Dog Breeds

Breed Specific Hereditary Conditions


Just as humans, canines are susceptible to genetic abnormalities, disorders and disease.
Here is a compiled alphabetized list of breeds and their known disorders.
After selecting your Breed(s) of interest, you may then click on any associated disorder(s) for further reading.

Breeds - A

Aberdeen Terrier
Also known as Scottish Terrier
Aberdeen Terriers are predisposed to: Allergic Dermatitis, Scotty Cramp, Cystine Stones, Von Willebrand's Disease, Atopy and Deafness.

Aberdeen Terrier Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Scotty Cramp Scotty Cramp is a neurological disorder of Scottish Terriers, which results in a jerky, stilted gait as well as muscle tremors. This condition results from a lack of appropriate nerve communications from the brain and spinal cord to the legs. A chemical neurotransmitter is deficient during vigorous exercise and is the cause of the signs. The condition is not fatal, but pets with this disease should not be used for breeding.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.

Photo by Narujen (Flickr: 0808040029) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Affenpinscher
Affenpinschers are predisposed to developing an elongated soft palate, missing teeth, Cleft Palate, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Patellar Luxation and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca ("dry eye").

Affenpinscher Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Schirmer Tear Test The outer clear part of the eye is called the cornea. It is clear so our pets can perceive light through it; however, the cornea sacrifices a blood supply for this clarity so it receives its nutrition from the tears. If the tear production diminishes, the cornea suffers. The Schirmer Tear Test determines if the tear production is adequate to keep the cornea healthy. The test is completed by placing strips of a special filter paper inside the eyelid that collects the tears for measurement.

Photo by Dean Jarvey (Flickr: Molly) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Afghan Hound
Afghans are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Allergic Dermatitis, Demodex, Cataracts (early developing Cataracts progressing to visual impairment by 2 - 3 years of age), and Hypothyroidism.

Afghan Hound Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by SheltieBoy (Flickr: AKC Helena Fall Dog Show 2011) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terriers are predisposed to: a number of eye diseases, Hip Dysplasia, elbow and knee problems and Hypothyroidism.

Airedale Terrier Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Havenkennels (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Akita
Akitas are predisposed to develop: Umbilical Hernias, Entropion, Glaucoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Joint Dysplasias or malformations, Pemphigus, Deafness and skin conditions.

Akita Eye Disorders
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Alden Chadwick [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes are predisposed to developing Juvenile Renal Disease, Bleeding Disorders, Hip Dysplasia, Juvenile Cataracts, Glaucoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, several retinal or corneal conditions, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis and several bony abnormalities.

Alaskan Malamute Blood Disorders
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Zinc Responsive Dermatosis Zinc is essential to normal skin function and in some animals there is a hereditary need for higher than normal amounts of zinc. Without an increased zinc supplementation, this disorder causes scaling and crusting of the skin.

This condition is usually confined to the Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky. Young, rapidly growing Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes sometimes experience a similar condition due to a transient zinc deficiency.

Affected dogs of the Northern breeds must have supplemental zinc or the condition will re-occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Breed Specific Recommendations
Long Coat with Undercoat Grooming Typical long coat with undercoat breeds include Newfoundland's, German Shepherds, Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Welsh Corgis.

Equipment includes: Rake Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Regular and fine Resco combs, Shedding blade, Nail clippers (heavy duty).

The dogs should be bathed at least twice yearly, in spring and fall. In many cases, more frequent bathing (every three months) may be needed. A rake or shedding blade may be used to remove dead hair. The coat should be combed and brushed forward over the top and sides, backward over the flanks. A fine comb is necessary for the hair under the chin and tail and behind the ears.

Photo by SCMW (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Alsatian
Alsatians are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Myasthenia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Megaesophagus, Pancreatic Insufficiency, IgA Deficiency, Lupus, Epilepsy, Gastritis, Wobbler's Syndrome, Demodex, Seborrhea, Pemphigus, Eczema, Diabetes, Von Willebrand's Disease, Cushing's Disease, Panosteitis, Hemivertebra, Congenital Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia and Aortic Stenosis.

Alsatian Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.
Hereditary Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The tricuspid valve separates the upper right atrial chamber from the lower right chamber. The "spent" blood flows from the body into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty the tricuspid valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle. The tricuspid valve then closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the valve and results in abnormal blood flow that can in turn cause congestive heart failure.

Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. The severity of the dysplasia however can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is mostly seen in larger breeds, especially the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Great Dane and Weimaraner. Tricuspid Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Pancreatic Insufficiency The pancreas produces enzymes that allow the intestine to digest food. These powerful enzymes are stored in the tissues of the pancreas until they are needed. When food is present in the stomach, these enzymes are activated and secreted into the small intestine. German Shepherd dogs sometimes have a hereditary defect in the pancreas that prevents normal enzyme manufacture which results in Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. The signs are soft stools or diarrhea with weight loss in the face of a ravenous appetite.

This condition is most common in the German Shepherd dog but can affect any pet.
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary IgA Deficiency Antibodies are essential for protection of the pet against disease. IgA is a class of antibodies that protect the body surfaces such as the skin as well as mucous producing surfaces such as the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts. Pets with a hereditary IgA Deficiency tend to have recurrent infections in these locations.

Breeds that are affected by this disease include the Chinese Shar Pei, Beagle and German Shepherd.
Hereditary Lupus Erythematosus Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a severe immunological disease affecting many body systems including the skin, bones, kidneys and blood.

Hereditary SLE affects several breeds including the Collie, Shetland Sheepdog and German Shepherd, as well as crosses of these breeds.
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.
Hereditary German Shepherd Pyoderma Pyoderma is the term we use to describe skin that is severely inflamed or infected. German Shepherd dogs have a severe form of skin infection that is difficult to cure. This is a very deep-seated infection that penetrates into the deep layers of the skin.

Affected pets can be treated, but treatment may be life-long.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Panosteitis Hereditary Panosteitis is inflammation of the interior bone marrow caused be excessive ossification. This is a disease of young, medium to large breed dogs that may affect one or several bones. Pain is perceived when the shafts of the affected long bones are deeply palpated.

Medium, large and giant-breed dogs are affected. Most commonly, the German Shepherd, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler.

Photo by Untitled (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Eskimo
American Eskimos are predisposed to: Zinc Responsive Dermatosis and Hip Dysplasia.

American Eskimo Skin Disorders
Hereditary Zinc Responsive Dermatosis Zinc is essential to normal skin function and in some animals there is a hereditary need for higher than normal amounts of zinc. Without an increased zinc supplementation, this disorder causes scaling and crusting of the skin.

This condition is usually confined to the Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky. Young, rapidly growing Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes sometimes experience a similar condition due to a transient zinc deficiency.

Affected dogs of the Northern breeds must have supplemental zinc or the condition will re-occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Thomas & Dianne Jones (Flickr: Ghost Dog) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Foxhound
American Foxhounds are predisposed to: Microphthalmia, Deafness, Osteochondrosis of the spine and Thrombocytopathy.

American Foxhound Blood Disorders
Hereditary Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia When tissues of your pet are damaged, bleeding occurs. This bleeding stops partly because of the blood platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that convert from "slippery" cells to "sticky" dough balls in the presence of tissue damage. Platelets are essential and work with the other clotting mechanisms to stop hemorrhaging.

Hereditary Thrombocytopenia is a disease where the number of platelets is lower than necessary in order to stop bleeding. This low platelet number is caused by destruction of the platelets by the immune system at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to produce new ones. This results in an increased likelihood that the pet will bleed seriously from a minor trauma or even bleed spontaneously.

Pets that are at risk for this disease should have their platelet count tested twice a year and should have blood-clotting tests performed prior to any surgical procedure.

The Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle have an increased susceptibility to this disorder.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Collie Eye This is a hereditary deformity of the eye, which may result in blindness in affected pets. This defect results in poor blood supply to the retina, thinning of the globe of the eye, deformation of the optic nerve, and may result in a detached retina and blindness. In most cases, however, the pet has relatively normal vision, but is a carrier of the disease to his or her offspring.

Collie breeds, including the Border Collie, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Shetland Sheepdog are affected.

The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a pup from parents that have been registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and have never produced affected pups.

Other breeds that have been affected with this condition on a rare basis include: the Borzoi, Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepherd and Miniature and Toy Poodle.

We recommend routine eye examinations as a part of a complete physical examination twice a year. For breeding pets, we recommend an examination and certification from a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by Svenska Mässan from Sweden (BIR Grupp 6: AMERICAN FOXHOUND, Jääräpää Flikka) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Hairless Terrier
American Hairless Terriers are predisposed to sunburn and sunstroke.

American Hairless Terrier

Photo by Nyaah (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terriers are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia

American Staffordshire Terrier Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Tatanga 2006 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

American Water Spaniel
American Water Spaniels are predisposed to Growth Hormone Dermatosis.

American Water Spaniel Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hormone Dermatosis The skin is the largest organ of the body and is influenced by many changes within the body to the degree that the skin has been said to be a "mirror" to the internal body function. Certain Skin Disease is associated with a hereditary condition that causes reduced growth hormone production by the pituitary gland or increased sex hormone production by the adrenal gland. These diseases result in characteristic skin and hair coat changes in which affected pets have varying degrees of hair loss and darkening of the skin. Otherwise, the pets appear healthy.

Growth Hormone-Responsive and Adrenal Sex-Hormone Dermatoses are seen in the Pomeranian, Chow Chow, American Water Spaniel, Keeshond, Miniature and Toy Poodle and the Samoyed.

Photo by Untitled (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian Cattle Dog
Also known as Australian Heeler, Australian Blue Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Queensland Blue Heeler or Halls Heeler. Due to the strong herding instincts of this breed, they were bred to herd cattle by nipping at their heels; hence the name Heeler.

Australian Cattle Dogs are predisposed to developing Deafness, Hip Dysplasia, a Portosystemic Shunt, Liver Malformations, Juvenile Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Skin Diseases.

Australian Cattle Dog Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Eva Holderegger Walser (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian Heeler
Also known as Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Blue Cattle Dog, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Queensland Blue Heeler or Halls Heeler. Due to the strong herding instincts of this breed, they were bred to herd cattle by nipping at their heels; hence the name Heeler.

Australian Heeler

Photo by Amandajm at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian Kelpie
The Australian Kelpie is predisposed to: Diabetes Mellitus, Legg-Perthes Disease, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Retinal Dysplasia, Microphthalmia and multiple Colobomas.

Australian Kelpie Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease is a condition of the hip joint in young, small breed dogs where the head of the femur (ball component of the ball and socket joint), looses its blood supply and degenerates. The first sign is a reluctance to use the leg after exercise followed by a persistent lameness. Radiographs show minimal changes early in the disease but will show drastic changes as the ball degenerates and eventually collapses in on it.

Surgical removal of the ball (head of the femur), is usually curative.

This disease is seen in young small-breed dogs, including Terriers and Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Photo by Davepaku (Diesel) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are predisposed to developing: Umbilical Hernias, Hip Dysplasia, Cushing's Disease, Juvenile Cataracts, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia and Deafness.

Australian Shepherd Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Photo by Bonnie van den Born [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Australian Terrier
Australian Terriers are predisposed to developing Legg-Perthes Disease and Diabetes Mellitus.

Australian Terrier Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease is a condition of the hip joint in young, small breed dogs where the head of the femur (ball component of the ball and socket joint), looses its blood supply and degenerates. The first sign is a reluctance to use the leg after exercise followed by a persistent lameness. Radiographs show minimal changes early in the disease but will show drastic changes as the ball degenerates and eventually collapses in on it.

Surgical removal of the ball (head of the femur), is usually curative.

This disease is seen in young small-breed dogs, including Terriers and Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Wiry Coat Grooming Wiry coat breeds require special attention.

Typical breeds include the Wire-haired Fox Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Schnauzer and Sealyham Terrier.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife, Fine and medium steel combs, Hound glove and Barber scissors.

Trimming the head, ears and tail should start on pups early. As adults, they require machine clipping every six to eight weeks or hand stripping every twelve weeks. Clippers should never be used on the bodies of dogs being shown, as this softens the coat by removing the coarse guard hairs. Unfortunately, this change seems to be permanent and dogs such as Miniature Schnauzers may be ruined for future showing. Hand stripping should only be done when the coat is ready. New hair should not be stripped except to tidy up a bit.

Photo by Ketterechts (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breeds - B

Basenji
Basenjis are predisposed to: Intestinal problems, Congenital Cataracts, Corneal Dystrophy Endothelial, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Fanconi Syndrome, Basenji Enteropathy and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (Anemia).

Basenji Blood Disorders
Hereditary Anemia Red blood cells are very active in the body as they transport oxygen to the tissues. This activity requires energy and without the ability to produce and maintain a high level of energy, the red blood cell prematurely dies. This death of red blood cells can exceed the ability of the bone marrow to replace them, resulting in Anemia. There are two hereditary defects in certain breeds of dogs, which affect the energy metabolism of red blood cells that can be serious enough to cause Anemia.

The following breeds should be checked for Anemia early in life and receive a screen test for this form of Hereditary Anemia twice a year. The English Springer Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels have a deficiency in PFK enzyme, which can cause a reduced exercise tolerance and Anemia. The Basenjis, West Highland White Terriers, Cairn Terriers and Beagles can have a Hereditary Deficiency in Pyruvate Kinase that results in a shortening of the life span of red blood cells as well as severe Anemia.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Basenji Enteropathy The Basenji has a hereditary predisposition to developing an intestinal disease that results in diarrhea as well as loss of serum proteins into the gut. This disease is caused by an infiltration of the wall of the intestines with white blood cells. These white blood cells are very reactive and are creating a "war zone" as if the gut were infected. The resulting immulogical battle is very harmful to the gut and difficult to control.

This disease is best managed when diagnosed early in its course. Diagnosis is best made with endoscoopic examination and biopsy of the intestines or colon.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Fanconi Syndrome Fanconi Syndrome is a hereditary defect in the water regulation capacity of the kidneys. Pets with Fanconi Syndrome tend to urinate too often because they are producing more urine than they should be. This condition may lead to severe dehydration in the absence of adequate water supplies.

This disease is rare in most breeds, but is a significant disorder in the Basenji breed, affecting 10% or more of dogs. It is also seen in the Norwegian Elkhound, Shetland Sheepdog and Schnauzer.

Photo by Fugzu (originally posted to Flickr as Iside) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are predisposed to: Herniated discs, Elbow Dysplasia, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Luxating Patellas, ear infections, Seborrhea, Panosteitis, Wobbler's Syndrome, Von Willebrand's Disease, Thrombopathia, Ectropion, Exposure Keratopathy and Glaucoma.

Basset Hound Blood Disorders
Basset Hound Thrombopathia Basset Hounds can have a hereditary disorder of the platelets that are important in the blood clotting mechanisms. Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin), linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets which when "activated"; trap red blood cells to form a clot. Activation of the platelets makes these cell particles, which are normally slippery, like sticky dough balls. This activation causes the platelets to clump together to form a larger ball of cells in the clot. In the Basset hound with Thrombopathia, platelets do not get sticky and clots do not form well, which results in a pet that has a high tendency to bruise or hemorrhage.

