Hereditary Diseases in Dogs

Hereditary diseases are the ones that are inherited from parents. There are certain congenital diseases that affect mostly certain dog breeds, while others occur in dogs with parents that present certain genetic abnormalities. Before breeding, it’s important to assess the health of each breeding dog involved. Certain hereditary diseases affect the eyes, the blood, the bones or the internal organs.

Hereditary Eye Problems in Dogs

Eye problems commonly affect canines and there are a few issues that are considered hereditary:

  • Cataracts, which can also be caused by certain conditions such as diabetes, but in younger dogs, these are most often hereditary
  • CEA or Collie eye anomaly, a condition seen exclusively in Collies and can lead to retinal detachment
  • Ectropion or entropion, which involve the sagging of the eyelids and can lead to conjunctivitis
  • Glaucoma, which can cause impaired vision
  • Lens luxation, which often leads to glaucoma and blindness
  • Retinal atrophy, which can cause blindness if not stopped in a timely manner

Dog Musculoskeletal Disorders

There are also a number of musculoskeletal disorders that are believed to be congenital:

  • Chindrodysplasia, which involves an impaired development of the carpal and radius bones and may cause extreme pain.
  • Elbow dysplasia, which involves a malformation of the elbow joints and will manifest through lameness and pain
  • Hip dysplasia, which is similar to elbow dysplasia, but the hip bones are malformed and can lead to osteoarthritis
  • Panoseitis, which can cause sudden lameness and manifests typically during puppyhood or adolescence
  • Patellar luxation

Heart Conditions in Dogs

A few heart conditions can also be inherited:

  • Aortic stenosis, caused by a narrowed aorta, leading to a limited amount of blood that reaches the organs
  • Mitral valve disease involves a leaky valve
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia, which also involves the presence of leaky valve and may be fatal
  • Cardiomyopathy, which is a lack of muscle control over the ventricles and will manifest through irregular heart beat, being potentially fatal

Canine Endocrine Diseases

There are a number of endocrine diseases that are considered hereditary:

  • Diabetes mellitus, which involves the incapacity to process the blood glucose and may cause weight loss and frequent urination
  • Hyperthyroidism, involving and excessive production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland
  • Hypothyroidism, involving a deficit in the production of the thyroid hormones (T3, T4 and TSH)

Blood Diseases in Dogs

Research has revealed that several blood disorders are genetic:

  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) which is due to the fact that many red blood cells are destroyed by the immune system and will lead to anemia
  • Hemophilia, also known as Von Willedrand’s disease, causing a longer bleeding time when the dog is cut or injured

Other Inherited Disorders

There are a series of other inherited disorders such as:

  • Lupus, an autoimmune disease
  • Deafness, may be congenital in some dogs
  • Epilepsy, which manifests through seizures
  • Renal dysplasia, a deficiency that will cause an inability to process proteins
  • Tracheal narrowing, affecting mostly brachycephalic breeds