There are hundreds of different dog breeds to choose from and each one is unique in terms of its appearance and personality. Many people choose their dog based on these factors, but there is another factor you would be wise to consider. Unfortunately, many dog owners forget to think about the health of the breed when choosing a dog. Responsible breeding practices play a key role in determining the health of a dog, but there are certain health problems to which some breeds are prone which simply cannot be avoided.
Before you pick out a dog breed you should take the time to learn about the common health conditions to which the breed is prone and how those conditions might affect the dog’s lifespan. Below you will find a list of the top 25 most popular dog breeds as well as detailed information about the health issues affecting each breed.
Scroll below the infographic to read more about the health problems of each bread in more detail.
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List of dog breeds and their health problems:
- Siberian Husky
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Shih tzu
- Doberman Pinscher
- Cocker Spaniel
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Golden Retriever
- Miniature Schnauzer
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Great Dane
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Boston Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog known for its thick, double coat and wolf-like coloration. This breed has an average lifespan between 12 and 14 years and most of the health conditions to which this breed is prone are genetic. Defects of the eye such as corneal dystrophy, juvenile cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy are common in this breed. Juvenile cataracts typically begin forming before the dog reaches 2 years of age and they can lead to blindness if left untreated. Surgery can be performed to correct the issue but, unless it is causing the dog pain or secondary complications, many vets advise against unnecessary surgery. Most dogs adapt well to the loss of vision.
In addition to eye problems, Siberian Huskies are also prone to a number of autoimmune disorders, many of which lead to skin problems like soreness, itchy and flaky skin, inflammation, and excessive licking. Although Siberian Huskies are a mid-sized breed, they generally have a low risk for hip dysplasia and other musculoskeletal disorders. Using your husky for sled racing, however, can open up the possibility for a variety of other conditions including bronchitis, gastric erosions, or ulcerations.
The Bulldog is a medium-sized breed with a stocky build and a wrinkled, pushed-in face. This breed is very friendly by nature but, unfortunately, it has a fairly short lifespan of 8 to 10 years. Bulldogs are prone to a wide variety of different health problems, so responsible breeding is incredibly important. One of the most serious conditions to which this breed is prone is called brachycephalic airway syndrome and it is directly related to the shape of the breed’s face. Flat-faced breeds like the Bulldog often have very narrow upper airways which makes it difficult for them to breathe. This problem gets worse in hot weather and after exercise – it can even lead to a life-threatening emergency.
In addition to breathing problems, Bulldogs are also prone to a number of skin problems including allergies. Symptoms of allergies include itchy skin, runny eyes, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although the Bulldog is only a medium-sized breed, it has a very high risk for developing two conditions that more commonly affect large-breed dogs – hip dysplasia and gastric torsion, or bloat. Hip dysplasia is the result of abnormal formation of the hip socket which causes the femoral head to pop in and out of place – this can lead to early arthritis as well as pain and potential lameness. Gastric torsion occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with air and then twists on its axis, cutting off blood flow to the stomach and other internal organs. This condition can quickly become fatal if not treated promptly.
Also check out our list of best dog food for bulldogs.
The Pug is a small-breed dog known for its friendly personality, pushed-in face, and curly tail. These little dogs are surprisingly full of energy for their size and they have an average lifespan around 11 years. Pugs are susceptible to breathing difficulties caused by several anatomical problems including elongated soft palate, small nostrils, and narrow airways – this group of conditions is typically referred to as brachycephalic airway syndrome. Pugs are extremely prone to heatstroke, due to their breathing problems, and a rise in body temperature can quickly become fatal. For this reason you should keep your Pug inside on very hot days and avoid strenuous exercise which could exacerbate his breathing problems.
