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


When a German Shepherd Dog experiences idiopathic diarrhea and vomiting, veterinarians generally suspect canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is because the breed is predisposed to the chronic gastrointestinal condition. A disease that occurs more commonly in middle-aged large-breed dogs, IBD cannot be cured. Veterinarians manage the condition using medications to address the signs.

When her 9-year-old Scottish Terrier, "Frankie," began frequently straining to urinate, Laurie Hoffman of Schereville, Ind., recognized the potential seriousness of the condition. "Immediately a red flag went up in my head because I knew Scottish Terriers have a high incidence of bladder cancer," she says.

Twenty-seven years later, Sandy Jessop still remembers her Siberian Husky "Dax" battling inflammatory bowel disease. At 18 months of age, Dax, who was Jessop's first Siberian Husky, began having chronic soft stools and losing weight, classic signs of the gastrointestinal disease.

The veterinarian suspected inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disorder first recognized in dogs around the time Dax was diagnosed. Resolving the diarrhea and finding an appropriate diet that Dax could tolerate was a long, difficult process.

Performing brilliantly over 10 challenging series of multiple land and water marks and blinds, a 9-year-old black Labrador Retriever named “Roxie” stylishly won the 2015 National Amateur Retriever Championship. NAFC-FC Hardscrabble Roxie McBunn gave owner-handler Bill Benson of Northfield, Illinois, his first National win that day last June in Ronan, Montana.

Researchers studying exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), a disease in which food is not properly digested and absorbed, believe that the condition may have a complex mode of inheritance. Prevalent in German Shepherd Dogs, Rough-Coated Collies and Chow Chows, EPI affects more than 100 breeds.

Among the most concerning health conditions to breeders and owners of Doberman Pinschers are genetic conditions, such as wobbler syndrome, and the complex heart disease, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Organizers of the Health Night Seminar, held Oct. 4 at the 87th annual Dober­man Pinscher Club of America (DPCA) National Specialty in Fort Mitchell, Ky., invited prominent veterinary researchers to discuss their advances in better understanding these diseases plus others that affect Dobermans.

Hypothyroidism, the end stage of lymphocytic thyroiditis, or auto­immune thyroid disease, is the most common endocrine disorder in dogs. Considered a hereditary condition, hypothyroidism affects virtually all dog breeds and even mixed breeds. 

When her 4-week-old miniature Dachshund puppy “Piper” was diagnosed with megaesophagus, Pam Giles of Des Moines, Iowa, began learning all she could about the potentially fatal congenital condition. Although the miniature Dachshund enthusiast had competed with her dogs in conformation, obedience, rally, agility, earthdog, and field trials for nearly 10 years, she had never heard of the condition. 

Though Dachshunds are not among the breeds considered at high risk for developing the cancer hemangiosarcoma, concerned breeders and owners, along with the Dachshund Club of America (DCA), are taking steps to increase awareness and collect DNA samples to support ongoing research.

Collaborative research, involving key canine cancer researchers, is focusing on developing markers to help diagnose and guide cancer treatment. A two-year, $1.06 million study, funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Golden Retriever Foundation, is based on newly discovered heritable and acquired mutations. Although the investigation primarily involves Golden Retrievers, a breed in which 20 percent of dogs die from hemangiosarcoma, the findings are expected to apply to all dog breeds. 

The recent discovery of the gene mutation that causes a crippling dwarfism in Miniature Poodles, and the subsequent development of a direct DNA test to identify carriers, represents a successful collaboration between breeders and researchers. 

When a 4-year-old gold and white Long-Coat Chihuahua, GB/LUX CH Deeruss Flashmoon at Bally broke, collapsed from muscle weakness and an in ability to balance on his legs in December 2006, his co-owners and longtime Chihuahua enthusiasts were baffled. “Flash” represented excellent breed type and was a prominent stud dog. 

I bred Flash earlier that day, and he was fine,” says Darwin Delaney of Dartan Chihuahuas in Essexville, Mich. “The next thing I knew, he was down.”