10 popular dog breeds and their common ailments
Many dog lovers appreciate their pets because of the traits their specific breed possesses. However, the more purebred an animal is the higher chance for inbred traits that are less desirable, and sometimes even deadly.
Here are some popular breeds identified by the American Kennel Club and their specific hereditary issues:
1. Labrador retriever: These popular pooches can have up to 111 known genetic defects, including cataracts and gastric torsion. A dog that develops gastric torsion, where the stomach twists and traps its contents or may obstruct breathing, needs immediate emergency treatment.
2. German shepherd: These beloved animals may suffer from pancreatic enzyme deficiencies, epilepsy and heart problems. Some may also have Von Willebrand’s disease, a genetic disorder where blood lacks a clotting factor, which may cause excessive bleeding.
3. Yorkshire terrier: Yorkies may sometimes have a portosystemic shunt, which causes blood to flow abnormally around the body instead of into the liver, which allows toxins to circulate through the body.
4. Beagle: These floppy-eared dogs may suffer from frequent ear infections if they aren’t cleaned out frequently. They also are susceptible to polyarthritis, a condition that often develops at a young age where the immune system attacks joints.
5. Golden retriever: This canine breed can sometimes inherit hypothyroidism, a hormone deficiency that can lead to weight gain and a thin, brittle coat. Severe cases can lead to low body temperature, heart disturbances and comas.
6. Bulldog: One of the more high-maintenance breeds, bulldogs often have an elongated soft palate, small trachea and skin-related issues, including allergies and skin diseases known as demodetic mange. They also tend to be intolerant of heat and need to be kept in a climate-controlled environment.
7. Boxers: They often exhibit a condition known as entropion, a malformation of the eyelid requiring surgical correction. Some breed lines may also have a tendency to develop spondylosis deformans, a fusing of the spine, and heart conditions such as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
8. Dachshund: Intervertebral disk disease occurs in Dachshunds and it can be treated with medicine or surgery. Both male and female dogs may also be predisposed to mammary tumors, the risk of which can be virtually eliminated by early neutering or spaying before the first heat cycle.
9. Poodle: Some miniature and toy varieties tend to have an undescended testicle; a weakened femur that can be painful (but sometimes the femur will fix itself); or Addison’s Disease, a condition in which too few hormones are produced by the adrenal gland.
10. Shih Tzu: Because this breed is born with relatively immature kidneys, it may be susceptible to juvenile renal dysplasia.
When buying a dog, find a reputable breeder who has a personal interest in a specific breed. Make sure the breeders have had the breeding stock tested and cleared before producing offspring.
Reputable breeders can be found through Angie's List and national breed clubs, like AKC.org. Be sure to identify the health issues specific to the breed you are interested in and maintain a schedule of physical examinations with a highly rated veterinarian.