Aside from breathing problems, Pugs are also highly susceptible to eye problems due to the shape of their face. These dogs have shortened snouts and prominent brow ridges which causes their eyes to stick out and which puts them at risk for eye injuries like scratched corneas, proptosis, and entropion. There is also a very real risk for eye prolapse – this occurs when the eye pops out of socket and it can be caused by trauma to the head or neck. In most cases, the eye can be pushed back into the socket by a veterinarian, but there may be permanent damage to the eye. Other conditions to which the Pug is prone include skin fold dermatitis, demodectic mange, and encephalitis.
The German Shepherd is a large-breed working dog known for its intelligence and trainability. These dogs have an average lifespan of 9 to 13 years and, unfortunately, they are prone to a number of genetic conditions resulting from inbreeding that occurred during the breed’s development. German Shepherds are highly prone to musculoskeletal disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, as is true for many large-breed dogs. Both of these issues can lead to early arthritis, pain, and even lameness if not properly treated. In mild cases, the pain can be managed with medication but surgery may be required to permanently repair the problem.
Other conditions to which this breed is prone include degenerative myelopathy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and Von Willebrand disease. Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive neurological disease that affects the spinal cord causing weakness and loss of coordination in the limbs. Over time, it may progress to lameness and complete paralysis. German Shepherds are also prone to Von Willebrand disease, an inherited condition which results from a deficiency of Von Willebrand factor (vWF) and causes excessive bleeding. Dogs with this condition have trouble with blood clotting which means that even minor injuries can cause severe bleeding and blood transfusions may be needed for surgery. This condition also leads to frequent nosebleeds in many cases.
The Labrador Retriever is a large-breed dog and one of the most popular breeds in the country due to their friendly nature. These dogs have an average lifespan between 10 and 12 years and they are generally a very healthy breed. Like all dogs, however, Labs are prone to certain health problems including obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye problems, and hereditary myopathy. The Labrador Retriever is a large breed, but they have a high risk for becoming obese with overfeeding and inadequate exercise. As is true for humans, obesity in dogs can lead to an increased risk for other serious health problems such as musculoskeletal issues, osteoarthritis, and diabetes.
In addition to obesity, Labs are prone to a number of joint problems including patellar luxation, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The latter two of these three conditions are related to the malformation of the hip and elbow joints. Patellar luxation is a condition that occurs when the kneecap (patella) dislocates or moves out of position. Like hip and elbow dysplasia, this can cause pain, changes in gait, early arthritis, and eventual lameness. All three of these conditions can be surgically corrected, though the recommended treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, medications for pain management or to reduce inflammation may be adequate.
The Beagle is a medium-sized dog known for its large, floppy ears and its hunting abilities. This breed is generally very healthy, but like all dogs it is prone to developing certain conditions. For example, epilepsy is very common in Beagles. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures and it generally manifests in Beagles between the ages of 6 months and three years. This condition cannot be cured, but dogs having more than one seizure per month can have their condition managed with anti-seizure medications.
In addition to epilepsy, the Beagle is also prone to developing several other conditions including hypothyroidism, ear infections, diabetes, obesity, and various eye problems. Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid gland and it may cause symptoms like lethargy, skin abnormalities, and slow heart rate. Ear infections are fairly common in Beagles due to their large floppy ears – because the ears hang down over the sides of the head, moisture can easily be trapped in the ear which then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Obesity and diabetes are two conditions that are often linked together. If your Beagle is overweight, he has a higher risk for developing other problems including diabetes. Some of the eye conditions most commonly seen in Beagles include cherry eye, corneal dystrophy and glaucoma.
Checkout the detailed guide of best dog food for beagles here.
The Shih Tzu is a toy breed known for its long, silky coat. This breed is an ancient breed and, though its exact origins are unknown, it is thought to have existed for hundreds of years. Because the Shih Tzu is such an ancient breed it has not been subject to the kind of inbreeding that tends to cause genetic health defects. Still, the Shih Tzu is prone to developing certain health problems including hypothyroidism, intervertebral disk disease, breathing problems, and eye problems. The Shih Tzu is a brachycephalic breed, so airway obstructions are fairly common. These can cause labored breathing and reduced tolerance for heat and exercise. Not all Shih Tzus will develop breathing problems, but most of them do at some point.