Basset Hounds should be checked for Anemia twice a year, and prior to surgery, these pets should have clotting tests performed.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Panosteitis Hereditary Panosteitis is inflammation of the interior bone marrow caused be excessive ossification. This is a disease of young, medium to large breed dogs that may affect one or several bones. Pain is perceived when the shafts of the affected long bones are deeply palpated.

Medium, large and giant-breed dogs are affected. Most commonly, the German Shepherd, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler.

Photo by Galanza (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Beagle
Beagles are predisposed to developing: Epilepsy, Wobbler's Syndrome, Shaker Dog Syndrome, Glaucoma and other ophthalmic disorders, Umbilical Hernias, Cleft Palate and cleft lips, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Deafness, IgA Deficiency, Bleeding Disorders, Demodex, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Pulmonic Stenosis, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia, Congenital Cataracts and Anemia.

Beagle Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.
Hereditary Pulmonic Stenosis The heart is divided into two sides, the right and left side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs, and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. The right side pumps the blood through the main pulmonary artery to the lungs. Pulmonic Stenosis is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of this vessel. This malformation narrows the opening of the vessel, thereby increasing the pressure required to pump blood to the lungs. This increased pressure causes dilation of the right side of the heart and eventually, Congestive Heart Disease.

Physical examination usually reveals a characteristic heart murmur in a young dog, which is present on the left side at the 2nd or 3rd intercostal space in a breed that is commonly affected; (i.e., English Bulldog, Beagle, Chihuahua, Samoyed or Cocker Spaniel).

Additional testing with radiographs and ultrasound are recommended to further characterize this condition and determine the prognosis.

Surgical correction is possible in severely affected pets. Some pets with mild disease can lead a normal life.

Blood Disorders
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.
Hereditary Anemia Red blood cells are very active in the body as they transport oxygen to the tissues. This activity requires energy and without the ability to produce and maintain a high level of energy, the red blood cell prematurely dies. This death of red blood cells can exceed the ability of the bone marrow to replace them, resulting in Anemia. There are two hereditary defects in certain breeds of dogs, which affect the energy metabolism of red blood cells that can be serious enough to cause Anemia.

The following breeds should be checked for Anemia early in life and receive a screen test for this form of Hereditary Anemia twice a year. The English Springer Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels have a deficiency in PFK enzyme, which can cause a reduced exercise tolerance and Anemia. The Basenjis, West Highland White Terriers, Cairn Terriers and Beagles can have a Hereditary Deficiency in Pyruvate Kinase that results in a shortening of the life span of red blood cells as well as severe Anemia.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.
Hereditary Shaker Dog Syndrome This hereditary disorder may develop suddenly in young adult, white pets causing the pet to tremor over the entire body. The tremors are uncontrollable, yet not harmful. The cause is unknown but is suspected to be related to a low level of a chemical neurotransmitter caused by an allergic/immunologic reaction.

There is an effective treatment if the diagnosis is made early in the course of the illness. Nevertheless, pets that have this condition should not be used for breeding.

This syndrome is seen in small breeds that are mostly white, especially the Maltese and West Highland White Terrier. It has also been reported in the Bichon Frise, Poodle, Beagle and Yorkshire Terrier.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary IgA Deficiency Antibodies are essential for protection of the pet against disease. IgA is a class of antibodies that protect the body surfaces such as the skin as well as mucous producing surfaces such as the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts. Pets with a hereditary IgA Deficiency tend to have recurrent infections in these locations.

Breeds that are affected by this disease include the Chinese Shar Pei, Beagle and German Shepherd.

Photo by Doniu013 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bearded Collie
Bearded Collies are predisposed to developing Juvenile Cataracts, Hip Dysplasia and Pemphigus.

Bearded Collie Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Awsguy1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are predisposed to developing: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia, Juvenile Cataracts, Copper Hepatitis and Kidney Disease.

Bedlington Terrier Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Copper Hepatitis Bedlington Terriers and West Highland White Terriers are at a special risk for developing an inherited defect in the metabolism of copper, which is known to cause Chronic Hepatitis (Copper-associated Hepatitis/Copper Toxicosis in Bedlington Terriers). It is estimated that 25% of Bedlington Terriers have the disorder and 50% are carriers (i.e. they will not become ill, but can transmit the disorder to their offspring).

Copper accumulation occurs in some other breeds as well, but whether the excess in copper is the cause or the result of Liver Disease, is unknown.

We recommend twice a year blood tests to check for Liver Disease in pets that are at an increased risk to developing this disease.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Photo by David Owsiany [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Belgian Laekenois
The Belgian Laekenois is predisposed to Hip Dysplasia and Epilepsy.

Belgian Laekenois Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Vassil (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is predisposed to developing Hip Dysplasia and Epilepsy.

Belgian Malinois Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by The Central Intelligence Agency (Dogs in Action) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Belgian Sheepdog
Also known as Belgian Shepherd and known as Groenendael in Europe.
Belgian Sheepdogs are predisposed to: Non-Progressive Cataracts

Belgian Sheepdog Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Photo by BN (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Belgian Shepherd
Belgian Shepherds are predisposed to Degenerative Myelopathy, Hip Dysplasia and Epilepsy.

Belgian Shepherd Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Mberenguer (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Belgian Tervuren
The Belgian Tervuren is predisposed to developing Non-progressive Cataracts, Hip Dysplasia and Epilepsy.

Belgian Tervuren Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Ron Armstrong from Helena, MT, USA (HMKC Spring 2007 Agility Trial) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are predisposed to developing: cleft lip and palate, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Renal Disease, Histiocytosis and tremors.

Bernese Mountain Dog Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.
Hereditary Histiocytosis Bernese Mountain Dogs can have a hereditary disease that affects a certain type of white blood cells. The histiocyte is one type of white blood cells that is produced by the bone marrow. In affected pets, this white blood cell reproduces uncontrollably and spreads to all tissues of the body by the blood stream.

This disease can be fatal and is responsible for about 25% of the tumors in this breed. Histiocytosis occurs very rarely in other breeds as well.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. Hiss assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is predisposed to developing Shaker Dog Syndrome, Struvite Stones, runny eyes and Juvenile Cataracts.

Bichon Frise Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Shaker Dog Syndrome This hereditary disorder may develop suddenly in young adult, white pets causing the pet to tremor over the entire body. The tremors are uncontrollable, yet not harmful. The cause is unknown but is suspected to be related to a low level of a chemical neurotransmitter caused by an allergic/immunologic reaction.

There is an effective treatment if the diagnosis is made early in the course of the illness. Nevertheless, pets that have this condition should not be used for breeding.

This syndrome is seen in small breeds that are mostly white, especially the Maltese and West Highland White Terrier. It has also been reported in the Bichon Frise, Poodle, Beagle and Yorkshire Terrier.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Photo by Heike Andres (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

Black and Tan Coonhound
Black and Tan Coonhounds are predisposed to: Hemophilia B, Hip Dysplasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Ectropion, Entropion and Polyradiculoneuritis.

Black and Tan Coonhound Blood Disorders
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by Scraig at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodhound
Bloodhounds are predisposed to developing: Ectropion, Entropion, Exposure Keratopathy, Malocclusion of teeth, Bloat, Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, external ear infections and skin infections.

Bloodhound Eye Disorders
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Pypaertv at the French language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bluetick Hound
Bluetick Hounds are predisposed to developing: Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy, Lysosomal Storage Diseases, Osteochondritis Dissecans and Osteochondrosis.

Bluetick Hound Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by EddieG5 at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Border Collie
Border Collies are predisposed to developing: Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Corneal Dystrophy, Adult Cataracts, Collie Eye, Hip Dysplasia, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Cryptorchidism and Deafness.

Border Collie Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Collie Eye This is a hereditary deformity of the eye, which may result in blindness in affected pets. This defect results in poor blood supply to the retina, thinning of the globe of the eye, deformation of the optic nerve, and may result in a detached retina and blindness. In most cases, however, the pet has relatively normal vision, but is a carrier of the disease to his or her offspring.

Collie breeds, including the Border Collie, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Shetland Sheepdog are affected.

The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a pup from parents that have been registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and have never produced affected pups.

Other breeds that have been affected with this condition on a rare basis include: the Borzoi, Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepherd and Miniature and Toy Poodle.

We recommend routine eye examinations as a part of a complete physical examination twice a year. For breeding pets, we recommend an examination and certification from a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Ron Armstrong from Helena, MT, USA (HMKC Spring 2007 Agility Trial) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Border Terrier
Border Terriers are predisposed to: Oligodendroglioma, Primary Uterine Inertia, Aortic and Carotid Body Tumors, Fibrous Histiocytoma, Cryptorchidism, Hemivertebrae, Ventricular Septal Defects, Mastocytoma, Cataracts, Lens Luxation, Collie Eye Anomaly, Craniomandibular Osteopathy, Patellar Luxation, Cushing's Disease, Hip Dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Border Terrier Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Karen Arnold [Public Domain Dedication], via Wikimedia Commons

Borzoi
The Borzoi is predisposed to developing Allergic Dermatitis, leg fractures, Wobbler's Syndrome and Gastritis.

Borzoi Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Photo by Design Barbara/Madeleine (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are predisposed to: Cherry Eye, early OnsetCataracts, Corneal Dystrophy, Glaucoma, Atopy, Hydrocephalus, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Demodex, Pyloric Stenosis, respiratory problems, Hemivertebra, Cushing's Disease, heat stroke and Luxating Patellas.

Boston Terrier Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Pyloric Stenosis The stomach is the storage and mixing area for food and once the food is mixed well it is ready for digestion by the small intestine. The pyloric valve is the portion of the stomach that acts as a valve releasing the food from the stomach into the small intestine. Hereditary Pyloric Stenosis is a narrowing of this valve and results in vomiting of food shortly after consumption.

This condition is common in the Boston Terrier and boxer breeds, but can occur in any breed. This condition should be checked for if your pet is one of these breeds and is having persistent vomiting of food.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.
Hereditary Hypoplastic Trachea The trachea is the pipe that carries air from the mouth to the lungs. A Hypoplastic Trachea is a hereditary defect resulting in a smaller than normal diameter of the trachea. Pets with a Hypoplastic Trachea are at risk for heat stroke, respiratory infections and certainly exercise intolerance.

We recommend an examination and possibly radiographs of pets at risk for this disease; such as, the English Bulldog and Boston Terrier.

There is no therapy for a Hypoplastic Trachea, but the condition can be managed so that the pet can lead a normal life.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.

Photo by Nathanmac87 (Happy Dog) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres is predisposed to: Myopathy, Laryngeal Paralysis, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia and Glaucoma.

Bouvier des Flandres Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Laryngeal Paralysis The larynx is the valve between the mouth and the trachea. When the pet swallows, the larynx closes allowing food to pass over the larynx and into the esophagus. When the pet breathes, the muscles of the larynx open allowing air into the trachea. Laryngeal Paralysis is a condition that causes the muscles of the larynx to stop functioning. This results in a permanently narrowed opening into the trachea, which makes breathing very difficult. At rest, pets with Laryngeal Paralysis may breath normally but as the need for airflow increases with exercise or excitement, the breathing becomes more labored and loud.

Breeds affected by a hereditary form of Laryngeal Paralysis include: the Dalmatian, Bouvier des Flandres, Siberian Husky and Bull Terrier.

Surgery is available to open the larynx in severely affected pets.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Myopathy Myopathy is the term we use to indicate that the muscles are bad or malfunctioning. Hereditary Myopathy is an inherited disease of the muscles that causes weakness, exercise intolerance and an abnormal gait.

This condition is usually seen between five months and a year of age in affected pets.

This condition is reported in the Labrador Retriever and Bouvier des Flandres.

There is no treatment or cure and many pets with this disease become crippled while others seem to live a normal life, if not asked to perform athletically. This condition should prevent breeding of these pets.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Boxer
Boxers are predisposed to: skin cancers, Cryptorchidism, Acne, Demodex, Ulcerative Colitis, Gastric Volvulus, Pyloric Stenosis, Corneal Dystrophy Epithelial Erosion, Colitis, Cushing's Disease, Atopy, Aortic Stenosis, Cardiomyopathy, Sick Sinus Syndrome and Atrial Septal Defect.

Boxer Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.
Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect The heart is divided into four chambers and the top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. A wall separates the right and left atria in order to prevent the mixing of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood. This wall is called the septum and a hole in this wall is called a septal defect. The best way to detect this abnormality is to perform an ultrasound of the heart.

In breeds where this is prevalent, we recommend a routine ultrasound screening.

Atrial Septal Defects are fairly uncommon in the dog; however, the Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Samoyed and Old English Sheepdog are considered to have an increased risk for Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Blood Disorders
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.
Hereditary Canine Acne Dogs with Canine Acne develop a Skin Disease characterized by multiple comedones (pimples) on their chin, lips and muzzle. These plugs of keratin and sebum block the hair follicles, which are commonly called "blackheads."

This condition is hereditary but can be managed with frequent cleaning of the affected area as well as application of medications containing benzoyl peroxide.

This condition affects young adult Boxers, English Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Ulcerative Colitis Your pet has a hereditary predisposition to developing an intestinal disease that results in diarrhea as well as loss of serum proteins into the gut. This disease is caused by an infiltration of the wall of the intestines with white blood cells called histiocytes. These white blood cells are very reactive and are creating a "war zone" as if the gut were infected. The resulting immunologic battle is very harmful to the gut and difficult to control.

This disease is best managed when diagnosed early in its course. Diagnosis is best made with endoscopic examination and biopsy of the intestines or colon.

This disease may occur in any pet with chronic infections or Allergies of the intestines, but is most common in the Boxer and French Bulldog.
Hereditary Pyloric Stenosis The stomach is the storage and mixing area for food and once the food is mixed well it is ready for digestion by the small intestine. The pyloric valve is the portion of the stomach that acts as a valve releasing the food from the stomach into the small intestine. Hereditary Pyloric Stenosis is a narrowing of this valve and results in vomiting of food shortly after consumption.

This condition is common in the Boston Terrier and boxer breeds, but can occur in any breed. This condition should be checked for if your pet is one of these breeds and is having persistent vomiting of food.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Photo by Jan71 (eigene Arbeit - Foto: Jan Siefken - Bilderblog.org) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel

Photo by Flatscaster at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Briard
Briad are predisposed to: Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Hip Dysplasia.

Briard Eye Disorders
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Jtreier (self-made by Ralf Junker) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Brittany Spaniel
Brittany Spaniels are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, retained testicles and Luxating Patellas.

Brittany Spaniel Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Uber Phot (Flickr: The Boys Looking Straight Ahead) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Brussels Griffon
Brussels Griffon are predisposed to developing Adult Cataracts and Ectropion.

Brussels Griffon Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.

Photo by Arne Fagerholt (OTRS Ticket #2010051510035844) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bull Mastiff
Bull Mastiffs are predisposed to developing: Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Cervical Vertebral Malformation, Wobbler's Syndrome, Cleft Palate, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Glaucoma, Allergic Dermatitis and Bloat.

