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


Canine lymphoma is one of the five most common cancers in dogs. Among the affected breeds, German Shepherd Dogs are considered at high risk. While in the past owners sometimes have been reluctant to treat dogs not knowing whether they would respond to chemotherapy, a new blood test determines dogs that would benefit from treatment and their long-term prognosis.

Cancer, often described as renegade cells growing out of control, is the leading cause of disease related death in dogs. When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, an owner faces uncertainty about the long-term prognosis. Determining the best course of treatment can be challenging. 

Though Shih Tzu are not commonly listed among breeds considered at high risk for developing cancer, they also are not immune to cancer. Here, we take a look at three canine cancers — lymphoma, mammary cancer and oral melanoma — to provide information and insights about research and new treatments. 

Swedish researchers count Golden Retrievers among eight breeds in which 10 percent or more of adult dogs have low blood immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. Low levels of IgA are often accompanied by recurrent infections and autoimmune and allergic diseases just as in humans with IgA deficiency.

A search for a Great Dane puppy for her daughter led Sabrina Wowdzia of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, to a 4-month-old mantle female, the last in a litter of nine to go to a home. Recently diagnosed with megaesophagus, the puppy would need special care and attention to survive. Wowdzia proved to be the right person for the job. When Wowdzia first met “Magic,” she recalls the puppy weighed 14 pounds compared to a normal weight of about 60 pounds at 4 months of age. The veterinarian did not expect Magic to live to be 2 years old even if she received proper care and nutrition.

Breeding Labrador Retrievers is a labor of love for veterinarian Phyllis Giroux of Goldvein, Virginia. She is driven to produce Labradors that can succeed in all venues of competition and service and that are healthy, intelligent members of their families.

Her selection process in choosing sires for dams includes checking their health status on the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database. The centralized CHIC canine health database contains health testing information about individual dogs as well as a DNA Bank Repository for future research.

“Tala,” a singleton Siberian Husky puppy, was only 2 weeks old when breeder Jessica Breinholt of Coalville, Utah, realized the puppy always left a wet spot on her clothing when she held her.

“Tala’s rear end was always wet partly because her dam was always cleaning her,” Breinholt says. “The skin on the inside of her hind legs became inflamed because she was literally leaking urine.”

Though Poodles are not considered a high-risk breed for the autoimmune disease immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), the disorder does occur in all three varieties. A devastating, aggressive disease, IMHA causes death in 30 to 70 percent of affected dogs, with many dying within the first two weeks of diagnosis. 

When pain and lameness in the rear legs struck her 12-week-old mantle Great Dane puppy, "Erik," Mari Lindland was heartbroken. She knew about hypertrophic osteo­dystrophy (HOD), a skeletal disorder affecting rapidly growing large- and giant-breed puppies, but she had never experienced it firsthand.

"The veterinarian examined Erik and took X-rays, which confirmed the diagnosis of hypetrophic osteodystrophy," says Lindland, who breeds Twin Bay Danes in Traverse City, Mich. "Fortunately, the condition was caught early, and we were able to begin treatment with a good prognosis."

“Georgia” was an eight-time Master Agility Champion (MACH) when she was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma on Sept. 10, 2014. The 6 ½-year-old female, the highest-achieving agility Boxer in breed history, took on the aggressive, insidious cancer by earning a ninth MACH title.

When owner-handler Todd Buchla lifted Georgia (MACH9 Cherkei’s Too Hot To Handle, CD, BN, RE, MXS3, MJG3, MXF, TQX, T2B3, CA) to celebrate her victory, the crowd cheered and many cried. The cancer took her life three and a half months later.

Most Dalmatian enthusiasts are proud to tell you that their breed is a healthy, long-lived one. The Dalmatian Club of America (DCA) plans to keep it that way.

Swollen, painful masticatory (chewing) muscles and an inability to open the mouth are clinical signs of the rare disorder masticatory muscle myositis (MMM). Although the condition can occur in any breed, it occurs more commonly in large breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.

A healthy, active Golden Retriever who recently retired from agility competition, "Daphne," at age 8 ½, has earned many titles, including Master Agility Champion, to prove her success: MACH Pine Run A L'il Daph'll DoYa, WC, AAD, OD, ADHF, OF.

Likewise, "Trevor" is a healthy, active Golden Retriever. This 3-year-old, who is working toward becoming a Master Agility Champion, has also earned many noteworthy titles: Emberain Trevolution, PD2, CL3 [MX MXJ XF RA CGC], SPD.