Many small breed dogs like the Shih Tzu have an increased risk for musculoskeletal problems like intervertebral disc disease, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation. Patellar luxation is sometimes called wobbly kneecaps because it occurs when the kneecap slips out of place, causing the dog to hobble, skip, or limp. Intervertebral disk disease is another musculoskeletal problem that causes back pain, loss of coordination, and loss of sensation. Both of these conditions can progress if not treated promptly. The eye problems most likely to be seen in Shih Tzus include cataracts, excessive tearing, and ulcers.
The Boxer is a medium-sized dog known for its square muzzle and muscular build. These dogs have short coats and lively personalities which makes them a popular choice as a companion Pet. Unfortunately, the Boxer is prone to several serious health problems including cancer, aortic stenosis, degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy. The two most common types of cancer seen in Boxers are lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) and mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors manifest as lumps on the dog’s body and they are generally treatable as long as you catch them early. Lymphoma can be very serious but it too can be treated if caught early.
Aortic stenosis is a heart problem that results from the narrowing of the left ventricle in the heart. 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 which leads to weakening of the back limbs and muscles as well as loss of coordination. As the disease gets progressively worse, the dog may start to drag one or both of its rear feet and it may also develop problems with balance and incontinence. Eventually, the dog is likely to show front limb involvement and significant muscle atrophy, even paralysis. At this point, euthanasia is typically the only treatment option.
The Dachshund is a small-breed dog known for its pointed snout and long body. These little dogs may be small, but they are full of energy and personality. Due to the shape of its body, the Dachshund has a high risk for spinal problems like intervertebral disk disease as well as other musculoskeletal problems like patellar luxation. Intervertebral disk disease affects about 20% to 25% of Dachshunds and it can lead to increased risk for injury when jumping, climbing stairs, or exercising vigorously. Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap slips out of place and it can lead to pain, early arthritis, and even lameness in the affected limb. Another bone disease affecting the Dachshund is osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. This condition is most common in wire-haired Dachshunds.
In addition to bone and joint problems, the Dachshund has a high risk for certain hereditary problems like epilepsy, Cushing’s syndrome, and eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA cases progressive loss of vision due to abnormal cell growth within the eye. Other eye problems known to affect Dachshunds include cataracts, glaucoma, and sudden acquired retinal degeneration. This condition causes sudden blindness and its exact cause is unknown, though it is thought to be related to autoimmune activity – it may also be secondary to Cushing’s syndrome, a condition caused by the overproduction of cortisol.
The Doberman Pinscher is a large-breed dog known for its muscular build and intimidating appearance. These dogs are often used as guard dogs due to their intelligence and guarding instincts but they can also be loyal companions. The Doberman Pinscher has a fairly short lifespan averaging between 10 and 11 years and it is prone to a number of significant health problems including dilated cardiomyopathy, cervical vertebral instability, and von Wllebrand’s disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart condition in which the heart’s chambers become overstretched so they can’t pump blood effectively. Often, owners of dogs with DCM don’t even realize something is wrong until their dog collapses. Von Willebrand’s disease is a bleeding disorder caused by a deficiency in von Willebrand Factor (vWF). This condition results in poor blood clotting ability which means that the dog may bleed profusely even with minor injuries.
Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) is an inherited condition more commonly known as Wobbler’s syndrome. This condition is caused by a malformation of the vertebrae in the neck which puts increased pressure on the spinal cord, leading to weakness and loss of coordination. The disease may progress to muscle wasting and complete paralysis. Other less serious conditions known to affect the Doberman Pinscher include hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and canine compulsive disorder. This breed may also have an increased risk for prostatic diseases like prostatic cysts, prostatic adenocarcinoma, bacterial prostatitis, and benign hyperplasia.
The Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized breed known for its long coat and floppy ears. These dogs were originally developed as hunting dogs but today they are more commonly kept as companion animals. Cocker Spaniels have a short lifespan for a dog their size, around 10 years, and they are prone to a number of serious health problems including ear infections, eye problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and obesity. The Cocker Spaniel is a compact breed, so it is naturally built a little bit heavier than other breeds of its size. This, combined with overfeeding and lack of exercise, can quickly lead to obesity. Obesity not only increases your dog’s risk for developing other serious health problems, but it can also shorten his lifespan.
In addition to obesity, Cocker Spaniels have a high risk for ear infections because their ears are floppy and covered with fur. In addition to ear infections, Cocker Spaniels have an increased risk for otitis externa, or inflammation of the ear canal. This condition can lead to extreme inflammation and irritation as well as pus-like discharge and foul odor. Treatment typically involves flushing the ear with an antibacterial solution and treating the inflammation with medication. Some of the eye problems known to affect the Cocker Spaniel include progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile cataracts, glaucoma, and lens luxation. Lens luxation occurs when the lens of the eye becomes displaced
Dogs like cocker spaniels with floppy, furry ears are prone to frequent ear infections. The best way to prevent ear infections is to clean your dog’s ears every couple of weeks and occasionally flip her ears back to let them ‘breathe’. Also trim any hair growing on the underside of the ears with clippers to help keep the ear canals dry. Minimizing the frequency of ear infections may also prevent major problems down the road.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a toy breed known for its long, silky coat and its lively personality. These little dogs can live to be 15 years or older, though they are prone to developing certain health problems. Some of the most common health problems seen in the Yorkshire Terrier breed include portosystemic shunt (PSS), tracheal collapse, patellar luxation, and various eye problems. Portosystemic shunt is a blood vessel birth defect that may cause poor growth, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. The portal vein carries toxins from the intestines to the liver where the toxins are removed – with PSS, however, the vein bypasses the liver, and toxins aren’t removed. PSS can be corrected with surgery, and the dog will go on to live a normal, healthy life.
Patellar luxation is a musculoskeletal problem that causes the kneecap to slip out of place. This wears away the cartilage in the knee, causing joint pain as well as early arthritis. In mild cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be enough to treat the inflammation but serious cases may require surgical correction. Some of the eye problems known to affect the Yorkshire Terrier include cataracts, distichiasis, and retinal dysplasia. Cataracts are characterized by a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts usually develop slowly and they can lead to total blindness. Surgical options may be available to correct the cataracts but, if not, most dogs adapt well to blindness.
The Golden Retriever is a large-breed dog known for its beautiful golden coat and friendly personality. These dogs are extremely popular because they are skilled at hunting and also make wonderful family pets. The Golden Retriever has an average lifespan around 11 to 12 years and it is prone to a number of health problems including hip dysplasia, heart disease, osteochondritis, and various forms of cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Golden Retrievers with the most common types being hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors and osteosarcoma. Hip dysplasia affects more than 30% of Golden Retrievers and eye problems are also fairly common.
Some of the most common heart problems seen in Golden Retrievers include subvalvular aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy. Osteochondritis is a painful condition affecting the joints and it can affect the bones in the legs as well as the spine. In addition to these health problems, Golden Retrievers may also suffer from food allergies which can manifest in the form of skin problems. If your dog’s allergies are not treated, you may observe constant licking or chewing at the skin which can lead to hot spots, a type of red oozing sore.
The Poodle is an intelligent breed known for its curly coat. Poodles come in three different sizes – standard, miniature, and toy – and each size has its own set of health problems. The most common conditions affecting the Standard Poodle are Addison’s disease, thyroid problems, and gastric dilation volvulus. The Miniature and Toy Poodles are prone to kidney problems, Cushing’s syndrome, and hypothyroidism. Cushing’s syndrome is an endocrine condition affecting the adrenal glands which leads to the overproduction of the cortisol hormone. This condition can lead to excessing urination, panting, loss of muscle tone, and thinning of the skin.
