Larger breeds with deep chests like German shepherds are prone to bloating. Picture: Reuters
Larger breeds with deep chests like German shepherds are prone to bloating. Picture: Reuters

8 of the most popular dog breeds and the most common health issues they face

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Aug 19, 2021

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It’s essential to know about these most common health issues your dog may face so that you can be an informed and proactive pet owner.

You may want to pick a dog breed based on how cute you think their squished faces or golden coats are, their ability to pick up new tricks or their beautiful personalities, but your research should extend beyond these superficial factors.

After all, most pure-breds have a myriad of health issues that they are genetically predisposed to. Thinking about these long term problems as well as how capable you are of handling them is the kindest, most thoughtful thing you can do for your future pet.

This list of the most popular dog breeds outlines some of the most common health issues that they may face. From labs to dachshunds, every dog is different. However, a good pet owner who is clued up on any possible ailments their dog may have will make all the difference in a pet's life.

Eight of the most popular dog breeds and the most common health issue they face:

Retrievers (Labrador and Golden)

Julissa Helmuth/pexels

Cataracts – A white or yellow cloudy film that clouds the eye and obscures vision, this is as a result of a genetic or hereditary defect.

Hypothyroidism – Low thyroid activity resulting in bodily functions slowing down leading to weight gain, lethargy and skin or fur coat changes.

Bloating – Larger breeds with deep chests like retrievers are prone to bloating, the buildup of gas, fluid and food in the stomach, causing the stomach to twist on itself cutting off blood supply to the stomach and spleen. The build-up also puts excess pressure on other organs.

Ear Infections – Labs have ears that droop downwards which limits the opportunity for good airflow that typically helps to prevent the harbouring of bacteria, yeast or ear mites which causes infections and inflammation.

French Bulldogs/Bulldogs

Martin Dufosset/pexels

Ear Infections – Due to their squashed faces, bulldogs have narrowed ear canals which create a moist environment that breeds and traps bacteria that causes infections.

IBS issues – The most common reason Frenchies have sensitive stomachs is due to food allergies and Irritable Bowel Syndrome which causes the intestinal lining to become overrun with immune system cells, thickening the intestinal lining and, in turn, affecting their ability to adequately absorb nutrients.

Conjunctivitis – This dog breed is genetically predisposed to eyelid abnormalities making them prone to pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis. This is the inflammation of the front eyeball tissue. Not to mention, their shorter snouts mean that bumping into objects and hurting and scratching their eyes is far more common. This leads to infection.

Skinfold problems – Some dog breeds have extra skin and wrinkles that occur naturally due to variation. Skinfold dermatitis and pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) are caused by trapped moisture and germs that cause skin infections and irritation.

Breathing problems – They suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), an inherited defect that gives them their cute squished appearance. However, their obstructed airways leave them prone to overheating, shortness of breath and snoring.

German shepherd

Igor Ferreira/pexels

Bloating – Larger breeds with deep chests like German shepherds are prone to bloating, the buildup of gas, fluid and food in the stomach, causing the stomach to twist on itself cutting off blood supply to the stomach and spleen. The build-up also puts excess pressure on other organs.

Hip Dysplasia – This is a genetic disorder and skeletal condition that makes the hip sockets too loose, resulting in the femur causing damage. It is quite common in large breeds. However, factors such as excessive growth rate, certain types of exercise, and improper diet and weight can worsen it.

Elbow Dysplasia – This condition causes the elbow to develop abnormally. It is usually genetic and occurs due to overcompensation of the elbow joint resulting in damage to the cartilage.

Epilepsy – German shepherds are susceptible to seizures, a disruption in the brain’s functioning that causes fits and convulsions. The most common cause in this breed is idiopathic epilepsy, a genetic disorder.

Haemophilia – This is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by a lack of the coagulation factor VIII (F8), a protein necessary for blood clotting.

Diabetes – Type 1 and 2 diabetes make it unable for your pet’s body to efficiently process glucose and generate it into fuel for the body ultimately leading to high sugar levels.

Poodles

Skyler Ewing/pexels

Hip Dysplasia – Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder that happens when a Poodle's hip joint becomes weak or deteriorates the cartilage around it.