Bull Mastiff Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Rondon (Arquivo pessoal de Rondon) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers are predisposed to: Allergic Dermatitis, Demodex, Renal Disease, Laryngeal Paralysis, Deafness, Obesity and Mitral Valve Dysplasia.

Bull Terrier Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Laryngeal Paralysis The larynx is the valve between the mouth and the trachea. When the pet swallows, the larynx closes allowing food to pass over the larynx and into the esophagus. When the pet breathes, the muscles of the larynx open allowing air into the trachea. Laryngeal Paralysis is a condition that causes the muscles of the larynx to stop functioning. This results in a permanently narrowed opening into the trachea, which makes breathing very difficult. At rest, pets with Laryngeal Paralysis may breath normally but as the need for airflow increases with exercise or excitement, the breathing becomes more labored and loud.

Breeds affected by a hereditary form of Laryngeal Paralysis include: the Dalmatian, Bouvier des Flandres, Siberian Husky and Bull Terrier.

Surgery is available to open the larynx in severely affected pets.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. Garciaargos assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bulldog
Bulldogs are predisposed to: Cherry Eye, KCS, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Aortic Stenosis, Hydrocephalus, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Obesity, Pulmonic Stenosis, Hemivertebra, Urate Stones and Hypothyroidism.

Bulldog Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Pulmonic Stenosis The heart is divided into two sides, the right and left side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs, and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. The right side pumps the blood through the main pulmonary artery to the lungs. Pulmonic Stenosis is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of this vessel. This malformation narrows the opening of the vessel, thereby increasing the pressure required to pump blood to the lungs. This increased pressure causes dilation of the right side of the heart and eventually, Congestive Heart Disease.

Physical examination usually reveals a characteristic heart murmur in a young dog, which is present on the left side at the 2nd or 3rd intercostal space in a breed that is commonly affected; (i.e., English Bulldog, Beagle, Chihuahua, Samoyed or Cocker Spaniel).

Additional testing with radiographs and ultrasound are recommended to further characterize this condition and determine the prognosis.

Surgical correction is possible in severely affected pets. Some pets with mild disease can lead a normal life.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Dwayne Albert [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Breeds - C, D, E

Cairn Terrier
Cairn Terriers are predisposed to: Allergic Dermatitis, Cryptorchidism, Renal Disease, Atopy, Portosystemic Shunt, Hydrocephalus, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Anemia, Glaucoma and ingrown nails.

Cairn Terrier Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Blood Disorders
Hereditary Anemia Red blood cells are very active in the body as they transport oxygen to the tissues. This activity requires energy and without the ability to produce and maintain a high level of energy, the red blood cell prematurely dies. This death of red blood cells can exceed the ability of the bone marrow to replace them, resulting in Anemia. There are two hereditary defects in certain breeds of dogs, which affect the energy metabolism of red blood cells that can be serious enough to cause Anemia.

The following breeds should be checked for Anemia early in life and receive a screen test for this form of Hereditary Anemia twice a year. The English Springer Spaniels and American Cocker Spaniels have a deficiency in PFK enzyme, which can cause a reduced exercise tolerance and Anemia. The Basenjis, West Highland White Terriers, Cairn Terriers and Beagles can have a Hereditary Deficiency in Pyruvate Kinase that results in a shortening of the life span of red blood cells as well as severe Anemia.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
E.R.D Test The E.R.D. (Early Renal Disease) screening test detects microalbuminuria (very small amounts of albumin proteins) in the urine of dogs, which is an early indicator for kidney disease. This new test is the most accurate way to determine if your pet's kidneys are normal. Other tests traditionally used do not indicate any dysfunction of the kidneys until 75% of the kidneys are damaged.

We recommend that this test be performed yearly in your pet.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Wiry Coat Grooming Wiry coat breeds require special attention.

Typical breeds include the Wire-haired Fox Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Schnauzer and Sealyham Terrier.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife, Fine and medium steel combs, Hound glove and Barber scissors.

Trimming the head, ears and tail should start on pups early. As adults, they require machine clipping every six to eight weeks or hand stripping every twelve weeks. Clippers should never be used on the bodies of dogs being shown, as this softens the coat by removing the coarse guard hairs. Unfortunately, this change seems to be permanent and dogs such as Miniature Schnauzers may be ruined for future showing. Hand stripping should only be done when the coat is ready. New hair should not be stripped except to tidy up a bit.

Photo by Ketterechts at the German language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Canaan Dog
Canaan Dogs are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia

Canaan Dog Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Physical Exam We recommend a physical examination twice a year on all normal pets. An examination is required for vaccination administration once every year. However, since pets age seven years for every one of humans, having a physical examination every six months for a pet is like a human having an exam every three and one half years. Pets cannot talk to communicate how they feel, so they are on a faster path toward illness than humans. Many pets mask their illness from us, so only an experienced veterinarian can perform a proper exam to determine the state of wellness.
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.

Photo by Samorodokhanaana http://www.ruscanaan.ru (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Carnelian Bear Dog
Also spelled as Karelian Bear Dog.

Carnelian Bear Dog

Photo by Fraczek.marcin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Photo by Britta Weißenborn [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are predisposed to developing: Diabetes Mellitus, Hip Dysplasia, Early Onset Cataracts, Exposure Keratopathy, "Fly Biting Syndrome", Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Xanthine Stones and Patellar Luxation.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. High-town-wp assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are predisposed to developing: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Adult Cataracts, Collie Eye, Hip Dysplasia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Von Willebrand's Disease and Entropion.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Collie Eye This is a hereditary deformity of the eye, which may result in blindness in affected pets. This defect results in poor blood supply to the retina, thinning of the globe of the eye, deformation of the optic nerve, and may result in a detached retina and blindness. In most cases, however, the pet has relatively normal vision, but is a carrier of the disease to his or her offspring.

Collie breeds, including the Border Collie, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Shetland Sheepdog are affected.

The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a pup from parents that have been registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and have never produced affected pups.

Other breeds that have been affected with this condition on a rare basis include: the Borzoi, Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepherd and Miniature and Toy Poodle.

We recommend routine eye examinations as a part of a complete physical examination twice a year. For breeding pets, we recommend an examination and certification from a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Curly or Wooly Undercoat Grooming The non-shedding, curly or wooly undercoated breeds require special attention. Typical breeds include Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Fine, medium and coarse steel combs, Scissors.

These breeds must be clipped every four to six weeks for best appearance. Expose the puppies to grooming at eight weeks of age so they will accept the clippers. Only the scissors should be used under the tail, as that skin is very easily irritated. Since dead and loose hairs from these coats are mostly secondary hairs that become enmeshed in the coat, neglect causes "felt" matting. All dead hairs must be completely combed out before bathing. The ears should be cleaned weekly.

Photo by Keith Rousseau at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons). [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are predisposed to developing: fractures, Tooth and Gum Disease, Cryptorchidism, Demodex, Glaucoma, KCS, Hydrocephalus, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Pulmonic Stenosis and Luxating Patellas.

Chihuahua Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.
Hereditary Pulmonic Stenosis The heart is divided into two sides, the right and left side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs, and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. The right side pumps the blood through the main pulmonary artery to the lungs. Pulmonic Stenosis is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of this vessel. This malformation narrows the opening of the vessel, thereby increasing the pressure required to pump blood to the lungs. This increased pressure causes dilation of the right side of the heart and eventually, Congestive Heart Disease.

Physical examination usually reveals a characteristic heart murmur in a young dog, which is present on the left side at the 2nd or 3rd intercostal space in a breed that is commonly affected; (i.e., English Bulldog, Beagle, Chihuahua, Samoyed or Cocker Spaniel).

Additional testing with radiographs and ultrasound are recommended to further characterize this condition and determine the prognosis.

Surgical correction is possible in severely affected pets. Some pets with mild disease can lead a normal life.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.

Photo by Tatiana Borisova (Self-photographed) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dogs are predisposed to: sunburn, blackheads and Skin Allergies.

Chinese Crested Dog Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Photo by Томасина (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is predisposed to: Entropion, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Congenital Cataracts, Corneal Dystrophy Endothelial, Glaucoma, Diabetes, Wobbler's Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Myotonia Growth Hormone Dermatosis and skin problems.

Chow Chow Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hormone Dermatosis The skin is the largest organ of the body and is influenced by many changes within the body to the degree that the skin has been said to be a "mirror" to the internal body function. Certain Skin Disease is associated with a hereditary condition that causes reduced growth hormone production by the pituitary gland or increased sex hormone production by the adrenal gland. These diseases result in characteristic skin and hair coat changes in which affected pets have varying degrees of hair loss and darkening of the skin. Otherwise, the pets appear healthy.

Growth Hormone-Responsive and Adrenal Sex-Hormone Dermatoses are seen in the Pomeranian, Chow Chow, American Water Spaniel, Keeshond, Miniature and Toy Poodle and the Samoyed.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Myotonia Myotonia is the term used to indicate tone in the muscles. Hereditary Myotonia is a condition that primarily affects Chow Chow dogs where the muscles are unable to relax normally resulting in a stiff, awkward gait, difficulty in rising and stiff joints.

Photo by Remigiusz Józefowicz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 pl], via Wikimedia Commons

Clumber Spaniel
Clumber Spaniels are predisposed to: Congenital Cataracts, Ectropion, Exposure Keratopathy and Hip Dysplasia.

Clumber Spaniel Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Long Coat with Undercoat Grooming Typical long coat with undercoat breeds include Newfoundland's, German Shepherds, Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Welsh Corgis.

Equipment includes: Rake Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Regular and fine Resco combs, Shedding blade, Nail clippers (heavy duty).

The dogs should be bathed at least twice yearly, in spring and fall. In many cases, more frequent bathing (every three months) may be needed. A rake or shedding blade may be used to remove dead hair. The coat should be combed and brushed forward over the top and sides, backward over the flanks. A fine comb is necessary for the hair under the chin and tail and behind the ears.

Photo by Pleple2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are predisposed to developing: Juvenile Cataracts, Glaucoma, KCS, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia, Exposure Keratopathy, Epilepsy, cleft lip and palate, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia, Epilepsy, Pulmonic Stenosis, Sick Sinus Syndrome, Cardiomyopathy, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, external ear infections, Seborrhea, Skin Allergies and infections, Struvite Stones, Cushing's Disease, Hypothyroidism, Hepatitis, Deafness and "Cherry Eye".

Cocker Spaniel Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Pulmonic Stenosis The heart is divided into two sides, the right and left side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs, and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. The right side pumps the blood through the main pulmonary artery to the lungs. Pulmonic Stenosis is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of this vessel. This malformation narrows the opening of the vessel, thereby increasing the pressure required to pump blood to the lungs. This increased pressure causes dilation of the right side of the heart and eventually, Congestive Heart Disease.

Physical examination usually reveals a characteristic heart murmur in a young dog, which is present on the left side at the 2nd or 3rd intercostal space in a breed that is commonly affected; (i.e., English Bulldog, Beagle, Chihuahua, Samoyed or Cocker Spaniel).

Additional testing with radiographs and ultrasound are recommended to further characterize this condition and determine the prognosis.

Surgical correction is possible in severely affected pets. Some pets with mild disease can lead a normal life.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Blood Disorders
Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia Anemia is a term used to indicate a low red blood cell count. Red blood cells live 120 days in the normal pet and as they "die", they are replaced by "baby" red blood cells that are made in the bone marrow. Anemia results when the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow cannot keep up with the loss of red blood cells. Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is a condition where the pet's immune system prematurely destroys the red blood cells at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to replace them.

This condition can be fatal and is treatable when diagnosed early. Pets at high risk should have blood screens twice a year to check for Anemia.

An increased risk of this disease is reported in the Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. It is more common in females than males.
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.
Hereditary Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia When tissues of your pet are damaged, bleeding occurs. This bleeding stops partly because of the blood platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that convert from "slippery" cells to "sticky" dough balls in the presence of tissue damage. Platelets are essential and work with the other clotting mechanisms to stop hemorrhaging.

Hereditary Thrombocytopenia is a disease where the number of platelets is lower than necessary in order to stop bleeding. This low platelet number is caused by destruction of the platelets by the immune system at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to produce new ones. This results in an increased likelihood that the pet will bleed seriously from a minor trauma or even bleed spontaneously.

Pets that are at risk for this disease should have their platelet count tested twice a year and should have blood-clotting tests performed prior to any surgical procedure.

The Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle have an increased susceptibility to this disorder.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Hepatitis Your pet is at risk for developing Chronic Liver Disease (Hepatitis). Hepatitis is the term used to denote inflammation of the liver. Hereditary Hepatitis is a genetic predisposition to developing early liver failure.

Usually, this disease is slow at progressing and can be managed with the appropriate medications if identified early. We recommend twice a year blood tests to check for Liver Disease in pets that are at an increased risk to develop this disease.

The following breeds are commonly affected by this illness: Doberman Pinscher (predominantly female dogs are affected), American and English Cocker Spaniel, Skye Terrier and Labrador Retriever.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Fran Hogan [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Collie
Collies are predisposed to develop: Collie Eye Anomaly, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Congenital Cataracts, Degenerative Myelopathy, Pemphigus, Lupus, Demodex and Patent Ductus Arteriosus.

Collie Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Collie Eye This is a hereditary deformity of the eye, which may result in blindness in affected pets. This defect results in poor blood supply to the retina, thinning of the globe of the eye, deformation of the optic nerve, and may result in a detached retina and blindness. In most cases, however, the pet has relatively normal vision, but is a carrier of the disease to his or her offspring.

Collie breeds, including the Border Collie, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Shetland Sheepdog are affected.

The best way to avoid this problem is to purchase a pup from parents that have been registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), and have never produced affected pups.

Other breeds that have been affected with this condition on a rare basis include: the Borzoi, Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepherd and Miniature and Toy Poodle.

We recommend routine eye examinations as a part of a complete physical examination twice a year. For breeding pets, we recommend an examination and certification from a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary Lupus Erythematosus Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a severe immunological disease affecting many body systems including the skin, bones, kidneys and blood.

Hereditary SLE affects several breeds including the Collie, Shetland Sheepdog and German Shepherd, as well as crosses of these breeds.
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.

Photo by Flickr user Christian Madden (Flickr here) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Coonhounds

Coonhounds

Photo by Tim Chilcott (Sent to me personally) [CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Curly Coated Retriever
Curly Coated Retrievers are predisposed to: Adult Cataracts and Hip Dysplasia.

Curly Coated Retriever Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Physical Exam We recommend a physical examination twice a year on all normal pets. An examination is required for vaccination administration once every year. However, since pets age seven years for every one of humans, having a physical examination every six months for a pet is like a human having an exam every three and one half years. Pets cannot talk to communicate how they feel, so they are on a faster path toward illness than humans. Many pets mask their illness from us, so only an experienced veterinarian can perform a proper exam to determine the state of wellness.
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Curly or Wooly Undercoat Grooming The non-shedding, curly or wooly undercoated breeds require special attention. Typical breeds include Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Fine, medium and coarse steel combs, Scissors.