Addison’s disease also affects the adrenal glands, causing a deficiency in the production of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. Symptoms of Addison’s disease may include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea. Because these symptoms are common to many diseases, many dogs with Addison’s go undiagnosed for a long period of time. If not properly treated, Addison’s disease can cause fatal potassium/sodium imbalances. In addition to these problems, Poodles are also prone to various eye problems like glaucoma. Glaucoma is a buildup of fluid in the eye, which causes pressure, pain, and eventually blindness. If caught early, glaucoma can be treated with medications but surgery and even removal of the affected eye may be necessary for serious cases.
The Rottweiler is a large-breed dog known for its black-and-tan coloration and its muscular build. These dogs are friendly by nature but they have an intimidating appearance and protective instincts that make it a popular breed for guarding. As a large-breed dog, the Rottweiler is prone to certain health problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia as well as gastric dilation volvulus. Rottweilers are also prone to osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). OCD is a condition that develops in large, fast-growing puppies in which the cartilage in a joint doesn’t form properly.
Other conditions known to affect the Rottweiler breed include obesity, cancer, arthritis, and parvovirus. Rottweilers are not an overly active breed but they still require daily exercise in order to prevent obesity. Once your dog becomes obese it can be difficult for him to lose weight and he has a higher risk for developing other health problems like diabetes. Parvovirus is a condition that most dogs are vaccinated against but unvaccinated Rottweilers seem to have a higher risk for catching the disease than other breeds. This condition is most commonly seen in puppies and younger dogs and it is both highly contagious and very deadly. To protect your Rottweiler against this disease, make sure to have him vaccinated properly.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a small-breed dog, as the name would suggest, and it has a salt-and-pepper coat with a square build and long facial hair. This breed generally lives between 12 and 14 years and it is generally healthy. Like all dogs, however, the Miniature Schnauzer is prone to developing certain problems like hyperlipidemia, pancreatitis, diabetes, bladder stones, and eye problems. Any dog can develop diabetes, but miniature schnauzers seem to be at higher risk. Diabetes is a serious condition that is particularly dangerous in obese dogs, but it can be treated with insulin injections and dietary changes. Some of the most common signs of diabetes in dogs include increased urination, excessive thirst, weight loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
Hyperlipidemia is characterized by elevated lipid levels in the blood and it can increase your dog’s risk for pancreatitis. In the early stages, hyperlipidemia often does not product any symptoms but as it develops, it can cause vision problems, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. Bladder stones are very common in dogs, especially in the Miniature Schnauzer breed. They are usually caused by an excess of minerals in the urine which form crystals that harden into bladder stones. There are several types of bladder stones and treatment options vary depending on the size, location, and type of stone.
The Chihuahua is a toy breed dog known for its small size and big personality. These little dogs exhibit several different types and colors of coat, they also come in different sizes. The Chihuahua has a very long lifespan averaging 15 to 20 years and, because it is one of the oldest breeds out there, it is not affected by many congenital conditions.
The health problems to which the Chihuahua is most prone include obesity, hydrocephalus, moleras, hypoglycemia, and collapsed trachea. Chihuahuas can sometimes be picky eaters but it is important to feed them a healthy diet and to limit their consumption of treats and table scraps. Obesity is very dangerous for Chihuahuas because all of the extra weight can put serious strain on their bones and joints.
Hydrocephalus is a painful condition resulting from abnormal accumulations of spinal fluid in the brain which can lead to increased cranial pressure. This may cause convulsions, tunnel vision, and various mental deficits. Moleras are soft spots on the skull that many Chihuahuas are born with. In most cases, the molera fills in as the dog ages, but you need to be very careful with the dog’s head until it is at least 6 months old. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is especially dangerous for Chihuahua puppies – it can even lead to coma or death. Signs of hypoglycemia include lethargy, loss of coordination, unfocused eyes, and spasms. So its very important to feed them the best dog food for chihuahuas and the owners should know when its tired.
