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


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Doberman Pinschers is a challenging disease in which to identify dogs that will develop a severe case and die, and those that will be mildly affected despite testing positive in genetic screening.

Advances in research of hemangio­sarcoma in Golden Retrievers are helping to identify risk factors for the extremely aggressive and highly malignant canine cancer. The findings may one day be used to identify risk factors in other breeds. Additionally, studies looking at the biochemical pathways that control the cancer may shed light on ways to genetically alter these pathways and eliminate the risk of death from the cancer.

When it comes to keeping canine athletes healthy, happy and injury-free, professional retriever trainer Mike Lardy of Handjem Kennels in Montello, Wisconsin, believes prevention is the best medicine.

Canine brucellosis can wipe out a kennel. The highly contagious reproductive disease can cause infertility, abortions and stillbirths in dogs. Many states require kennels infected with brucellosis to quarantine, sterilize or euthanize affected dogs — all causing an enormous emotional and economic toll.

"This disease brought total ruin to one breeder we worked with to the point she had to depopulate her entire kennel," says Lin Kauffman, D.V.M., a faculty clinician at the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa.

Exceptionally long-lived Rottweilers — those that live to be 13 years of age and older — are providing important clues about successful aging. These "oldest-old" Rottweilers have lived at least 30 percent longer than the average for their breed.

Hydrocephalus literally means “water on the brain.” Chihuahuas and some other toy breeds are predisposed to this serious condition in which “water,” or actually cerebro­spinal fluid, builds up pressure in the brain causing brain damage and often early death. The drug omeprazole is now being used successfully in dogs to improve this condition by reducing fluid production. 

“This is a special dog,” says Fred Kampo of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, referring to the black Labrador Retriever he calls “Stinger.”

While everyone likes to think his or her Lab is special, Kampo’s perspective is broader than most. A member of the Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame, inducted in 2012, Kampo is president of The Labrador Retriever Club, the American Kennel Club parent club of the Labrador Retriever.

For the past three decades, there has been a trend toward early spaying and neutering of dogs for reasons such as avoiding unwanted breeding and reducing some diseases such as mammary and prostate cancers. Some people believe that spaying and neutering helps to avoid behavioral problems. The impact has been dramatic, with an estimated 85 percent of dogs in the U.S.1 currently being spayed or neutered.

A 1-year-old Rottweiler puppy, "Kaiser," was playing rambunctiously in the backyard with another dog. Owner Janice Deojay vividly recalls Kaiser's painful cry.

"I heard him yelp," says Deojay, who breeds under the Von Janger prefix in Thompson, Pa. "I went out to the yard, and he came limping toward me."

An avid participant and judge of hunting tests, Noel Cacchio knows a great deal about training Cocker Spaniels to find, flush and retrieve game. She does not know a lot about lumps on dogs, especially if the dog appears healthy.

When Cacchio felt a lump on the throat of her Senior Hunter Cocker Spaniel, Dungarvan Harmony's Spirit, WDX, JH, SH, CD ("Spirit"), she wasted no time getting the dog into the veterinarian. The 5-year-old bitch wasn't acting sick, so Cacchio thought the lump was a reaction from a bee sting. Still, she wanted to know for certain that Spirit was OK.

Angie Johnson, D.V.M., of Kodiak, Alaska, knew immediately when she felt a bulge on her 8-year-old fawn Great Dane's lower right foreleg last May that it could be bone cancer. As a veterinarian at the Kodiak Veterinary Clinic, Johnson was aware that the bump warranted having a radiograph taken.

Just like clockwork, exactly one year and a day after tearing his left cruciate ligament, “Reggie,” a 7-year-old fast-moving male Rottweiler, whose namesake is NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White, tore his right cruciate ligament.

The injury happened as Reggie (CH Esmonds Yield No Yards) made a sharp turn while chasing his buddy, 8-year-old “Coach” (Select AM/ CAN CH Esmonds V T Lombardi Vanstone RE RL2 TT HIC RTD). As Coach trotted on, Reggie limped in pain, while his owners winced in pain, knowing what lies ahead.