These breeds must be clipped every four to six weeks for best appearance. Expose the puppies to grooming at eight weeks of age so they will accept the clippers. Only the scissors should be used under the tail, as that skin is very easily irritated. Since dead and loose hairs from these coats are mostly secondary hairs that become enmeshed in the coat, neglect causes "felt" matting. All dead hairs must be completely combed out before bathing. The ears should be cleaned weekly.

Photo by Mattias Agar (Flickr: "Look smart!") [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dachshund
Dachshunds are predisposed to develop: Intervertebral Disc Disease, Cryptorchidism, Acanthosis, Demodex, Von Willebrand's Disease, Cushing's Disease, Cystine Stones, Sick Sinus Syndrome, Seborrhea, Hypothyroidism, Heart Disease, Early Onset Cataracts, Corneal Dystrophy and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Dachshund Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Corneal Dystrophy Corneal Dystrophy (Dystrophy means "bad growth"), is an inherited condition of the cornea. It does not cause pain or inflammation, nor is it caused by an infectious condition. Corneal Dystrophy causes silvery, milky spots in the clear part of the eye, which show up at any age. They may appear as early as one year of age in some pets and usually progress throughout their life.

Depending upon the type of Dystrophy, vision impairment may be severe and surgical removal may be an option to restore lost vision.

We recommend a complete eye examination be performed as a part of your pet's physical examination twice a year.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Acanthosis Nigricans This is a disorder of the skin, which results in the deposition of excessive dark pigment on the underbelly, particularly in the armpits of affected Dachshunds. The skin in this area may have severe dermatitis.

The disease cannot be cured but it can be managed with the appropriate therapy. Dachshunds that develop this condition should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
E.R.D. Test The E.R.D. (Early Renal Disease) screening test detects microalbuminuria (very small amounts of albumin proteins) in the urine of dogs, which is an early indicator for kidney disease. This new test is the most accurate way to determine if your pet's kidneys are normal. Other tests traditionally used do not indicate any dysfunction of the kidneys until 75% of the kidneys are damaged.

We recommend that this test be performed yearly in your pet.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Anna Utehina (http://bezymka.livejournal.com/63629.html?nc=77) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

Dalmatian
Dalmatians are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Allergic Skin Disease, Deafness, Wobbler's Syndrome, Urate Stones, Laryngeal Paralysis, Dalmatian Bronzing, Demodex, Early Onset Cataracts, Entropion, Glaucoma and Bladder Stones.

Dalmatian Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome is a Skin Disease of Dalmatians, which results from excessive uric acid in their blood. Most animals process proteins and produce urea as the by-product, instead, Dalmatians process proteins and produce uric acid as the end product. This disease causes the white coat of the Dalmatian to turn a patchy bronze color, which is associated with a bacterial infection of the hair follicles. It is thought that the uric acid content is responsible for this disease.

Feeding a diet low in purines, such as Hill's Prescription Diet u/d, can greatly reduce the uric acid production and alleviate some of the signs associated with this hereditary disorder.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Laryngeal Paralysis The larynx is the valve between the mouth and the trachea. When the pet swallows, the larynx closes allowing food to pass over the larynx and into the esophagus. When the pet breathes, the muscles of the larynx open allowing air into the trachea. Laryngeal Paralysis is a condition that causes the muscles of the larynx to stop functioning. This results in a permanently narrowed opening into the trachea, which makes breathing very difficult. At rest, pets with Laryngeal Paralysis may breath normally but as the need for airflow increases with exercise or excitement, the breathing becomes more labored and loud.

Breeds affected by a hereditary form of Laryngeal Paralysis include: the Dalmatian, Bouvier des Flandres, Siberian Husky and Bull Terrier.

Surgery is available to open the larynx in severely affected pets.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
BAER Test BAER (Brainstem Auditory-Evoked Response) test is required to evaluate hearing, as hearing loss can be very difficult to assess by clinical examination (ie. behavioural response to sounds). The BAER test is a painless and a reliable means of detecting hearing loss in one or both ears, that is available at veterinary schools and referral centers.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
E.R.D Test The E.R.D. (Early Renal Disease) screening test detects microalbuminuria (very small amounts of albumin proteins) in the urine of dogs, which is an early indicator for kidney disease. This new test is the most accurate way to determine if your pet's kidneys are normal. Other tests traditionally used do not indicate any dysfunction of the kidneys until 75% of the kidneys are damaged.

We recommend that this test be performed yearly in your pet.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Miro Cacik (Own work) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are predisposed to: Cushing's Disease, Hip Dysplasia and Glaucoma.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Bonfirebuddy at Dutch Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dappled Dachshund

Dappled Dachshund

Photo by Just Chaos [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinschers have a tendency to have or develop the following conditions: Juvenile Renal Disease, Seborrhea, Wobbler's Syndrome, Elbow Dysplasia, Pemphigus, Acne, Demodex, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis, Von Willebrand's Disease, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Panosteitis, Cardiomyopathy, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Hepatitis, Early Onset Cataracts and Atrial Septal Defect.

Doberman Pinscher Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect The heart is divided into four chambers and the top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. A wall separates the right and left atria in order to prevent the mixing of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood. This wall is called the septum and a hole in this wall is called a septal defect. The best way to detect this abnormality is to perform an ultrasound of the heart.

In breeds where this is prevalent, we recommend a routine ultrasound screening.

Atrial Septal Defects are fairly uncommon in the dog; however, the Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Samoyed and Old English Sheepdog are considered to have an increased risk for Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Canine Acne Dogs with Canine Acne develop a Skin Disease characterized by multiple comedones (pimples) on their chin, lips and muzzle. These plugs of keratin and sebum block the hair follicles, which are commonly called "blackheads."

This condition is hereditary but can be managed with frequent cleaning of the affected area as well as application of medications containing benzoyl peroxide.

This condition affects young adult Boxers, English Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.y Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.
Hereditary Zinc Responsive Dermatosis Zinc is essential to normal skin function and in some animals there is a hereditary need for higher than normal amounts of zinc. Without an increased zinc supplementation, this disorder causes scaling and crusting of the skin.

This condition is usually confined to the Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky. Young, rapidly growing Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes sometimes experience a similar condition due to a transient zinc deficiency.

Affected dogs of the Northern breeds must have supplemental zinc or the condition will re-occur.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Hepatitis Your pet is at risk for developing Chronic Liver Disease (Hepatitis). Hepatitis is the term used to denote inflammation of the liver. Hereditary Hepatitis is a genetic predisposition to developing early liver failure.

Usually, this disease is slow at progressing and can be managed with the appropriate medications if identified early. We recommend twice a year blood tests to check for Liver Disease in pets that are at an increased risk to develop this disease.

The following breeds are commonly affected by this illness: Doberman Pinscher (predominantly female dogs are affected), American and English Cocker Spaniel, Skye Terrier and Labrador Retriever.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Panosteitis Hereditary Panosteitis is inflammation of the interior bone marrow caused be excessive ossification. This is a disease of young, medium to large breed dogs that may affect one or several bones. Pain is perceived when the shafts of the affected long bones are deeply palpated.

Medium, large and giant-breed dogs are affected. Most commonly, the German Shepherd, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler.

Photo by Christian I. Rivera (Ian Rivera) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino

Photo by Zeballos (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Bulldog
English Bulldogs are predisposed to: Pulmonic Stenosis, Hydrocephalus, Cryptorchidism, Urate Stones, Cystine Stones, Deafness, Demodex, Hypothyroidism and Acne.

English Bulldog Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Pulmonic Stenosis The heart is divided into two sides, the right and left side. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs, and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. The right side pumps the blood through the main pulmonary artery to the lungs. Pulmonic Stenosis is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of this vessel. This malformation narrows the opening of the vessel, thereby increasing the pressure required to pump blood to the lungs. This increased pressure causes dilation of the right side of the heart and eventually, Congestive Heart Disease.

Physical examination usually reveals a characteristic heart murmur in a young dog, which is present on the left side at the 2nd or 3rd intercostal space in a breed that is commonly affected; (i.e., English Bulldog, Beagle, Chihuahua, Samoyed or Cocker Spaniel).

Additional testing with radiographs and ultrasound are recommended to further characterize this condition and determine the prognosis.

Surgical correction is possible in severely affected pets. Some pets with mild disease can lead a normal life.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Canine Acne Dogs with Canine Acne develop a Skin Disease characterized by multiple comedones (pimples) on their chin, lips and muzzle. These plugs of keratin and sebum block the hair follicles, which are commonly called "blackheads."

This condition is hereditary but can be managed with frequent cleaning of the affected area as well as application of medications containing benzoyl peroxide.

This condition affects young adult Boxers, English Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Photo by SheltieBoy (Flickr: AKC Great Falls June 2011) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniels are predisposed to: Cardiomyopathy, Renal Disease, Hepatitis, Epilepsy, Closed Angle Glaucoma and Juvenille Cataracts.

English Cocker Spaniel Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Hepatitis Your pet is at risk for developing Chronic Liver Disease (Hepatitis). Hepatitis is the term used to denote inflammation of the liver. Hereditary Hepatitis is a genetic predisposition to developing early liver failure.

Usually, this disease is slow at progressing and can be managed with the appropriate medications if identified early. We recommend twice a year blood tests to check for Liver Disease in pets that are at an increased risk to develop this disease.

The following breeds are commonly affected by this illness: Doberman Pinscher (predominantly female dogs are affected), American and English Cocker Spaniel, Skye Terrier and Labrador Retriever.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Photo by LeCardinal (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Pointer
English Pointers are predisposed to: Demodex

English Pointer Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Breed Specific Recommendations
Fine Long Coat Grooming The fine, long coat is found in the Cocker Spaniel, Pomeranian and the Chow Chow.

While all long coats require frequent brushing, silky coats in addition require frequent bathing to prevent mats and skin irritation. It may be necessary to use conditioners such as Humilac or Alpha Keri to keep the hair soft and manageable and to prevent breakage. To brush out these coats, the hair can be lifted with the hand and combed or brushed down until it is free of snarls to the skin.

Spaniels grow two to three coats a year and need to be stripped or clipped at least every three months.

Photo by Anne Hornyak (originally posted to Flickr as Daisy) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Setter
English Setters are predisposed to: Deafness, Hip Dysplasia and Atopy.

English Setter Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Springer Spaniel
Springer Spaniels are predisposed to: Bleeding Disorders, Myasthenia, Seborrhea, Juvenile Cataracts, Ectropion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia and Diabetes.

English Springer Spaniel Blood Disorders
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.

Photo by Hhoefling (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Toy Spaniel
English Toy Spaniels are predisposed to: Patellar Luxation, Cleft Palate, Umbilical Hernia, Diabetes mellitus, Epilepsy, Early Onset Cataracts, Exposure Keratopathy, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Mitral Valve Dysplasia and Xanthine Stones.

English Toy Spaniel Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
E.R.D Test The E.R.D. (Early Renal Disease) screening test detects microalbuminuria (very small amounts of albumin proteins) in the urine of dogs, which is an early indicator for kidney disease. This new test is the most accurate way to determine if your pet's kidneys are normal. Other tests traditionally used do not indicate any dysfunction of the kidneys until 75% of the kidneys are damaged.

We recommend that this test be performed yearly in your pet.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Silky Coat Grooming Silky coat breeds require special care. Typical breeds include Spaniels, Afghan Hounds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Setters, Lhasa Apsos and Pekinese.

Equipment includes: Slicker brush, Medium and fine steel combs, Natural bristle and pin brushes, Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife and Barber scissors.

While all long coats require frequent brushing, silky coats in addition require frequent bathing to prevent mats and skin irritation. It may be necessary to use conditioners such as Humilac or Alpha Keri to keep the hair soft and manageable and to prevent breakage. To brush out these coats, the hair can be lifted with the hand and combed or brushed down until it is free of snarls to the skin.

Spaniels grow two to three coats a year and need to be stripped or clipped at least every three months.

Photo by Charlyronni (originally posted to Flickr as English Toy Spaniel) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breeds - F, G, H, I

Field Spaniel
Field Spaniels are predisposed to: Pyometra, Hip Dysplasia, Anesthetic Idiosyncracy, Cataracts, Hypothyroidism, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia.

Field Spaniel Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Pleple2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fila Brasileiro
Fila Brasileiro are prone to: Hip Displaysia, Bloat, CHD, Gastric Torsion, Elbow Dysplasia and PRA.

Fila Brasileiro Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Pleple2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Finnish Harrier

Finnish Harrier

Photo by Smcmilla [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Finnish Spitz
Finnish Spitz are predisposed to: Diabetes and Hip Dysplasia.

Finnish Spitz Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Flat-Coated Retriever
Flat-Coated Retrievers are predisposed to: Histiosarcoma, Luxating Patellas, Hip Dysplasia, Glaucoma, Epilepsy, Diabetes insipidus, Megaesophagus, Cataracts, Distichiasis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Entropion, Hypothyroidism and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Flat-Coated Retriever Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome A connective tissue disease characterized by loose, hyperextensible and very fragile skin that tears easily.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Flickr users David and Lynne Slater (Flickr here) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fox Terrier
Fox Terriers are predisposed to: Lens Luxation, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Legg Perthes Disease (hip malformation), failure of permanent teeth to form and cutaneous mast cell tumors.

Fox Terrier Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease is a condition of the hip joint in young, small breed dogs where the head of the femur (ball component of the ball and socket joint), looses its blood supply and degenerates. The first sign is a reluctance to use the leg after exercise followed by a persistent lameness. Radiographs show minimal changes early in the disease but will show drastic changes as the ball degenerates and eventually collapses in on it.

Surgical removal of the ball (head of the femur), is usually curative.

This disease is seen in young small-breed dogs, including Terriers and Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Foxhound

Foxhound

Photo Flickr user Thowra_uk (Flickr here) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are predisposed to: Ulcerative Colitis, Hemivertebra and Intervertebral Disc Disease.

French Bulldog Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Ulcerative Colitis Your pet has a hereditary predisposition to developing an intestinal disease that results in diarrhea as well as loss of serum proteins into the gut. This disease is caused by an infiltration of the wall of the intestines with white blood cells called histiocytes. These white blood cells are very reactive and are creating a "war zone" as if the gut were infected. The resulting immunologic battle is very harmful to the gut and difficult to control.

This disease is best managed when diagnosed early in its course. Diagnosis is best made with endoscopic examination and biopsy of the intestines or colon.

This disease may occur in any pet with chronic infections or Allergies of the intestines, but is most common in the Boxer and French Bulldog.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary IgA Deficiency Antibodies are essential for protection of the pet against disease. IgA is a class of antibodies that protect the body surfaces such as the skin as well as mucous producing surfaces such as the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts. Pets with a hereditary IgA Deficiency tend to have recurrent infections in these locations.

Breeds that are affected by this disease include the Chinese Shar Pei, Beagle and German Shepherd.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.
Hereditary Hypoplastic Trachea The trachea is the pipe that carries air from the mouth to the lungs. A Hypoplastic Trachea is a hereditary defect resulting in a smaller than normal diameter of the trachea. Pets with a Hypoplastic Trachea are at risk for heat stroke, respiratory infections and certainly exercise intolerance.