The Pomeranian is a Spitz-type toy breed known for its fluffy coat and tail. This breed has a lifespan of 12 to 16 years and it is generally very healthy. Many of the health problems to which this breed is prone can be prevented with proper cleaning of the eyes, ears and teeth. Other problems, however, result from the dog’s small build. Some of the most common problems seen in the Pomeranian breed include patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, alopecia, and hypothyroidism. With collapsed trachea, the cartilage that normally holds the trachea open is weak, so the trachea flattens. Some dogs go their whole lives with collapsing trachea and have no problems from it while others require medication.
Alopecia X is the type of alopecia most commonly seen in Pomeranians. This is a condition that causes gradual loss of coat color and thickness and it usually manifests when the dog is very young. In many cases, this condition is caused by the excess production of sex hormones, so having the dog spayed or neutered may help with recovery. Oral melatonin supplements and changes to the diet may also be helpful for treatment. This condition is more commonly seen in males than females and it can be inherited from the parent.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a medium-sized breed known for its spotted coat and its hunting ability. This breed is generally very healthy, but it is prone to several inherited conditions including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, skin disorders, and various eye problems. Another condition to which German Shorthaired Pointers are prone is bloat, or gastric dilation volvulus. This occurs when the dog’s abdomen fills with air, causing the stomach to twist on its axis. This results in the restriction of blood flow to the stomach and other internal organs which can be extremely dangerous, even fatal. To prevent bloat, avoid feeding your dog immediately before or after exercise and feed smaller meals.
Another condition known to affect the German Shorthaired Pointer is aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart throughout the dog’s body. Aortic stenosis puts strain on the heart and over time might cause an irregular heart rhythm and lethargy. This condition can be managed with medications but it usually ends up shortening the dog’s lifespan. Certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer, can also shorten the German Shorthaired Pointer’s lifespan significantly.
The Great Dane is one of a few breeds classified as “giant”. These dogs have been known to stand 40 inches tall, or more, and they typically weigh a minimum of 100 pounds. Because they are so large, Great Danes are prone to a number of health problems which leads to a short average lifespan around 8 years. Great Danes are prone to a number of musculoskeletal problems including hip dysplasia as well as heart problems like dilated cardiomyopathy. The Great Dane’s increased risk for heart problems is what lead to its nickname as the “heartbreak breed”.
In addition to hip dysplasia and cardiomyopathy, Great Danes also have an increased risk for Wobbler’s disease, blindness and deafness. In many cases, blindness and deafness in Great Danes are the result of the merle gene – this gene is an incomplete dominant, so when a dog is born with two copies of the gene it has a high risk for deafness, blindness, or other serious eye problems. Wobbler’s disease, on the other hand, is caused by rapid growth rate. When Great Dane puppies grow too quickly, the bones in their vertebrae start to push against the spinal cord, causing weakness in the legs. This sometimes goes away once the dog is done growing but some cases require surgical correction.
The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a medium-sized dog known for its intelligence and its long, fluffy coat. These dogs look like miniature Collies and they are prone to many of the same health problems, especially “collie eye anomaly”. Collie eye anomaly is actually a group of related eye conditions that affect the retina and the optic nerve. In mild cases, there may be no loss of vision at all but moderate to severe cases often lead to blindness. Unfortunately there is no treatment for collie eye anomaly but many dogs adapt well to blindness.
Other conditions known to affect the Sheltie breed include hypothyroidism, epilepsy, skin allergies, and transitional cell carcinoma. Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer of the bladder that can cause difficulty urinating, bloody urine, and urinary incontinence. In many cases, this condition is caused by the use of certain flea-control products that are made with cyclophosphamide, organophosphates, or carbamate. This condition can spread quickly and it usually cannot be treated with surgical removal of the tumors. Inserting a tube to prevent urethral blockage can increase the lifespan for the dog and radiotherapy is typically more effective than chemotherapy.
