Disease and Popular Dog Breeds

veterinarian doctorOne respon­si­bil­ity that comes along with pet own­er­ship is know­ing what poten­tial health threats your pup may be fac­ing.  This knowl­edge will help inform other choices you make for your canine com­pan­ion, like choos­ing a vet and the food and care you give your dog.

Many dogs suf­fer from mal­adies that afflict spe­cific breeds.  Know­ing what these dis­eases are can help you get a leg up on them and help you pro­vide pre­ven­ta­tive care to your dog.  Below is a par­tial list of dis­eases that affect some of America’s most pop­u­lar breeds.  Always seek a pro­fes­sional veterinarian’s diag­no­sis when your pet has an issue.  The items listed below are for gen­eral aware­ness and in no way sug­gest a self-diagnosis.

Labrador Retriev­ers

  • Hip dys­pla­sia – A mal­for­ma­tion of the hip that can lead to arthri­tis and lameness
  • Gas­tric Tor­sion – Also known as “bloat”
  • Hot Spots – Local­ized, moist, red­dened bac­te­r­ial infec­tions of the skin
  • Pro­gres­sive Reti­nal Degen­er­a­tion – Degen­er­a­tion of cells at the back of the eye that can lead to blindness
  • Heman­giosar­coma – A malig­nant can­cer that forms in the blood vessels

Ger­man Shepherds

  • Gas­tric Torsion
  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Panos­teti­tis – An inflam­ma­tion involv­ing the bones of young dogs
  • Pyo­derma – A bac­te­r­ial infec­tion of the skin
  • Degen­er­a­tive Myelopa­thy – Degen­er­a­tion of the spinal cord that leads to weak­ness and even­tu­ally the inabil­ity to use the rear legs

Golden Retriev­ers

  • Gas­tric Torsion
  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Hypothy­roidism – Occurs when the thy­roid gland doesn’t func­tion properly
  • Lick Gran­u­loma – Occurs when a dog lick an area exces­sively until a raised, firm ulcer­ated lesion is formed
  • Dia­betes


  • Der­mati­tis – Inflam­ma­tion of the skin caused by aller­gies, infec­tions, and even parasites
  • Epilepsy
  • Inter­ver­te­bral Disk Dis­ease – Occurs when disk mate­r­ial between the ver­te­brae moves out of posi­tion and can lead to pain, dif­fi­culty walk­ing and even­tual paralysis
  • Chronic Hepati­tis – Chronic inflam­ma­tion of the liver that leads to the replace­ment of nor­mal liver tis­sue with scar tissue
  • Lym­phosar­coma – A can­cer aris­ing in the lym­phoid system

Eng­lish Bulldogs

  • Heat Ill­ness – Occurs when exposed to exces­sive heat and unable to dis­si­pate heat quickly enough
  • Brachy­cephalic Syn­drome – A group of facial abnor­mal­i­ties lead­ing to trou­ble breath­ing and snorting
  • Dys­to­cia – In females, dif­fi­culty giv­ing birth due to the large heads of puppies
  • Cryp­torchidism – Occurs when one or both tes­ti­cles fail to descend into the scro­tum and remain in the abdomen
  • Eye prob­lems – Cherry eye, entro­pion, dis­tichi­a­sis, etc.

York­shire Terriers

  • Patel­lar Lux­a­tion – Occurs when the patella (kneecap) no longer glides along in the groove in the femur.
  • Urolithi­a­sis — The for­ma­tion of stones in the uri­nary tracts
  • Hypo­glycemia – Low blood sugar
  • Cataracts – An opac­ity in the lens of the eye
  • Por­tosys­temic Shunt – Abnor­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion between blood ves­sels which causes the blood to bypass the liver


  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Hypothy­roidism
  • Boxer Car­diomy­opa­thy – Con­di­tion aris­ing from elec­tri­cal mis­fir­ing in the heart mus­cle, result­ing in extra contractions
  • Aor­tic and Subaor­tic Valvu­lar Steno­sis – A thick­en­ing of the aor­tic valve, mak­ing the heart work harder to pump blood.