We recommend an examination and possibly radiographs of pets at risk for this disease; such as, the English Bulldog and Boston Terrier.

There is no therapy for a Hypoplastic Trachea, but the condition can be managed so that the pet can lead a normal life.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.

Photo by The original uploader was EGILEO at Italian Wikipedia [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

German Shepherd
German Shepherds are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Myasthenia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Megaesophagus, Pancreatic Insufficiency, IgA Deficiency, Lupus, Epilepsy, Gastritis, Wobbler's Syndrome, Demodex, Seborrhea, Pemphigus, Eczema, Diabetes, Von Willebrand's Disease, Cushing's Disease, Panosteitis, Hemivertebra, Congenital Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia and Aortic Stenosis.

German Shepherd Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.
Hereditary Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The tricuspid valve separates the upper right atrial chamber from the lower right chamber. The "spent" blood flows from the body into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty the tricuspid valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle. The tricuspid valve then closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the valve and results in abnormal blood flow that can in turn cause congestive heart failure.

Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. The severity of the dysplasia however can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is mostly seen in larger breeds, especially the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Great Dane and Weimaraner. Tricuspid Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Pancreatic Insufficiency The pancreas produces enzymes that allow the intestine to digest food. These powerful enzymes are stored in the tissues of the pancreas until they are needed. When food is present in the stomach, these enzymes are activated and secreted into the small intestine. German Shepherd dogs sometimes have a hereditary defect in the pancreas that prevents normal enzyme manufacture which results in Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. The signs are soft stools or diarrhea with weight loss in the face of a ravenous appetite.

This condition is most common in the German Shepherd dog but can affect any pet.
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary IgA Deficiency Antibodies are essential for protection of the pet against disease. IgA is a class of antibodies that protect the body surfaces such as the skin as well as mucous producing surfaces such as the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts. Pets with a hereditary IgA Deficiency tend to have recurrent infections in these locations.

Breeds that are affected by this disease include the Chinese Shar Pei, Beagle and German Shepherd.
Hereditary Lupus Erythematosus Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a severe immunological disease affecting many body systems including the skin, bones, kidneys and blood.

Hereditary SLE affects several breeds including the Collie, Shetland Sheepdog and German Shepherd, as well as crosses of these breeds.
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.
Hereditary German Shepherd Pyoderma Pyoderma is the term we use to describe skin that is severely inflamed or infected. German Shepherd dogs have a severe form of skin infection that is difficult to cure. This is a very deep-seated infection that penetrates into the deep layers of the skin.

Affected pets can be treated, but treatment may be life-long.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Panosteitis Hereditary Panosteitis is inflammation of the interior bone marrow caused be excessive ossification. This is a disease of young, medium to large breed dogs that may affect one or several bones. Pain is perceived when the shafts of the affected long bones are deeply palpated.

Medium, large and giant-breed dogs are affected. Most commonly, the German Shepherd, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler.

Photo by Aksel07 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

German Shorthaired Pointer
German Short-Haired Pointers are predisposed to develop: Hip Dysplasia, Hemivertebra, Juvenile Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Eczema around the paws, Von Willebrand's Disease and Aortic Stenosis.

German Shorthaired Pointer Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hemivertebra The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spinal column. A Hemivertebra is a hereditary malformation of one or several vertebrae. This condition may result in a curvature of the spine and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic damage. Hemivertebra that are compressing on the spine may require surgical decompression.

Hemivertebra occurs in the German Short-haired Pointer and the German Shepherd. It is seen most commonly in screw-tailed breeds (Boston Terrier, Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug), where the kinked tail is the result of Hemivertebra in the tail region.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by David Shankbone (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

German Wirehaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointers are predisposed to: Cataracts, Entropion, Hip Dysplasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Retinal Dysplasia, subcutaneous cysts and Von Willebrand's Disease.

German Wirehaired Pointer Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by Pleple2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzers are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Hypothyroidism, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Panosteitis, Seborrhea, Von Willebrands Disease, Hypothyroidism, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Cataracts, Eosinophililic Panosteitis, Glaucoma, Hemolytic Anemia and Vitamin B12-responsive malabsorption.

Giant Schnauzer Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.
Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia Anemia is a term used to indicate a low red blood cell count. Red blood cells live 120 days in the normal pet and as they "die", they are replaced by "baby" red blood cells that are made in the bone marrow. Anemia results when the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow cannot keep up with the loss of red blood cells. Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is a condition where the pet's immune system prematurely destroys the red blood cells at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to replace them.

This condition can be fatal and is treatable when diagnosed early. Pets at high risk should have blood screens twice a year to check for Anemia.

An increased risk of this disease is reported in the Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. It is more common in females than males.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by Paul Kounine (mischivo) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are predisposed to: Juvenile Renal Disease, Portosystemic Shunt, Epilepsy, Wobbler's Syndrome, Atopy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Myasthenia, Adult Cataracts, Diabetes, Von Willebrand's Disease and Aortic Stenosis.

Golden Retriever Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Valentina Storti from Verona, Italia (Coming!!!) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Gordon Setter
Gordon Setters are predisposed to: Juvenile Cataracts, Ectropion, Entropion, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Keratitis Sicca, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca and Bloat.

Gordon Setter Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by pink [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Great Dane
Great Danes are predisposed to: Entropion, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Megaesophagus, Deafness, Acne, Demodex, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis, Addison's Disease, tumors, Wobbler's Syndrome, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, Cardiomyopathy, Hypothyroidism, Juveile Cataracts, Ectropion, Glaucoma, Mitral Valve Dysplasia and Aortic Stenosis.

Great Dane Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.
Hereditary Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The tricuspid valve separates the upper right atrial chamber from the lower right chamber. The "spent" blood flows from the body into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty the tricuspid valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle. The tricuspid valve then closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the valve and results in abnormal blood flow that can in turn cause congestive heart failure.

Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. The severity of the dysplasia however can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is mostly seen in larger breeds, especially the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Great Dane and Weimaraner. Tricuspid Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Addison's Disease Addison's Disease is a condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the reduced production of cortisol by the body.

Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining the body's metabolism. In Addison's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly reduced resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease twice a year.

Breeds that appear to have an increased risk for this rare disorder include: the Standard Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Portuguese Water Spaniel, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Canine Acne Dogs with Canine Acne develop a Skin Disease characterized by multiple comedones (pimples) on their chin, lips and muzzle. These plugs of keratin and sebum block the hair follicles, which are commonly called "blackheads."

This condition is hereditary but can be managed with frequent cleaning of the affected area as well as application of medications containing benzoyl peroxide.

This condition affects young adult Boxers, English Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes.
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Zinc Responsive Dermatosis Zinc is essential to normal skin function and in some animals there is a hereditary need for higher than normal amounts of zinc. Without an increased zinc supplementation, this disorder causes scaling and crusting of the skin.

This condition is usually confined to the Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky. Young, rapidly growing Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes sometimes experience a similar condition due to a transient zinc deficiency.

Affected dogs of the Northern breeds must have supplemental zinc or the condition will re-occur.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Rytis Mikelskas [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Great Pyrenees, Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Great Pyrenees are predisposed to: Gastric dilation, Deafness, Persistent Retinal Degeneration, Wobbler's Syndrome, Ectropion, Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.

Great Pyrenees, Pyrenean Mountain Dog Eye Disorders
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Flickr user striatic (Flickr here) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. KIKKUZZO88 assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Greyhound
Greyhounds are predisposed to: Allergic Dermatitis, Megaesophagus, Deafness, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and weight fluctuations.

Greyhound Eye Disorders
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Havanese
Havanese are predisposed to: Juvenile Cataracts

Havanese Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Photo by Lucky11 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ibizan Hound
Ibizan Hounds are predisposed to: Crytorchidism, Allergies, Cataracts, Hypothyroidism, Thrombocytopathy, Bloat, Epilepsy, Deafness and hypersensitivity to several chemicals.

Ibizan Hound Blood Disorders
Hereditary Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia When tissues of your pet are damaged, bleeding occurs. This bleeding stops partly because of the blood platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that convert from "slippery" cells to "sticky" dough balls in the presence of tissue damage. Platelets are essential and work with the other clotting mechanisms to stop hemorrhaging.

Hereditary Thrombocytopenia is a disease where the number of platelets is lower than necessary in order to stop bleeding. This low platelet number is caused by destruction of the platelets by the immune system at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to produce new ones. This results in an increased likelihood that the pet will bleed seriously from a minor trauma or even bleed spontaneously.

Pets that are at risk for this disease should have their platelet count tested twice a year and should have blood-clotting tests performed prior to any surgical procedure.

The Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle have an increased susceptibility to this disorder.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Photo by Lydie Heritier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Irish Setter
Irish Setters are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Cryptorchidism, Gluten Sensitive, Megaesophagus, ear infections, Atopy, Seborrhea, Hypothyroidism, Wobbler's Syndrome, Juvenile Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Irish Setter Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy This disease is usually found in Irish Setters, but can occur in other breeds and has the signs of a food allergy with diarrhea and vomiting. This small intestinal disorder results from a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, the protein part of wheat.

Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy is controlled by feeding a gluten-free diet such as Canine z/d ULTRA Allergen-Free.
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Irish Terrier
Irish Terriers are predisposed to: Cystinuria, Digital Hyperkeratosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Irish Terrier Eye Disorders
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Photo by Pleple2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniels are predisposed to: Cataracts, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Malocclusion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Von Willebrands Disease.

Irish Water Spaniel Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Pets Adviser from Brooklyn, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to: Cardiomyopathy, Wobbler's Syndrome, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia and Juvenile Cataracts.

Irish Wolfhound Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy is a term that means bad heart muscle and is characterized by dilatation of both sides of the heart, with a reduced capacity for pumping blood. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the ventricular muscle rendering it incapable of effectively pumping blood. This failure to pump blood results in dilation of the ventricle and low heart output.

Signs of heart failure are a loss of appetite, weakness and depression, with severe congestive heart failure and difficulty breathing occurring very late in the disease process.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is seen more often in Doberman Pinschers than in all other breeds combined. However, it also occurs in the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, English Cocker Spaniels and Scottish Deerhound and is more common in males. The Boxer has a form of Hereditary Cardiomyopathy that causes more heart rhythm changes, but without the chamber changes seen with other breeds.

Electrocardiograms are recommended as a screening test twice a year.
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by M. Diot/Design Madeleine (collection privée) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds are predisposed to develop: fractures, Glaucoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Epilepsy.

Italian Greyhound Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Photo by Tesori di Carli (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breeds - J, K, L

Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers are predisposed to: missing pre-molars, overbites and underbites, Myasthenia, hip problems and Luxating Patellas.

Jack Russell Terrier Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Steve-65 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Japanese Chin
Japanese Chins are predisposed to develop: Respiratory difficulties, Heatstroke and Entropion.

Japanese Chin Eye Disorders
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Physical Exam We recommend a physical examination twice a year on all normal pets. An examination is required for vaccination administration once every year. However, since pets age seven years for every one of humans, having a physical examination every six months for a pet is like a human having an exam every three and one half years. Pets cannot talk to communicate how they feel, so they are on a faster path toward illness than humans. Many pets mask their illness from us, so only an experienced veterinarian can perform a proper exam to determine the state of wellness.
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Silky Coat Grooming Silky coat breeds require special care. Typical breeds include Spaniels, Afghan Hounds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Setters, Lhasa Apsos and Pekinese.

Equipment includes: Slicker brush, Medium and fine steel combs, Natural bristle and pin brushes, Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife and Barber scissors.

While all long coats require frequent brushing, silky coats in addition require frequent bathing to prevent mats and skin irritation. It may be necessary to use conditioners such as Humilac or Alpha Keri to keep the hair soft and manageable and to prevent breakage. To brush out these coats, the hair can be lifted with the hand and combed or brushed down until it is free of snarls to the skin.

Spaniels grow two to three coats a year and need to be stripped or clipped at least every three months.

Photo by Alex Archambault (originally posted to Flickr as Tongue out) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Japanese Spaniel
Same as the "Japanese Chin" breed. Japanese Spaniels are equally predisposed to develop: Respiratory difficulties, Heatstroke and Entropion.

Japanese Spaniel Eye Disorders
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Physical Exam We recommend a physical examination twice a year on all normal pets. An examination is required for vaccination administration once every year. However, since pets age seven years for every one of humans, having a physical examination every six months for a pet is like a human having an exam every three and one half years. Pets cannot talk to communicate how they feel, so they are on a faster path toward illness than humans. Many pets mask their illness from us, so only an experienced veterinarian can perform a proper exam to determine the state of wellness.
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Silky Coat Grooming Silky coat breeds require special care. Typical breeds include Spaniels, Afghan Hounds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Setters, Lhasa Apsos and Pekinese.

Equipment includes: Slicker brush, Medium and fine steel combs, Natural bristle and pin brushes, Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife and Barber scissors.

While all long coats require frequent brushing, silky coats in addition require frequent bathing to prevent mats and skin irritation. It may be necessary to use conditioners such as Humilac or Alpha Keri to keep the hair soft and manageable and to prevent breakage. To brush out these coats, the hair can be lifted with the hand and combed or brushed down until it is free of snarls to the skin.

Spaniels grow two to three coats a year and need to be stripped or clipped at least every three months.

Photo by LostinTexas (Alex Archambault) (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Keeshond
Keeshonds are predisposed to: Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Glaucoma, Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Growth Hormone Dermatosis and Von Willebrand's Disease.

Keeshond Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Patent Ductus Arteriosus During fetal life, the lungs do not function to exchange oxygen. The fetus derives oxygen from its mother by the Ductus Arteriosus, which is the vessel that allows fetal blood flow to bypass the lungs. When the pet is born, this vessel closes and blood starts to flow through the lungs. If this vessel fails to close, it is called a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA causes severe alterations in blood flow and a heart murmur that is continuous and machine like in sound. This characteristic murmur is easily heard during a complete physical examination. Definitive diagnosis usually requires radiographs of the chest and an arteriogram to outline the abnormal vessel. A PDA can be corrected surgically such that your pet can live a normal life.

Typical breeds that are affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Pomeranians, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hormone Dermatosis The skin is the largest organ of the body and is influenced by many changes within the body to the degree that the skin has been said to be a "mirror" to the internal body function. Certain Skin Disease is associated with a hereditary condition that causes reduced growth hormone production by the pituitary gland or increased sex hormone production by the adrenal gland. These diseases result in characteristic skin and hair coat changes in which affected pets have varying degrees of hair loss and darkening of the skin. Otherwise, the pets appear healthy.

Growth Hormone-Responsive and Adrenal Sex-Hormone Dermatoses are seen in the Pomeranian, Chow Chow, American Water Spaniel, Keeshond, Miniature and Toy Poodle and the Samoyed.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Marilyn Peddle (Flickr: Tuppence) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blue Terriers are predisposed to: Bleeding Disorders, Degenerative Myelopathy, Hip Dysplasia and KCS.

Kerry Blue Terrier Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Wiry Coat Grooming Wiry coat breeds require special attention.

