains why your dog might be frequently licking and scratching his skin. This can lead to wounds and sores, but the condition can be easily managed by giving your dog regular baths and a regular flea treatment.
Rottweilers are a large breed, but similar to other large dog breeds, they can be at risk of having joint problems. These include arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. Rottweilers may also develop OCD or osteochondritis dissecans, a condition wherein the cartilage in a joint does not form properly. It can be avoided by giving your dog a healthy balanced diet, although in some cases, surgery might be required to remove the cartilage.
11. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers, or “Yorkies,” are known for their small sizes and big personalities. The third most popular breed in the US, Yorkies can be diva-like in attitude. However, they are also prone to digestive issues, tracheal collapse (which can be made worse by a collar), and portosystemic shunt, which may decrease liver function.
Dalmatians are another highly popular dog breed, but they suffer from a common hereditary defect, which is deafness, that reputable breeders have been working on to eradicate. Other issues that the breed is prone to getting are urolithiasis or kidney or bladder stones. A special diet may be required to prevent this problem from occurring.
The Maltese breed is prone to suffer from Little White Shaker Syndrome, which is a condition that causes small dogs (particularly white breeds) to suffer from tremors. This is caused by an inflammation in the cerebellum. Sometimes, the shaking is so severe that the dog can barely walk. Fortunately, the condition is treatable with corticosteroids.
Finally, we have the famous Chihuahua breed, which is one of the tiniest dog breeds around. While chihuahuas are generally active and healthy, the breed can suffer from hereditary health conditions, which include cardiac disease, eye conditions, and patellar luxation, a knee condition which may lead to arthritis.
When getting a dog, it is crucial to do your research and know all there is you need to know about the dog breed. However, this can be challenging if you are adopting a mixed breed dog. To know your dog’s true health status and the medical conditions he might be at risk of getting, what you can do is get a dog DNA test.
With dog parentage tests, you can find out your dog’s true genetic heritage and breed composition, as well as a host of valuable information like his personality traits, recommendations for training and exercise, and useful information about the health problems that could plague the breed mix.
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