  • Addison’s Dis­ease – Insuf­fi­cient pro­duc­tion of adrenal fluid by the adrenal gland
  • Gas­tric Torsion
  • Cushing’s Dis­ease – A hor­monal prob­lem and can result in hair loss and thin­ning of skin
  • Tra­cheal Col­lapse – Weak­en­ing of rings in the tra­chea that can lead to cough­ing when the dog is excited.
  • Entro­pion – Occurs when the eye­lids fold into the eye


  • Gas­tric Torsion
  • Osteo­chon­dro­sis – A joint con­di­tion that can result in pain, limp­ing and arthritis
  • Dia­betes
  • Par­vovirus – A gas­troin­testi­nal con­di­tion that afflicts unvac­ci­nated puppies
  • Hip Dys­pla­sia


  • Rup­tured or Pro­lapsed Ver­te­bral Disks
  • Cataracts
  • Con­gen­i­tal Deafness
  • Hemor­rahgic Gas­troen­teri­tis – A con­di­tion char­ac­ter­ized by the acute onset of bloody explo­sive diarrhea
  • Pyo­derma

Shih Tzus

  • Prop­to­sis – Dis­place­ment of the eye­ball out of the eye socket
  • Cataracts
  • Cormeal Ulcers
  • Inter­ver­te­bral Disk Disease
  • Tra­cheal Collapse


  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Wobbler’s Sydrome – A nar­row­ing or mal­for­ma­tion of the neck ver­te­brae which can lead to un-coordination
  • Dilated Car­diomy­opa­thy – A heart con­di­tion char­ac­ter­ized by dif­fi­culty breath­ing, cough­ing, exer­cise intol­er­ance and a swollen abdomen
  • Hypothy­roidism
  • Von Willebrand’s Dis­ease – A dis­or­der which causes bleed­ing due to poor clot­ting ability

Minia­ture Schnauzers

  • Hypothy­roidism
  • Atopy – An itchy skin con­di­tion caused by allergies
  • Melanoma – A form of can­cer that arises from skin pig­ment cells
  • Glau­coma – A con­di­tion in which increased pres­sure in the eye can lead to blindness
  • Cataracts

French Bull­dogs

  • Der­mati­tis
  • Cataracts
  • Food Aller­gies
  • Dis­tichi­a­sis – The growth of extra eye­lids from the glands of the upper or lower eyelid
  • Urolithi­a­sis

Ger­man Short­haired Point­ers 

  • Gas­tric Torsion
  • Oti­tis Externa – Ear infection
  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Hot Spots
  • Lick Gran­u­loma

Siber­ian Huskies

  • Laryn­geal Paral­y­sis – Occurs when nerves and mus­cles of the voice­box func­tion abnormally
  • Corneal Dys­tro­phy – Appear­ance of spots on the sur­face of the eye
  • Tes­tic­u­lar Tumors
  • Degen­er­a­tive Myelopathy
  • Hyper­ten­sion – High blood pressure

Great Danes

  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Hypothy­roidism
  • Demod­ec­tic Mange – A par­a­sitic skin dis­ease caused by mites
  • Dilated Car­diomy­opa­thy
  • Cataracts


  • Hydro­cephalus – Caused by an exces­sive accu­mu­la­tion of cere­brospinal fluid in the brain
  • Hypo­glycemia
  • Lux­at­ing Patella
  • Urolithi­a­sis
  • Tra­cheal Collapse


  • Chronic Eye Discharge
  • Cryp­torchism
  • Atlantoax­ial Sub­lux­a­tion – A con­di­tion in which the first two cer­vi­cal ver­te­brae are not firmly attached
  • Hypothy­roidism
  • Tes­tic­u­lar Tumors

King Charles Spaniels

  • Syringomyelia – A con­di­tion in which fluid-filled cav­i­ties form within the spinal cord, char­ac­ter­ized by exces­sive neck scratching
  • Hip Dys­pla­sia
  • Deaf­ness
  • Cere­bel­lar Strokes
  • Brachy­cephalic Air­way Obstruc­tion Syn­drome – Breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties caused by the size and shape of the dog’s head


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