The Maltese is a small-breed dog known for its silky white coat. These little dogs have a lifespan around 12 to 15 years when fed a healthy diet and given plenty of exercise. Still, this breed is prone to certain health problems including patellar luxation, portosystemic shunt, eye problems, and Little White Shaker Syndrome. This disease causes tremors particularly in dogs that are white and it is caused by inflammation in the cerebellum. This condition is generally not painful for the dog and it can be treated with corticosteroids – most dogs recover in a matter of weeks.
Some of the eye problems most likely to affect this breed include glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. Both of these conditions have the potential to result in blindness, though many dogs adapt well to a loss of vision. Maltese dogs also frequently suffer from tracheal collapse due to narrow airways that can cause difficulty breathing. It is best to use a harness when walking Maltese dogs because it will prevent pressure from being placed on the neck which could collapse the trachea. Another problem commonly seen in this breed is periodontal disease. This is usually a result of the dog’s mouth being so small which causes the teeth to become crowded.
The Boston Terrier is a small-breed dog known for its black-and-white coloration as well as its friendly personality. These dogs typically live 11 to 15 years, though they are prone to a number of health problems which could lead to a shortened lifespan. Some of the conditions most likely to affect this breed include juvenile cataracts, heart murmur, mast cell tumors, allergies and patellar luxation. In many cases, patellar luxation in this breed is secondary to a curvature of the back known as roaching. This may cause the dog to lean forward on its front legs which can cause patella problems with the hind legs.
Heart murmur is an abnormal heart sound that is caused by blood flowing into, through, or out of one or more chambers of the heart. This is not a disease, just a sound, but it can be an indication of heart problems. Because of their protruding eyes, Boston Terriers are also susceptible to a number of eye problems including cherry eye, juvenile cataracts, and glaucoma. In cherry eye, a tear-producing gland pops out from behind the dog’s third eyelid. It’s called cherry eye because the gland is round and bright red. This condition can usually be treated surgically.
The French Bulldog is a small-breed dog known for its compact body and pushed-in face. Like the English Bulldog, the French Bulldog has a fairly short lifespan for a dog of its size, largely due to the shape of its face. French Bulldog’s have a combination of features including an elongated soft palate, a pushed-in nose, and narrow trachea which can lead to serious breathing problems. This set of conditions is known collectively as brachycephalic airway syndrome. Extreme heat or too much exercise can cause a French bulldog to struggle to breathe, so it’s best to keep him indoors on hot days.
In addition to brachycephalic airway syndrome, the French Bulldog is also prone to orthopedic problems like patellar luxation, chondrodysplasia, and congenital hemivertebrae. Chondrodysplasia is another name for dwarfism and it is the leading cause of orthopedic problems among French Bulldogs. Congenital hemivertibrae, or “butterfly vertebrae”, are spinal malformations which can cause compression of the spinal cord which can lead to instability. Because this condition is inherited, French Bulldog breeders are encouraged to perform thorough DNA tests before breeding – MRI and CT scans can also be used to detect spinal anomalies in breeding stock.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a toy breed known for its friendly temperament and long, furry ears. These dogs live to an average of 9 to 14 years when not affected by major health problems. Unfortunately, many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels develop mitral valve disease which can significantly reduce the life expectancy. Mitral Valve Disease most commonly affects older dogs, but Cavalier King Charles Spaniels frequently develop it while they are young. This conditions occurs when the valve between the left atrium and ventricle doesn’t close tightly, allowing blood to leak backward when the heart pumps. This leads to excess strain on the heart which can produce symptoms like lethargy and coughing. Fortunately, this condition can be managed with medication.
Other conditions to which the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone include syringomyelia, hip dysplasia, and certain health and hearing problems. Syringomyelia is a condition that affects the brain and spine, causing symptoms ranging from mild pain to paralysis. This condition is caused by a malformation in the back of the skull which reduces the amount of space available for the brain. This, in turn, leads to compression and herniation of the brain through the opening into the dog’s spinal cord. Unfortunately, this condition is often asymptomatic which makes it hard to diagnose.
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