Are some breeds of dog more prone to certain illnesses?

April 13, 2012

The right food, daily care and grooming, loving attention… all these measures are taken by a responsible dog owner to ensure that the pet remains healthy. Appropriate care is given to the dog to keep health concerns at bay. Unfortunately, dogs get sick. Canine illnesses happen all the time. Some breeds are even more prone to certain illnesses as compared to other breeds.

Why are some breeds predisposed to certain illnesses? These medical concerns are often blamed to inbreeding. Unlike purebreds, dogs of mixed ancestry are less predisposed to medical concerns. Mixed breeds are also noted to have longer life spans as well. Breeders have been concerned with maintaining the purity of the bloodlines, with creating a breed showing the desired aesthetic appeal and manifesting the desired trait. Inbreeding has shaped a lot of today’s breeds. Inbreeding is responsible for the distinct look and temperaments of present day purebreds. Unfortunately, inbreeding has turned into a disastrous practice. It has created a negative impact on the health of the dogs. In recent years, an increasing number of congenital and hereditary defects are noted to be experienced by purebreds. Causes for these defects are complex but more and more dog experts attribute these illnesses to inbreeding.

There is a trend of illness among the breeds. Big breeds like the German Shepherd Dog, Great Dane, English Setter, Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever has a predisposition to hip dysplasia. This painful condition often necessitates surgery. The head of the thigh bone which does not fit the hip socket firmly has to be surgically corrected. Large breeds are noted to be prone to thyroid problems and to bloat (gastric torsion as well. While hyperthyroidism can be corrected with daily medication, bloat would require immediate medical attention as this is a life threatening condition. Excessive air swallowed by the dog results to the swelling and twisting of the stomach thereby cutting off the circulation in the vital internal organs. The occurrence of bloating can be minimized by feeding the dog two to three small meals a day instead of one huge meal.

Short snouted breeds like the Boxer or the Pub have the tendency to suffer from heat stokes, respiration concerns, collapsed nostrils as well as heart problems. Smaller breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier and Welsh Terries are prone to skin and eye concerns. Beagles, Dachshund, St. Bernard, German Shepherd, Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever are only some of the breeds with predisposition to epilepsy.

It was estimated that about 6000 savable dogs are put to sleep every year because the owners are financially incapable of paying for the necessary treatments. Dogs are wonderful creatures. These animals are not called man’s best friend for nothing. But before you take the plunge, before you finally choose the breed that will be made a part of the family, wouldn’t you think it wise to know the illnesses your chosen breed is prone to? A responsible dog owner would not set his heart to a breed prone to a number of medical concerns no matter how attractive the dog is when he knows that he is financially incapable to ensure that the dog will be given the necessary medical treatments. Being aware of the illnesses of a particular breed would not only save an owner a lot of heartaches. Knowing the symptoms of the possible illness can save the life of the pet as immediate treatment can be given when and if necessary. Moreover, with the knowledge, an owner can take the measures to somehow prevent the illness from occurring.

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