The Five Most Common Breed Specific Dog Health Problems

Whether adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue or purchasing from a breeder or store, dog health should be among your foremost considerations before making a decision. There are several health problems inherent in specific dog breeds such as the bulldog, beagle and boxer that can display themselves in puppies to adolescents to adult dogs. The educated pet owner can learn these common breed specific heath problems and come up with a management plan with their veterinarian to alleviate some symptoms related to these problems and decrease further complications associated with these conditions.

1. Hip or Elbow Dysplasia

Common to breeds like the German Shepherd, Golden and Labrador Retrievers and other large breeds, these health problems can cripple some dogs and causes worry and anxiety among owners. Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the sockets of the hip and leg do not align correctly causing a dog immense pain and limited mobility. This condition is common among giant- and large-breed dogs. Overfeeding can ready the onset of this disease so regular exercise and monitored feeding are important. Elbow Dysplasia occurs in the joints of the front legs and can cause lameness but can be treated through medication and in more severe cases, surgery.

2. Joint/Arthritis

This condition can manifest as many dogs grow older. Joint and arthritis pain are common and in most cases treatable. With some larger breeds, joint problems introduce themselves earlier and present themselves as lameness in a growing dog. Some dogs will grow out of their conditions while others will require regular pain medication, exercise and weight management.

3. Eye Diseases

Glaucoma and cataracts appear in older-age in most breeds due to the normal aging process and early-onset can present itself among breeds like the Beagle, Chow Chow and Poodle. Some eye diseases such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy start at an early age and eventually can lead to permanent blindness.

4. Bloat

Many large- and giant-breed dogs like the Great Dane and Saint Bernard are susceptible to this problem due to their deep, barrel-shaped chest. This dangerous condition causes the stomach to swell with liquid and gasses making the stomach twist and trapping gas inside leading to the suffocation of internal organs. Elevated feeding helps prevent this disease but careful examination of your dog on a regular basis for tight or swollen stomach is also recommend.

5. Heart Disease

Various conditions appearing under the umbrella of heart disease can be common among many breeds large and small alike and include tricuspid valve dysplasia, mitral valve disease, aortic stenosis and sub-aortic stenosis. Many of these conditions require limited exercise and regular medication.

Before you select a dog, careful research into breed-specific health problems is strongly suggested. If acquiring a dog from a breeder, ask for the medical histories of both parents. Careful consideration of these health issues will ensure you select the right dog for your lifestyle.