Typical breeds include the Wire-haired Fox Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Schnauzer and Sealyham Terrier.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Duplex stripping knife, Fine and medium steel combs, Hound glove and Barber scissors.

Trimming the head, ears and tail should start on pups early. As adults, they require machine clipping every six to eight weeks or hand stripping every twelve weeks. Clippers should never be used on the bodies of dogs being shown, as this softens the coat by removing the coarse guard hairs. Unfortunately, this change seems to be permanent and dogs such as Miniature Schnauzers may be ruined for future showing. Hand stripping should only be done when the coat is ready. New hair should not be stripped except to tidy up a bit.

Photo by Alofok (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Komondor
Komondors are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Entropion, Cataracts and Hypothyroidism.

Komondor Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Corded Coat Grooming The corded coat breeds include the Komondor and the Puli, two Hungarian breeds.

Only mild shampoo, diluted 10:1 with water before application (so it can be rinsed out easily), a heavy-duty water spray and heavy-duty dryer are required. Dogs should never be clipped or combed. These dogs have a thick double coat that forms naturally into tassel-like cords described as controlled matting. Always use diluted shampoo. Squeeze it into the coat, do not brush or rub vigorously. Then thoroughly rinse with large volumes of water, spraying into the coat to lift and float out the dirt and shampoo. Do not rub dry with towels. Handle your pet like a fine sweater. Squeeze out by hand and allow to drip-dry.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kuvasz
Kuvasz are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Deafness, Cataracts, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Osteochondrosis and Von Willebrands Disease.

Kuvasz Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo by Julie (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Myasthenia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Portosystemic Shunt, Hepatitis, Epilepsy, Wobbler's Syndrome, Cataracts, Ectropion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia, Seborrhea, Atopy, Cushing's Disease, Panosteitis, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, Diabetes and Obesity.

Labrador Retriever Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.
Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia Retinal Dysplasia is a type of retinal malformation. The word "Dysplasia" simply means "a defective development of an organ or structure". Retinal Dysplasia occurs when the two primitive layers of the retina do not properly form together. Mild Dysplasia manifests as folds in the inner retinal layer. These are called "retinal folds". In "geographic" Retinal Dysplasia there are larger areas of defective retinal development. In the severe form of Dysplasia, the two retinal layers do not come together at all and retinal detachment occurs. Retinal Dysplasia is not progressive; It too is a congenital defect that animals are born and the condition is as severe as they it ever get.

Retinal Dysplasia can be detected as early as 6-8 weeks on a CERF examination. However, because the size of the eye is small and young puppies are often wiggling during examination, a 6-month recheck is recommended in order for the Ophthalmologist to better see the back of the eye.

This disease most commonly affects the following breeds: American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labradors Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bedlington and Sealyham Terriers.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Hereditary Idiopathic Epilepsy Epilepsy is a hereditary seizure disorder that usually begins between one and three years of age. All seizures originate from the brain and are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the neurons.

Epilepsy can usually be controlled with medications but affected pets should not be used for breeding.

Epilepsy can occur in any pet, but there is an increased risk and evidence for a hereditary basis in the following breeds: Belgian Tervuren, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Keeshond, Labrador Retriever, Poodle (all sizes), Miniature Schnauzer, Saint Bernard and the Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Hepatitis Your pet is at risk for developing Chronic Liver Disease (Hepatitis). Hepatitis is the term used to denote inflammation of the liver. Hereditary Hepatitis is a genetic predisposition to developing early liver failure.

Usually, this disease is slow at progressing and can be managed with the appropriate medications if identified early. We recommend twice a year blood tests to check for Liver Disease in pets that are at an increased risk to develop this disease.

The following breeds are commonly affected by this illness: Doberman Pinscher (predominantly female dogs are affected), American and English Cocker Spaniel, Skye Terrier and Labrador Retriever.
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Myopathy Myopathy is the term we use to indicate that the muscles are bad or malfunctioning. Hereditary Myopathy is an inherited disease of the muscles that causes weakness, exercise intolerance and an abnormal gait.

This condition is usually seen between five months and a year of age in affected pets.

This condition is reported in the Labrador Retriever and Bouvier des Flandres.

There is no treatment or cure and many pets with this disease become crippled while others seem to live a normal life, if not asked to perform athletically. This condition should prevent breeding of these pets.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Panosteitis Hereditary Panosteitis is inflammation of the interior bone marrow caused be excessive ossification. This is a disease of young, medium to large breed dogs that may affect one or several bones. Pain is perceived when the shafts of the affected long bones are deeply palpated.

Medium, large and giant-breed dogs are affected. Most commonly, the German Shepherd, Basset Hound, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler.

Photo by Boaworm (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lakeland Terrier
Lakeland Terriers are predisposed to: Lens Luxation, Cataracts, Ununited Anocneal Process, Undershot Jaw, Cryptorchidism, Distichiasis, Hypothyroidism and Von Willebrands Disease.

Lakeland Terrier Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.

Photo by K Johansson (Flickr: Flying Dog) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apsos are predisposed to: runny eyes, Exposure Keratopathy, KCS, eye lacerations, Hydrocephalus, Hip Dysplasia, Atopy, Oxylate Stones, Luxating Patellas, Intervertebral Disc Disease and Juvenile Renal Disease.

Lhasa Apso Eye Disorders
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disease The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that function to protect the spinal cord, which is in the vertebral canal formed by these bones. The vertebrae are connected to each other in a flexible arrangement by intervertebral disks. These disks serve as cushions and connectors of the spine and are made of cartilage. The shape of the disk is similar to the shape of a jelly filled donut. The outer "donut" is the soft flexible cartilage and the "jelly" center is a paste contained by the cartilage disk. Disks separate and act as flexible shock absorbers for the movement of the spine. Certain breeds that have short limbs or short facial bones have a defect in the maturation and formation of the cartilage in their bones, which results in their short features. This same hereditary defect is present in the cartilage of the intervertebral disks, resulting in premature degeneration and loss of the normal elasticity. This change predisposes the disk to rupture during which the "jelly" inside the donut squirts out against the spinal cord causing compression. Compression on the spinal cord causes pain and nerve damage that can be permanent without emergency surgery.

This disease may occur as early as 2 years of age in affected pets. There is no way to prevent the disease other than restricting the pet from jumping on to and off of furniture, restrict from stairs and do not encourage activities like Frisbee chasing.

This disease is most common in the Dachshund, however, it also occurs in many other breeds including the Basset Hound, Beagle, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Welsh Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle and the Doberman Pinscher.

Respiratory Disorders
Hereditary Brachycephalic Syndrome "Smash-faced" pets such as English Bulldogs are Brachycephalics. The name means "short face". These breeds are predisposed to breathing problems because of the foreshortened snout and narrow nostrils. The soft palate which is the soft fleshy continuation of the roof of the mouth is usually too long and blocks the opening of the larynx and trachea. The resultant air flow conditions are less than perfect for normal breathing. Surgical correction is recommended at a young age to avoid the eventual laryngeal collapse that is the inevitable and incurable sequelae to this set of anatomic circumstances. We recommend sedation of your pet for examination and possible surgical correction of this defect early in life.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. Pleple2000 assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lowchen
Lowchens are predisposed to: Juvenile Cataracts

Lowchen Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Photo by John M. P. Knox from Austin, USA (Basil Smile) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breeds - M, N, O, P

Maltese
Maltese are predisposed to: runny eyes, eye infections, Cryptorchidism, Portosystemic Shunt, Shaker Dog Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, Cushing's Disease, Tooth and Gum Disease and Hypoglycemia.

Maltese Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Cushings Disease Cushing's Disease is a common condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the body. Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining body metabolism. In Cushing's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly increased resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease at least once a year until they are five years of age and twice a year after the pet is five years old.

Cushing's Disease is more prevalent in the following breeds: Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds and small Terriers (Yorkshire, Dandie Dinmont). There also appears to be an increased incidence of the disorder in the Boxer, Boston Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Maltese and Cocker Spaniel.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.
Hereditary Shaker Dog Syndrome This hereditary disorder may develop suddenly in young adult, white pets causing the pet to tremor over the entire body. The tremors are uncontrollable, yet not harmful. The cause is unknown but is suspected to be related to a low level of a chemical neurotransmitter caused by an allergic/immunologic reaction.

There is an effective treatment if the diagnosis is made early in the course of the illness. Nevertheless, pets that have this condition should not be used for breeding.

This syndrome is seen in small breeds that are mostly white, especially the Maltese and West Highland White Terrier. It has also been reported in the Bichon Frise, Poodle, Beagle and Yorkshire Terrier.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Photo by en:User:Anyquestions [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Manchester Terrier
Manchester Terriers are predisposed to: Von Willebrand's Disease, Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease, Hydrocephalus, Glaucoma and Thyroid Disorders.

Manchester Terrier Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Von Willebrand's Test Von Willebrand's Disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs. Von Willebrand's Disease affects the way dogs' platelets work.

Common signs in young pets include excessive bleeding when teething, spontaneous nosebleeds or blood in the stool.

We are concerned with any untested pet undergoing a surgical procedure and recommend routine testing to insure post operative bleeding is not a problem.

All dogs are susceptible, but certain breeds are more prone to Von Willebrand's Disease, including: Doberman Pinschers, Welsh Corgis, German Shepherds and Scottish Terriers. Scotties develop a more severe form of the disease than do other breeds.
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Lewanika [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Manchester Terrier - Toy
Manchester Terriers are predisposed to: Von Willebrand's Disease, Legg-Calv-Perthes Diseease, Hydrocephalus and Thyroid Disorders.

Manchester Terrier - Toy Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease is a condition of the hip joint in young, small breed dogs where the head of the femur (ball component of the ball and socket joint), looses its blood supply and degenerates. The first sign is a reluctance to use the leg after exercise followed by a persistent lameness. Radiographs show minimal changes early in the disease but will show drastic changes as the ball degenerates and eventually collapses in on it.

Surgical removal of the ball (head of the femur), is usually curative.

This disease is seen in young small-breed dogs, including Terriers and Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Photo by sally9258 (Flickr: DSC00516) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mastiff
Mastiffs are predisposed to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Juvenile Cataracts, Exposure Keratopathy and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Mastiff Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Michelleparlier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mexican Hairless Dog
Mexican Hairless are predisposed to: sunburn and missing teeth.

Mexican Hairless Dog

Photo by Armineaghayan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Miniature Bull Terrier

Miniature Bull Terrier

Photo by Darmaninjl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Miniature Pinscher
Miniature Pinschers are predisposed to develop: kidney stones and Mitral Valve Dysplasia.

Miniature Pinscher Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.

Photo by Kpt vernunft (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Miniature Poodle
Miniature Poodles are predisposed to: Mitral Valve Dysplasia, Bleeding Disorders, Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease, Luxating Patellas, Glaucoma, Growth Hormone Dermatosis and Von Willebrand's Disease.

Miniature Poodle Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.
Hereditary Bleeding Disorders Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The proteins that are linked together are called "clotting factors" and the absence of one of these factors can prevent the web from forming, resulting in hemophilia. The "holes" in this web are plugged with platelets that, when "activated", the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the Von Willebrand's factor (a specific blood protein), in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. The most serious and common inherited coagulation disorders in dogs are hemophilia (deficiency of factor VIII or IX), and Von Willebrand's Disease (lack of Von Willebrand factor).

The following breeds have an increased incidence of Hereditary Dleeding Disorders and should be checked for Anemia on a routine basis along with screening tests for hemophilia prior to a surgical procedure. The predisposed breeds include: The St. Bernard, Boxer, Beagle, Alaskan Malamute, Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Springer Spaniel and Miniature Poodle.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hormone Dermatosis The skin is the largest organ of the body and is influenced by many changes within the body to the degree that the skin has been said to be a "mirror" to the internal body function. Certain Skin Disease is associated with a hereditary condition that causes reduced growth hormone production by the pituitary gland or increased sex hormone production by the adrenal gland. These diseases result in characteristic skin and hair coat changes in which affected pets have varying degrees of hair loss and darkening of the skin. Otherwise, the pets appear healthy.

Growth Hormone-Responsive and Adrenal Sex-Hormone Dermatoses are seen in the Pomeranian, Chow Chow, American Water Spaniel, Keeshond, Miniature and Toy Poodle and the Samoyed.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Patellar Luxation The patella is the kneecap and serves as the fulcrum point for the action of the muscles of the thigh to advance the lower leg. The knee joint acts as a pulley with a groove that the patella slides in. Patellar Luxation occurs when there is a hereditary malformation of the groove of the patella so that the patella can slip to the inside or outside of the leg. This creates abnormal forces on the knee joint resulting in arthritis and possible ligament damage. Patellar Luxation if severe should be corrected surgically as soon as it is diagnosed to prevent arthritis from developing.

This disease is inherited in the following breeds: Miniature and Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Boston Terrier, Basset Hound, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
Hereditary Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease Legg-Calv-Perthes Disease is a condition of the hip joint in young, small breed dogs where the head of the femur (ball component of the ball and socket joint), looses its blood supply and degenerates. The first sign is a reluctance to use the leg after exercise followed by a persistent lameness. Radiographs show minimal changes early in the disease but will show drastic changes as the ball degenerates and eventually collapses in on it.

Surgical removal of the ball (head of the femur), is usually curative.

This disease is seen in young small-breed dogs, including Terriers and Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Fundic Examination The fundic examination of the eye is indicated in pets that are predisposed for Hereditary Retinal Disease. The most common hereditary diseases are Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia.

This examination may be performed with pupillary dilatation and direct or indirect ophthalmoscopy. It may also be referred to an ophthalmologist.
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
Penn Hip Radiographs Your pet is at risk for developing Hip Dysplasia and should be tested to determine if this is a likelihood as early as possible. Early diagnosis allows for therapeutic intervention while the pet is still growing, resulting in much better prognosis than therapeutic options after growth has halted.

Penn Hip Radiographs are a series of five radiographic views performed after 16 weeks of age, looking at bony abnormalities and joint laxity resulting in an accurate index of the degree of Hip Dysplasia that may be present in your pet.

Special Certification is required for the Veterinarian to perform this test.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Curly or Wooly Undercoat Grooming The non-shedding, curly or wooly undercoated breeds require special attention. Typical breeds include Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Fine, medium and coarse steel combs, Scissors.

These breeds must be clipped every four to six weeks for best appearance. Expose the puppies to grooming at eight weeks of age so they will accept the clippers. Only the scissors should be used under the tail, as that skin is very easily irritated. Since dead and loose hairs from these coats are mostly secondary hairs that become enmeshed in the coat, neglect causes "felt" matting. All dead hairs must be completely combed out before bathing. The ears should be cleaned weekly.

Photo by B. Schöner (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers are predisposed to: Juvenile Renal Disease, Cryptorchidism, Fanconi Syndrome, Struvite Stones, Oxylate Stones, Portosystemic Shunt, Megaesophagus, Atopy, Juvenile Cataracts, Ectropion, Glaucoma, KCS, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Liver Disease, Heart Disease, Sick Sinus Syndrome, Von Willebrand's Disease, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism and Urinary Bladder Stones.