Epilepsy – Poodles mostly experience idiopathic epilepsy, which means the cause is unknown. If both parents pass the recessive gene to their puppies, it will occur. It affects all breeds – toy, miniature, and standard.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – PRA is a late-onset inherited cause of blindness in dogs caused by a group of degenerative diseases that affect photoreceptor cells in the eyes. It is a result of a genetic mutation.

Addison's Disease – Poodles are predisposed to this disease which attacks the adrenal cortex and the outer layer of the glands. This leads to the body's inability to produce these key hormones. It presents with a range of symptoms and is therefore very hard to diagnose.

Thyroid Issues – Poodles are prone to hypothyroidism in which the body doesn't make enough thyroid hormone. Hair loss, dull coat, lethargy, obesity and exercise intolerance are symptoms of a thyroid problem in dogs.

Beagles

Tyler De Sousa/pexels

Allergies – Genetically, Beagles are likely to have both seasonal and food-related allergies that often manifest themselves as skin irritations (dandruff and rashes). Their feet, belly, skin folds and ears are most affected.

Distichiasis – Distichiasis is a common condition where eyelashes in dogs grow in an unusual area, extending from the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin. The condition is seen as hereditary in certain breeds. It may cause redness, irritation, infection and pain.

Cherry eye – The medical term for cherry eye is prolapsed nictitating membrane. Essentially it is when a dog’s third eyelid slips out of place and bulges out. Treatment is essential as it can lead to other more serious problems.

Diabetes – Type 1 and 2 diabetes make it unable for your pet’s body to efficiently process glucose and generate it into fuel for the body ultimately leading to high sugar levels.

Rottweilers

MART PRODUCTION/pexels

Aortic Stenosis – This is a type of heart disease that causes a narrowing in the aortic valve of the heart. Overcompensation can have a number of harmful effects on the heart, leading to muscle failure and other complications.

Hip and elbow dysplasia – Dysplasia is an abnormal growth that can make moving around very painful. In Rottweilers, it can render a healthy, active dog disabled in severe cases.

Entropion – This is an abnormal inward rolling of the eyelids. Greater issues usually occur when the eyelids roll inward to the point where the eyelashes or fur rub on the cornea.

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – A cruciate ligament rupture makes the knee joint unstable, resulting in lameness. This damage may happen over time, gradually weakening the ligaments as a result of repeated injury or arthritic disease.

Pointers (German Shorthaired)

Helena Lopes/pexels

Dental Disease – Pointers are more likely to get dental disease than other dogs although it is a common occurrence. It begins with plaque buildup that causes infection in the gums and roots. Your pet may be in danger of losing teeth as well as having damage to their organs – kidneys, liver, heart.

Juvenile Cellulitis – Also known by the name “puppy strangles”, this condition occurs early on and may affect more than one pup in a litter. It is a skin condition that results in swelling and inflammation of the face and of the lymph nodes under the jaw. However, steroid treatment is very effective.

Hypoadrenocorticism – This is also known as Addison's Disease which is an endocrine system disorder that occurs in the adrenal gland causing the body to not produce enough of certain hormones. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, weight loss, vomiting and bloody stools.

Bloat – Larger breeds with deep chests like Pointers are prone to bloating, the buildup of gas, fluid and food in the stomach, causing the stomach to twist on itself cutting off blood supply to the stomach and spleen. The build-up also puts excess pressure on other organs.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia – This genetic disorder results in damage to the joints/sockets. It is quite common in large breeds. This condition causes bones to develop abnormally resulting in overcompensation of the joint resulting in damage to the cartilage.

Dachshunds

Dominika Roseclay/pexels dachshund

Intervertebral Disc Disease – Back issues in dachshunds are hereditary, affecting up to 20% of this breed. This issue causes back pain, mobility problems, and in more severe cases paralysis

Patella Luxation – Essentially this is a dislocated kneecap that shifts out of its usual rhythm. The dog will therefore have difficulty bearing weight and may lead to other injuries.

Hip dysplasia – This genetic disorder results in damage to the joints/sockets. It is quite common in large breeds. This condition causes bones to develop abnormally resulting in overcompensation of the joint resulting in damage to the cartilage.

Obesity – Dachshunds are prone to obesity, which can cause diabetes in this breed. This is partially due to their shorter legs that make getting enough exercise sometimes difficult for them.

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