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


Owners of Standard Poodles diagnosed with chronic active hepatitis (CAH) commonly describe early signs of the disease — poor appetite, intermittent vomiting and lethargy — that could fit several disorders. Many times, owners do not learn their dog has CAH until the disease progresses to a severe condition.

When her bitch, CH Rocket City's Angel Among Us, gained 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, Pat Rzonca of New Caney, Texas, didn't think too much about it. Rzonca, who has bred Bulldogs under the Rocket City prefix since 1998 and is an AKC judge, knows that a bitch's weight gain in the later stages of gestation relates partly to the number of puppies she carries.

When Karen Moriello bought 3-year-old "Lefty," a male yellow Labrador Retriever, she hoped to provide a loving home in Brooklyn, Wis., for a dog who could no longer compete in field trials due to exercise-induced hyperthermia. Lefty enjoyed hunting recreationally with Moriello and her husband, but a year after moving to Wisconsin, the dog developed an irritating skin disease.

Most Dalmatian breeders and owners recognize the signs of urinary stones. Dogs suffering with stones have difficulty urinating. When they produce urine, it appears dark and thick like honey. Extreme dehydration is common.

Hardworking dogs know the natural stress that comes from competing in field trials and hunting. In fact, virtually all dog sports involve stress related to travel, being in unknown surroundings and a change in routine. These stressors challenge dogs and potentially could shortchange their performance if not managed properly.

Professional trainer and handler George Hickox of Pittsburgh, Pa., knows well the importance of managing stress in his pointing and flushing dogs. "I am on the road extensively with my dogs, traveling to clinics and hunting destinations," he says.

Few Cocker Spaniel owners recognize the signs of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), though the breed has an increased risk for developing the fast-acting, potentially fatal illness. A disease in which a dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the oxygen-carrying red blood cells, IMHA is a major cause of severe anemia.

A dedicated Siberian Husky enthusiast who enjoys conditioning and working her dogs for sledding sports, Karen Yeargain of Prineville, Oregon, frequently posts pictures of her winning sprint and mid-distance racing dogs. The powerful, muscular dogs stand out against beautiful snowy mountainous scenery. Yeargain’s pride is seen in her smile.

Experience can be helpful when it comes to recognizing and managing ocular diseases in Shih Tzus. Just ask Lila Pontius of D'Lilas Shih Tzu in Bunnell, Fla. After 10 years as a breeder, she has seen enough to know readily when her dogs are not seeing all they should be.

Despite living in Norway, an ocean and a continent away from the U.S., Line Leret manages the website for the Health & Genetics Committee of the Papillon Club of America. A recent posting - and one that Leret takes to heart - is a request for blood samples from Papillons diagnosed with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited eye disorder that can lead to blindness.

Seeing a beloved canine companion lose control of his body, suffer spasms and foam at the mouth is a shock for any breeder, especially one who had no idea epilepsy was in the dog's bloodline. When the cause is unidentifiable, which is known as idiopathic epilepsy (IE), it can be even more distressing.

Dalmatian enthusiasts who have attended a regional specialty show or the Dalmatian Club of America National Specialty during the past year may have noticed the blood draw clinics. Dedicated breeders and owners come with their dogs to contribute blood samples that hopefully one day will provide DNA to researchers seeking answers to genetic health conditions affecting the breed.

When an easy-to-use and inexpensive DNA genetic test for centronuclear myopathy (CNM) became available in 2005, it seemed only a matter of years before the debilitating muscle disease in Labrador Retrievers would begin to fade away. The genetic test provided a tool that would allow breeders to selectively choose breeding partners and avoid producing affected puppies. While the numbers of CNM carriers and affected dogs may be somewhat reduced, experts say it is too early to determine exactly how much change has taken place.