Common Health Problems For Popular Dog Breeds (part 2)

Last week we covered the most common ailments for several breeds including the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, and Beagle. This week we take a look at five more including the French Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, Rottweiler, and Boxer.

Common Healh Problems for Popular Dog Breeds - PART II

The French Bulldog is a small breed known for its pushed-in face and compact body. It has a lifespan of 10-12 years. Because of its stocky build and breeding practices, this dog commonly suffers from joint and spinal problems caused by abnormal vertebrae and/or premature degeneration of the intervertebral discs. Congenital hemivertibrae, or “butterfly vertebrae”, are spinal malformations which can cause compression of the spinal cord which can lead to instability.

Breathing problems are also a concern due to the shape of its face which include an elongated soft palate, a pushed-in nose, and narrow trachea. The French Bulldog can also struggle to breath after vigorous exercise or during hot weather.

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The Yorkshire Terrier is a toy breed with an average lifespan of 13-16 years. The Yorkie has a lively personality. And here’s an interesting note; the dog who played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz” movie from 1939 was a female brindle Cairn Terrier. Her name was Terry although the character in the movie was a male. However, many people believe that W.W. Denslow, who illustrated the original 1900 book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” drew Toto as a Yorkie. He had one as a pet. [see illustration.]

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to liver shunt, a blood vessel that carries blood around the liver instead of through it. For some animals, this condition is a congenital while other can acquire it through severe liver disease such as cirrhosis.

Patellar luxation can also be a problem in this breed. The kneecap can slip out of place causing early-onset arthritis as cartilage in the knee wears down. Yorkies are also susceptible to eye problems including cataracts, distichiasis, and retinal dysplasia.

Other common afflictions for Yorkis include dry eye, cataracts, retinal dysplasia and sometimes progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), heart disease, epilepsy and white shaker dog syndrome, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes.

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The Poodle is known for its curly coat and has a lifespan of 12-15 years. The breed comes in three sizes – standard, miniature, and toy – each with its own set of health problems.

The Standard Poodle is prone to Addison’s disease, thyroid problems, and gastric dilation volvulus.

Miniature and Toy Poodles often suffer from kidney problems, Cushing’s syndrome, and hypothyroidism.

Addison’s disease in dogs, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, can affect the adrenal glands and cause a deficiency in the production of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, leading to lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea.

Cushing’s syndrome occurs when a dog’s body makes too much of a hormone called cortisol. This chemical helps him respond to stress, control his weight, fight infections, and keep his blood sugar levels in check. This condition can lead to excessive urination, panting, loss of muscle tone, and thinning of the skin.

Eye diseases are a major concern in Miniature Poodles. Luxating patella (loose knees), hip dysplasia, and intervertebral disk disease are also not uncommon.

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The Rottweiler is a muscularly built dog with an average lifespan of 8-10 year. Hip & elbow problems are very common for this breed. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, which evaluated hip X-rays of 85,300 Rottweilers, 1 in 5 were dysplastic, though that number is considered very conservative. And 41% showed elbow dysplasia – one of the worst rates of all breeds.

Like other deep-chested breeds, Rottweilers are at higher-than-normal risk for emergency gastrointestinal syndrome, called bloat, in which the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excessive gas content.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans, is also common to Rottweilers like other large breeds. OCD is a condition involving excess or improper cartilage growth in relation to deficient bone growth, often due to a disruption in the blood supply to the bone.

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The Boxer is a medium size dog with an average lifespan of 10-12 years. Though a common companion pet, they do commonly suffer from a long list of ailments including cancer, aortic stenosis, degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy.

Cancer is also a big concern for this breed. The two most common types of cancer seen in Boxers are lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) and mast cell tumors.

Aortic stenosis refers to a narrowing of the aortic valve, which controls blood flow. This can cause causing heart muscle cells to increase in size to maintain forward blood flow and subsequent thickening of the heart wall. Common symptoms include decreased heat tolerance and exercise tolerance as well as chest pain, loss of consciousness, and heart failure.

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease affecting the spinal cord. It can lead to to a weakening of the back limbs and muscles as well as loss of coordination. As the disease gets worse, the dog may start to drag one or both of its rear feet and it may also develop problems with balance and incontinence.

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For further reading, please check out the following resources:


Common Health Problems For Popular Dog Breeds (part 1)
Should You Hug Your Dog?