Dog Health

Dog Health

Uncover dog breed-specific health information, including common hereditary and health concerns, prevention tactics, and breakthroughs in treatments. Read our dog health articles below.

Dog Articles


SilverHill Rottweiler breeder Cathy Rubens is no stranger to subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), one of the most common congenital heart diseases in dogs.

“No matter how carefully I study pedigrees and try not to produce dogs with this heartbreaking disease, I can’t stop SAS,” says Rubens, of Apex, North Carolina. “After breeding six generations of healthy cardiology-certified dogs, I am still getting SAS. I made a European cross in the hopes that it would resolve the problem, but it did not.”

After years of Rottweiler rescue work, Julie McKeever of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., bought a male puppy from a breeder. She loved the breed’s intelligence and desire to learn, so she began training “Hemi” in obedience and rally. Not long after Hemi earned Companion Dog and Rally Novice titles, he had a seizure at the age of 2. 

Efforts to learn more about two genetic conditions affecting terrier breeds may one day help breeders reduce the disease incidence of degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) in Norfolk Terriers and Scottie Cramp in Scottish Terriers. Here is an overview of the research studies.

Dachshund owner Charlotte Borghardt remembers clearly the morning her 7-year-old Miniature Longhaired Dachshund “Lucky” (Teckelhof’s Skylark v. Sugardachs RE CGCA) couldn’t get up from her bed to eat breakfast. Instead of eagerly running to her food bowl, the normally energetic Doxie moaned and shivered in pain.

“I suspected intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) right away,” says Borghardt, chair of the Dachshund Club of America Health Committee.

As researchers learn more about cleft palate defects and degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD), two inherited conditions that affect some toy breeds, breeders may one day be able to reduce disease incidence. Here is a review of the research.

While there is no cure for canine osteosarcoma or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), researchers are focusing on promising new treatments. Recent advancements in treating osteosarcoma may spare limbs and extend life for dogs affected by this painful cancer. Likewise, genetic discovery of polymorphisms causing IBD in German Shepherd Dogs may lead to new treatments. Here are snapshots of the research.

Killing Cancer Cells

Researchers studying canine diseases are helping to advance treatments that potentially will offer dogs a better prognosis. Here, we highlight research using stem-cell therapy to treat dogs with spinal cord injuries; two studies focusing on chronic active hepatitis (CAH); and research defining heat stress in brachycephalic breeds.

Stem-Cell Study Aids Spinal Cord Injuries

Tick populations are at an all-time high this year, experts say. Dogs are particularly susceptible to ticks — and thus tick-borne diseases — because they spend a lot of time outdoors and are low to the ground where ticks live. Since ticks do not usually transmit disease until 24 to 48 hours after attachment, owners can help prevent illness by promptly removing ticks. 

When her Bearded Collie, "Maggie" (Alashaw's Up and At Em,' OA, OAJ, NAC, OJC, CGC) collapsed, Jenny Scheytt of Sterling Heights, Mich., knew something was wrong, so she took the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic. Though the emergency veterinarian who treated Maggie had not seen many cases of Addison's disease, he recognized the possibility partly because Bearded Collies are among the affected breeds.

On a sunny spring day in West Trenton, N.J., owners of more than 100 Cocker Spaniels, ages 6 months to 16 years, brought them to play together and sample frosty treats, while they enjoyed an ice cream social and auction fundraiser. Many had traveled hundreds of miles. Behind the fun was an eye examination and blood draw clinic that one day may lead to a DNA test for hereditary cataracts in Cocker Spaniels.

Glaucoma can happen fast.

Fast is exactly the way Harold Watson of Florence, South Carolina, recalls glaucoma affecting his 9-year-old tricolor Cocker “Cody” (CH Kamps Palmtree’s Dress Code). “All of a sudden one evening, Cody was rubbing his face, and his eye immediately turned gray and cloudy,” he says.

Diligent breeders regularly health test their breeding stock before including them in planned litters. Eye examinations, one of the required tests for all varieties of Poodle to obtain Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification, are important to identify vision disorders such as optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), micropapilla (Mp) and juvenile cataracts.