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Animal House: Top Five Genetic Problems For Dogs

Dennis Hill
Flickr via Creative Commons

When you get a dog, the canine  comes preloaded with fur, tail wags and love.  Oh, and the possibility of a tricky genetic problem.

  • A recent edition of Clinician's Brief revealed the sometimes surprising top five genetic issues for dogs.
  • At number five is the canine equivalent of an ACL problem in humans, said Matt Fraker from Prairie Oak Veterinary Center. A cranial cruciate rupture in dogs can happen to very athletic animals, but some dogs are just predisposed to the problem.  Surgery is an option when a tear occurs.
  • At number four is myxomatous mitral valve disease, or heart murmur.  Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to this genetic problem.  A dog should have his heart checked regularly to be on the look out for this problem.  Medical management is possible.
  • The number three most common genetic disease is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.  Yep, that's a mouthful, and how!  This  impacts pugs,  English bulldogs and French bulldogs the most, all hugely popular dogs.  These dogs have a flabby soft palate that's too long that can fall like a curtain into the airway when the animal is breathing in. Now, this can be serious, so there's surgical intervention for this.  Find a doctor who specializes in this surgery, if you chose to get it done for your pet.
  • The second most common genetic issue is canine hip dysplasia. This can impact most any dog, but German Shepherds are especially susceptible. Your dog can get a screening X-ray at two years to spot dysplasia.  Keeping your dog trim to help him deal with dysplasia.  Joint supplements,  anti-inflammatories, and hydrotherapy will improve comfort and function.  A joint protective diet helps.  But most of all, keep the weight off your dog.  Surgery could also be an option.
  • Number one is allergic skin diseases.  Going through the trouble of testing for food allergies helps.  Seasonal allergies  often have to be managed chronically for breakouts.  And don't forget to get your pet a flea treatment.  WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution

Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.