Miniature Schnauzer Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Sick Sinus Syndrome The natural "pacemaker" of the heart creates an electrical shock that moves through the heart muscle causing a coordinated contraction of the heart muscles. This contraction passes first through the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to force the blood into the lower chambers. Once the lower chambers are "primed" with blood, the electrical wave causes a coordinated contraction of the lower chambers (ventricles). The coordination of chamber contractions is essential for the proper pumping of blood. Sick Sinus Syndrome is a hereditary malfunctioning of this "pacemaker" that results in erratic and often ineffective heartbeats.

This condition is very common in the Miniature Schnauzer, but occurs less commonly in Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Pugs, Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

An electrocardiogram is recommended to diagnose this condition. When clinical signs are severe, a pacemaker may be placed to regulate the beating of the heart.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Hereditary Megaesophagus The esophagus is the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The term Megaesophagus is used to describe a very large and dilated esophagus with poor muscular contractions and poor movement of food into the stomach. Pets with Megaesophagus have persistent regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating.

Megaesophagus has medical and surgical treatment options; if your pet is within the list of affected pets and is showing signs of Megaesophagus.

The following breeds are at high risk for this illness and should be evaluated for this disease if they are showing signs of vomiting undigested food shortly after eating. Chinese Shar Pei, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Greyhound, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Wire-haired Fox Terrier.
Hereditary Portosystemic Shunt Your pet has a risk for having a hereditary defect in the blood flow to the liver. This defect may threaten your pet's life and can usually be managed if identified early. Blood flow from the intestines contains potential toxins which are removed by the liver before the blood returns to the general circulation. Animals with Portosystemic Shunts have an abnormal pattern of flow that bypasses the liver. Toxins usually removed by the liver now pass directly into the general circulation, resulting in damage to other tissues, including the brain.

Signs include temporary blindness, seizures, abnormal behavior and possible coma. These signs will increase in severity resulting in death if the abnormal blood flow is not redirected into the liver by surgical correction.

Commonly affected breeds include: Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer and, less commonly, Cairn Terriers and Maltese. Large and giant breeds are affected as well, especially the Irish Wolfhound and, less commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These commonly affected breeds should have blood and urine tests early in life and twice yearly throughout life to help diagnose this condition early.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Urolithiasis Urolithiasis is the term for bladder and kidney stones. These stones form from dissolved minerals present in the urine of the pet. There are hereditary predispositions for the formation of different stone types in different breeds. Stones in the urinary bladder or kidney are irritating, cause pain and block the flow of urine resulting in a potentially life-threatening condition. Stones form from urine by precipitation much the way "rock candy" is made from a warm solution of sugar water. The stones that form in dogs are of several types depending on the type of mineral excess and chemical conditions that may be present in the pet.

In pets at risk for stone development, we recommend twice yearly urinalysis to determine if crystal development is occurring. Ultrasound and radiographs may be recommended if stones are suspected. Once formed stones may be treated medically or surgically removed.
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.
Hereditary Fanconi Syndrome Fanconi Syndrome is a hereditary defect in the water regulation capacity of the kidneys. Pets with Fanconi Syndrome tend to urinate too often because they are producing more urine than they should be. This condition may lead to severe dehydration in the absence of adequate water supplies.

This disease is rare in most breeds, but is a significant disorder in the Basenji breed, affecting 10% or more of dogs. It is also seen in the Norwegian Elkhound, Shetland Sheepdog and Schnauzer.
Hereditary Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism is a condition present at birth in which one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum from where they develop in the abdomen. If the testicle has not descended into the scrotum by approximately two months of age, there usually is little chance that further descent will occur.

Photo by Flickr user jono2k5 (Jonathan Oakley). (Flickr here) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Newfoundland
Newfoundlands are predisposed to: Aortic Stenosis, Elbow Dysplasia, Cystine Stones, Pemphigus, Juvenile Cataracts, Ectropion and Exposure Keratopathy.

Newfoundland Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Aortic Stenosis The aorta is the largest vessel of the body. The aorta originates in the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the heart chamber that pumps the blood through the aorta to the rest of your pet's body. Aortic Stenosis occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the flow of blood from the left ventricle. This obstruction is due to a congenital malformation of the opening of the aorta and has several forms which force the heart muscle to work harder to pump the blood to the body. Congenital Aortic Stenosis is probably the most common heart defect seen in large breed dogs.

Newfoundland dogs have the highest risk for this disorder. It is also important in the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and Boxer. There is a mildly increased risk of Aortic Stenosis in the German Shepherd, German Short-haired Pointer, Great Dane, Samoyed and Bulldog.

Aortic Stenosis may be detected on physical examination or may be undetected until the pet is showing signs of congestive Heart Disease, fainting, or sudden death. This disease is best diagnosed with an ultrasound of the heart.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Ectropion Ectropion is the outward rolling of the eyelid, which is common in certain breeds such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. This condition causes the eyes to gather too much dust and debris, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes. Clinical signs of Ectropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes with discharge, and squinting.

Surgical correction can be completed if necessary.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.

Immune Disorders
Hereditary Pemphigus Pemphigus is a very uncommon immunological disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system attacks the skin, which results in blisters, pustules and crusting erosions. There are several forms of Pemphigus that affect different breeds.

The following breeds are at risk for one or more of the forms of Pemphigus: The Bearded Collie, Collie, German Shepherd, Akita Inu, Doberman Pinscher, Newfoundland and Schipperke.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.

Photo by No machine-readable author provided. Žiga assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terriers are predisposed to develop: Allergic Dermatitis and Glaucoma.

Norfolk Terrier Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Photo by User:ArwindKoendan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Norrbottenspets
Norrbottenspets are predisposed to: Juvenile Cataracts.

Norrbottenspets Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.

Photo by Unknown Author [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Norwegian Elkhound
Norweigian Elkhounds are predisposed to: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Juvenile Cataracts, Glaucoma, Fanconi Syndrome, Juvenile Renal Disease and Skin Disease (cysts, Seborrhea).

Norwegian Elkhound Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Seborrhea Seborrhea is a Skin Disease characterized by an excessive production of flakes and scales, as well as oil and wax. Seborrhea has two forms: an oily form and a dry form. The oily form is typified by the Cocker Spaniel with a greasy hair coat that is odoriferous. The dry form is typified by the Doberman Pinscher in which a "snow storm of dandruff" is noticed. This type of Seborrhea is an inherited disorder of the skin in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sebaceous glands and part of the hair follicles are hyper-productive. The rate of cell turnover in these tissues is significantly increased, causing excessive production of scale (dry flakes of skin) and sebum (fatty lubricating substance). Seborrhea Oleosa is the more greasy form while Seborrhea Sicca is a dryer form. Many dogs have a combination of both types and chronic, waxy ear infections (otitis externa) commonly occur as part of this disorder. Signs of primary Seborrhea are usually apparent by one year of age. Affected dogs are often greasy, scaly and smelly. Secondary Seborrhea is seen in older dogs and looks the same clinically, however, it is usually a response by the skin to other conditions rather than an inherent defect in the skin itself.

Breeds that are most commonly predisposed to primary Seborrhea are: the American Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, English Springer Spaniel and Basset Hound. It is also seen in the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Chinese Shar Pei and Labrador Retriever.

Genitourinary Disorders
Hereditary Renal Disease Hereditary or Juvenile Renal Disease is a hereditary disease affecting many dog breeds where the pet is born with poor kidney function. Early symptoms of Juvenile Renal Disease include drinking copious amounts of water (which might not be readily apparent in a house with more than one dog), frequent urination and dilute urine that has little color or odor. Some affected puppies will leak urine; others won't. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is often a chemical odor to the pet's breath and the teeth are sometimes discolored. Some puppies grow normally until they are diagnosed, and some appear as failures to thrive.

We recommend urinalysis and blood tests to screen for this disease.
Hereditary Fanconi Syndrome Fanconi Syndrome is a hereditary defect in the water regulation capacity of the kidneys. Pets with Fanconi Syndrome tend to urinate too often because they are producing more urine than they should be. This condition may lead to severe dehydration in the absence of adequate water supplies.

This disease is rare in most breeds, but is a significant disorder in the Basenji breed, affecting 10% or more of dogs. It is also seen in the Norwegian Elkhound, Shetland Sheepdog and Schnauzer.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Physical Exam We recommend a physical examination twice a year on all normal pets. An examination is required for vaccination administration once every year. However, since pets age seven years for every one of humans, having a physical examination every six months for a pet is like a human having an exam every three and one half years. Pets cannot talk to communicate how they feel, so they are on a faster path toward illness than humans. Many pets mask their illness from us, so only an experienced veterinarian can perform a proper exam to determine the state of wellness.
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Fundic Examination The fundic examination of the eye is indicated in pets that are predisposed for Hereditary Retinal Disease. The most common hereditary diseases are Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Retinal Dysplasia.

This examination may be performed with pupillary dilatation and direct or indirect ophthalmoscopy. It may also be referred to an ophthalmologist.
Eye Exam - CERF We recommend Wellness Eye Testing for your pet. Vision is one of your pet's most important senses. Two threats to the eye that can be treated if diagnosed early are Glaucoma and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye). We recommend testing for these potential causes of blindness.
Glaucoma Screening Tonometry is a measure of eye pressure, and is used in Glaucoma Screening. The eye contains pressure, which is generated by fluid production within the eye. As the fluid is produced, it is drained from the eye through the filtration angle. Anything that reduces the drainage of the fluid will cause an increase in the pressure within the eye. Pressure increases can lead to blindness because of the negative effects on the retinal and optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure is called Glaucoma.

This is a common hereditary disease in many pets and routine screening is recommended. Decreased pressure can alert us to the possibility of several inflammatory eye diseases.
E.R.D Test The E.R.D. (Early Renal Disease) screening test detects microalbuminuria (very small amounts of albumin proteins) in the urine of dogs, which is an early indicator for kidney disease. This new test is the most accurate way to determine if your pet's kidneys are normal. Other tests traditionally used do not indicate any dysfunction of the kidneys until 75% of the kidneys are damaged.

We recommend that this test be performed yearly in your pet.

Breed Specific Recommendations
Curly or Wooly Undercoat Grooming The non-shedding, curly or wooly undercoated breeds require special attention. Typical breeds include Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers.

Equipment includes: Oster clipper and blades, Natural bristle brush, Slicker brush, Fine, medium and coarse steel combs, Scissors.

These breeds must be clipped every four to six weeks for best appearance. Expose the puppies to grooming at eight weeks of age so they will accept the clippers. Only the scissors should be used under the tail, as that skin is very easily irritated. Since dead and loose hairs from these coats are mostly secondary hairs that become enmeshed in the coat, neglect causes "felt" matting. All dead hairs must be completely combed out before bathing. The ears should be cleaned weekly.

Photo by Dmitry Guskov (self-made by Dmitry Guskov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Norwegian Hound
Also known as Dunker
Norwegian Hound's are predisposed to: Microphthalmia, Deafness, Hip Dysplasia and Glaucoma.

Norwegian Hound Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Photo by Canarian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Norwich Terrier
Norwich Terriers are predisposed to develop: Allergic Dermatitis and Glaucoma.

Norwich Terrier Eye Disorders
Hereditary Glaucoma Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in pets. Blindness results from the negative effects on the retina and optic nerve that is caused by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure within the eye can be measured and should be less than 25mm Hg. When a pet's eye pressure exceeds 50mm Hg, permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve can occur within 24 hours. Because this condition causes permanent blindness and can be managed with medications and surgery, if identified early, we recommend screening for Glaucoma twice a year in pets at risk.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Atopy Atopy is a term used for pets that have Allergic Skin Disease because of inhaled allergens. Allergens are substances that cause Allergies and can be anything from inhaled pollens to grasses, shrubs, or trees, to dander and house dust. Atopy is an excessive reaction of the immune system to normal substances in the environment. The signs of Atopy are related to the release of histamine in the skin, which causes the pet to itch and scratch. Atopy usually causes disease and itchiness of the face, feet and underarms of most affected pets.

This illness usually starts at about two to three years of age and increases in severity with each passing year.

This condition occurs in many breeds, however, it is most common in the following: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cairn Terrier, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Wirehaired Fox Terrier.

Pets with a high risk of this condition should be fed a hypoallergenic diet to lower the allergen load on the pet.

Allergy testing is recommended for affected pets.

Photo by H. Gisin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are predisposed to: Addison's Disease, Juvenile Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Addison's Disease Addison's Disease is a condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It is caused by the reduced production of cortisol by the body.

Every morning your pet experiences a series of events in the brain that result in a chemical and electrical stimulation of the body from the sleep state to the conscious state. During this process, the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, as well as other hormones that prepare the body for the day's activities. This normal cortisol production is essential in maintaining the body's metabolism. In Addison's Disease, the cortisol production is greatly reduced resulting in signs from its effects on all body systems. These effects eventually cause a severe disease syndrome that is fatal unless identified and managed.

We recommend routine blood screens on all high-risk pets for this disease twice a year.

Breeds that appear to have an increased risk for this rare disorder include: the Standard Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Portuguese Water Spaniel, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Photo by Toller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs are predisposed to develop: Hip Dysplasia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, Wobbler's Syndrome, Deafness, Juvenile Cataracts, Entropion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Demodex, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, Diabetes and Atrial Septal Defect.

Old English Sheepdog Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect The heart is divided into four chambers and the top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. A wall separates the right and left atria in order to prevent the mixing of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood. This wall is called the septum and a hole in this wall is called a septal defect. The best way to detect this abnormality is to perform an ultrasound of the heart.

In breeds where this is prevalent, we recommend a routine ultrasound screening.

Atrial Septal Defects are fairly uncommon in the dog; however, the Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Samoyed and Old English Sheepdog are considered to have an increased risk for Hereditary Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).

Blood Disorders
Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia Anemia is a term used to indicate a low red blood cell count. Red blood cells live 120 days in the normal pet and as they "die", they are replaced by "baby" red blood cells that are made in the bone marrow. Anemia results when the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow cannot keep up with the loss of red blood cells. Hereditary Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia is a condition where the pet's immune system prematurely destroys the red blood cells at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to replace them.

This condition can be fatal and is treatable when diagnosed early. Pets at high risk should have blood screens twice a year to check for Anemia.

An increased risk of this disease is reported in the Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. It is more common in females than males.
Hereditary Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia When tissues of your pet are damaged, bleeding occurs. This bleeding stops partly because of the blood platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that convert from "slippery" cells to "sticky" dough balls in the presence of tissue damage. Platelets are essential and work with the other clotting mechanisms to stop hemorrhaging.

Hereditary Thrombocytopenia is a disease where the number of platelets is lower than necessary in order to stop bleeding. This low platelet number is caused by destruction of the platelets by the immune system at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to produce new ones. This results in an increased likelihood that the pet will bleed seriously from a minor trauma or even bleed spontaneously.

Pets that are at risk for this disease should have their platelet count tested twice a year and should have blood-clotting tests performed prior to any surgical procedure.

The Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle have an increased susceptibility to this disorder.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Diabetes Diabetes Mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of insulin. The body cells require energy to function and the source of energy in the cell is glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood after eating, then it normally passes into the cells supplying them with the energy they need to function. Insulin is the key that opens the door in order for glucose to pass through and into the cells. Without insulin, three things happen: 1) the cells are starving for energy, resulting in an increased appetite; 2) the blood glucose levels are high, causing an increased urine production; and 3) the cells use internal fats to make their own energy, which results in toxic ketones being formed. The typical signs of a diabetic pet are those relating to an increased appetite, increased drinking, and urination with weight loss. When a pet becomes severely ketonic, it may go into a ketoacidotic shock that is a true medical emergency.

If your pet is at an increased risk, we recommend blood and urine tests twice a year to identify this disease early.

Breeds that are at an increased risk include: the Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Finnish Spitz, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schipperke, and the West Highland White Terrier.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Skin Disorders
Hereditary Demodectic Mange Demodex is a mite that is present on the skin of all dogs, yet rarely causes any noticeable signs, however, there is a hereditary predisposition for Demodex to cause severe disease in some breeds. Demodex mites live in the hair follicle, and the number of mites in affected pets can grow to massive numbers in a short period of time. This proliferation of mites causes severe hair loss and a secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A Demodex infection can cause death in severe cases of untreated pets. Mildly affected pets are said to have localized Demodex and may present with a non-itchy bald spot on the face or feet of the pet.

A diagnosis is made by scrapping the skin and examining it under the microscope for live mites.

This condition is common in the Chinese Shar Pei. There is also an increased incidence of Demodicosis in the Afghan Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pit Bull, Pug, Rottweiler and Staffordshire Terrier.

Pets with a Demodex infection should not be used for breeding.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Deafness Hereditary Deafness is caused by degeneration of the nerves that are responsible for hearing within the first few weeks of life. This hereditary tendency is closely associated with coat color, and there is an increased risk of Deafness with increasing amounts of white in the coat.

This condition is more prevalent in Dalmatians than any other breed, but can occur at an increased frequency in the following breeds: English Setter, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Pointer and Rottweiler.

Diagnosis of Deafness that occurs early in life can be difficult, because the pets may behave and respond normally using their other senses to compensate. If your pet is at a high risk, we recommend a special test for nerve Deafness be completed prior to breeding.
Hereditary Degenerative Myelopathy Your pet may be at an increased risk to developing Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease develops in pets over five years of age and results in poor neurologic function to the rear legs. The disease is progressive, eventually resulting in total paralysis. This disease results in a reduced or abnormal nerve impulse transmission from the spinal cord to the leg. The nerves in the spinal cord lose their insulation or myelin, which is necessary for normal nerve conduction and to prevent "shorts" in the conduction of the nerve impulse. The cause of this hereditary disease is not known but is suspected to be due to an inappropriate immunological reaction to the nerves of the spine. Affected pets become unstable in their rear limbs and may have difficulty getting up.

Spinal and pelvic radiographs may be necessary to rule out other common causes of these signs.

This condition is seen most often in the German Shepherd and German Shepherd crosses. Degenerative Myelopathy has also been reported in other large and medium breeds, including the Kerry Blue Terrier, Collie, Siberian Husky, Belgian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Hereditary Wobbler Syndrome "Wobbler Syndrome" is a common occurrence in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers that occurs because of a hereditary malformation of the vertebrae of the spine. This malformation causes abnormal stress and compression of the spinal cord resulting in neurologic disease, "Wobbler Syndrome". The condition is usually noticed early in life as a slight wobbliness to the gait. As the disease progresses, the neurological damage becomes more severe, resulting in severe dysfunction of both the front and rear limbs.

Surgical therapy is available.

This disease is most common in the Great Dane, where the signs are first seen between 3 and 18 months of age; and the Doberman Pinscher, where problems develop later on between 3 to 9 years. Other large breeds that can be affected are the St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dalmatian, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, Bull Mastiff, Borzoi, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Basset Hound, Fox Terrier and Beagle.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Diagnostic Tests
Routine Blood Screen We recommend a Wellness Blood Screen for your pet. This test will help us assess internal organ functions that cannot be determined based on physical examination alone. Indications of internal organ functions, such as the liver and kidney functions, as well as the presence of infection or Anemia can be determined.
Von Willebrand's Test Von Willebrand's Disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs. Von Willebrand's Disease affects the way dogs' platelets work.

Common signs in young pets include excessive bleeding when teething, spontaneous nosebleeds or blood in the stool.

We are concerned with any untested pet undergoing a surgical procedure and recommend routine testing to insure post operative bleeding is not a problem.

All dogs are susceptible, but certain breeds are more prone to Von Willebrand's Disease, including: Doberman Pinschers, Welsh Corgis, German Shepherds and Scottish Terriers. Scotties develop a more severe form of the disease than do other breeds.

Photo by Mona (uploaded by Caronna 08:14, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Otterhound
Otterhounds are predisposed to: Thrombocytopathy with giant platelets, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Sebaceous Cysts, Von Willebrands Disease and Elbow Dysplasia.

Otterhound Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.
Hereditary Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia When tissues of your pet are damaged, bleeding occurs. This bleeding stops partly because of the blood platelets. Platelets are tiny cells that convert from "slippery" cells to "sticky" dough balls in the presence of tissue damage. Platelets are essential and work with the other clotting mechanisms to stop hemorrhaging.

Hereditary Thrombocytopenia is a disease where the number of platelets is lower than necessary in order to stop bleeding. This low platelet number is caused by destruction of the platelets by the immune system at a rate that exceeds the bone marrows ability to produce new ones. This results in an increased likelihood that the pet will bleed seriously from a minor trauma or even bleed spontaneously.

Pets that are at risk for this disease should have their platelet count tested twice a year and should have blood-clotting tests performed prior to any surgical procedure.

The Old English Sheepdog, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle have an increased susceptibility to this disorder.

Hormonal Disorders
Hereditary Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a reduced production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is necessary because it regulates most of the metabolism in the body. Low thyroid hormone levels cause a reduced metabolism, which causes many signs in many systems of the body. A low thyroid hormone may affect blood clotting, immune system function, digestion, hair and skin growth, and the overall attitude and wellness of your pet.

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by a hereditary immunological destruction of the normal thyroid tissue that may occur as early as four years of age.

The cause of this destruction is unknown, but it is more prevalent in certain breeds of pets including: the Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, and Miniature Schnauzer.

We recommend that the thyroid hormone levels be checked twice a year in all pets at risk, starting at four years of age.

Musculoskeletal Disorders
Hereditary Elbow Dysplasia Elbow Dysplasia is a general term that includes four separate disease entities of the elbow joint that affect young large breed dogs between 4 and 11 months of age. The disease are all related to the poor growth of the cartilage and bony constituents of the elbow joint and result in lameness and degenerative joint disease if not properly managed. Many large breed dogs are affected, and Elbow Dysplasia is more common in males than females.

Affected breeds include the Basset Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, St. Bernard and Weimaraner. Other large breed dogs may be affected as well.
Hereditary Hip Dysplasia Hip Dysplasia literally means "hip dys=bad plasia=growth". Bad growth of the hip joint results from a combination of genetic and nutritional factors acting on the growing hip of a large breed dog. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and in dysplasia the ball becomes flattened and the sockett becomes shallow. This creates an unstable joint and as the pet moves, the ball wobbles within the socket. This wobbling motion stretches the soft supporting tissues of the joint causing the first pain in severly affected pets; at about six months of age. The ball wobbling within the socket causes early loss of the cartilage and arthritis, but signs of this do not usually occur until after 3 or 4 years of age. Severe osteoarthritis is a common occurance forcing the pet owner to choose between a very expensive surgery and ending the pain of their loved one.

We recommend early diagnosis with a special radiographic procedure that can be done at 16 weeks of age. If your pet is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at this time, a new procedure can be performed to fuse the pelvic bone. This procedure has been shown to prevent the formation of Hip Dysplasia by changing the forces on the hip joint while the pet is still growing.

Feeding a diet reduced in calories during the first 18 months of life can also reduce the chances for Hip Dysplasia. Once Hip Dysplasia occurs, pain results from the poor strength of this joint, as well as from arthritis that eventually develops. Medical and surgical options are available that can alleviate even the most severe forms of this disease.

Hip Dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large and giant breed dogs and occurs in many medium-sized breeds as well. When obtaining a dog from a large or giant breed you should ask the breeder about hip certification in their breeding dogs, and for several generations back.
Hereditary Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a condition seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs. It is characterized by a defect in the normal growth process and the process by which cartilage is turned into bone (ossification) of cartilage. The defect occurs when the cartilage fails to ossify leaving a deficit in the bone, which is filled with cartilage. This cartilage cannot withstand the forces of normal weight bearing and joint action and eventually breaks down creating a painful joint and eventual arthritis.

This condition has hereditary factors and affected pets should not be used for breeding. Recent evidence has demonstrated that excessive nutrients and supplements (calcium) can precipitate this disease.

Photo Courtesy of the Otterhound Club of America (http://clubs.akc.org/ohca/) via permission from webmaster of site.Woohookitty [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Papillon
Papillons are predisposed to develop: fractures, Juvenile Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Mitral Valve Dysplasia.

Papillon Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Blood Disorders
Von Willebrand's Disease Von Willebrand's Disease is a very common bleeding disorder of people and dogs. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of VonWillebrand's factor, which is required for normal platelet function.

Blood clotting is a very complex process that culminates in the formation of a web of proteins (fibrin) linked together to form a net or patch across a defect. The holes in this web are plugged with platelets that when activated, the cell particles, which are normally slippery, act like sticky dough balls. This activation requires the VonWillebrand's factor (a specific blood protein) in which the absence of this factor, can delay blood clotting and prolong bleeding after accidents or surgery. Finally, the fibrin web traps red blood cells to form a clot. Von Willebrand's Disease also predisposes your pet to spontaneous bleeding events such as nosebleeds or bloody urine or stools.

The presence of this disease can be detected by several tests in the veterinary clinic to insure that your pet's blood has a normal clotting ability. The mucosal bleeding time test is preferred for pets at risk prior to surgery. A specific blood test for VonWillebrand's disease is available and is recommended as a screening test for pets at risk. This test is usually sent to an outside lab and results may require several days. Pets at risk for VonWillebrand's disease should also have a thyroid test, as there is a link between the severity of Von Willebrand's Disease and low thyroid production.

Breeds at a high risk for disease include: The Doberman pinscher, Scottish terrier and Shetland sheepdog. There is an increased risk of the disorder in the Golden retriever, standard and miniature Poodle, Welsh Pembroke corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Basset hound, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Manchester terrier, Keeshond, and standard and miniature Dachshund. This disease occurs in most other breeds and in mixed-breed dogs as well.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Progressive Retinal Atrophy The retina is the structure that lines the back of the globe of the eye, which is responsible for converting the light received by the eye to nerve impulses, that become "vision" in the brain. Like most tissues of the body, the function of the retina is dependent upon adequate blood supply. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the retinal blood supply. This disease progressively and irreversibly destroys the blood vessels to the retina, resulting in death of the cells responsible for vision.

This disease eventually results in blindness, which can occur as early as three years of age in affected pets. Pets at risk for this disease should have a complete ophthalmic examination twice a year.

There is no treatment for this disease, however, early identification can prevent hereditary spread from your pet or the parents of your pet.

Photo by Ron Armstrong from Helena, MT, USA (HMKC Spring 2007 Agility Trial) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terriers are predisposed to develop: Myasthenia Gravis

Parson Russell Terrier Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia Gravis is a disease affecting the junction between a nerve and a muscle, resulting in weakness. The brain communicates to the muscles through nerves, and the nerves communicate to the muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter substance that activates a receptor on the muscle. In Myasthenia Gravis the number of receptors is reduced, therefore, the nerve impulse has a reduced effect on the muscle. The result is a pet that weakens or tires easily.

Hereditary Myasthenia Gravis occurs as a congenital disease in Jack Russell Terriers, Springer Spaniels and Smooth-haired Fox Terriers. However, adult onset of Myasthenia gravis is seen in large breed dogs, particularly the German Shepherd and Golden and Labrador Retriever.

There are tests that can be performed on pets with signs of this disease, as well as therapy that is effective in controlling the signs in mildly affected pets.

Doctor's Recommendations:

Breed Specific Recommendations
Smooth Coat Grooming Smooth coat breeds should be bathed only as necessary for cleanliness.

Typical breeds include Hounds, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Beagles, Whippets, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Terriers and Boxers.

Equipment includes: Hound glove, or rubber hound brush, or Scissors. The scissors are used to trim the tactile hairs on the face or shape fringes on the tail, ears or brisket. The coat can be rubbed to shiny sleekness using the hound glove, the hands or towels.

Photo by Rabensteiner (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Pekingese
Pekingese are predisposed to: eye diseases, respiratory problems, Hydrocephalus, Cryptorchidism, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Mitral Valve Dysplasia and Luxating Patellas.

Pekingese Cardiovascular Diseases
Hereditary Mitral Valve Dysplasia The heart is divided into four chambers. The top chambers are called the atria and the bottom chambers are called the ventricles. The mitral valve separates the upper left atrial chamber from the lower left chamber. The freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the upper atria waiting for the lower ventricle of the heart to finish pumping. When the ventricle is empty, the mitral valve opens like a trap door allowing the blood from the atrial to "fall" into the ventricle, then it closes as the ventricle pumps the blood to the body through the aorta. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is a congenital deformation of the mitral valve. This disease prevents normal closure of the mitral valve and results in abnormal blood flow, which in turn can cause congestive heart failure. Mitral Valve Dysplasia is usually diagnosed on physical examination by its characteristic murmur. However, the severity of the dysplasia can only be determined with an ultrasound.

This disease is common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier and Miniature Poodle. It is also seen, but not as commonly, in the Miniature Pinscher, Toy and Standard Poodles, Whippet, Chihuahua, Pekinese, Dachshund, Beagle, Papillon, Great Dane and German Shepherd; as well as other breeds.

Eye Disorders
Hereditary Cataracts The lens of the eye is behind the iris and pupil. A cataract is any change in the ability of the lens to transmit light. Cataracts result in the loss of vision when they occupy the whole lens. Some Cataracts, however, may not affect vision at all. Cataracts can develop because of a hereditary defect in the structure of the lens or as a result of a metabolic disease such as Diabetes, which causes the metabolism of the lens to change. Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies, however, most Cataracts are hereditary. There are several forms of Hereditary Cataracts: 1) Congenital Cataracts are present at birth and may continue to progress as the pet ages; 2) Juvenile Cataracts form after birth, but before the pet is an adult; and 3) adult onset Cataracts usually form as early as 2 to 3 years of age.

We recommend a complete examination on every pet twice a year to observe for Cataracts.

While there is no medical therapy, surgical resolution is a viable option and any pet developing Hereditary Cataracts should not be used for breeding.
Hereditary Entropion Entropion is a common problem where the eyelid turns under so that the lashes rub the cornea, resulting in corneal irritation and ulceration.

This condition is common in many breeds including the Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Bull mastiff.

Signs of Entropion are related to irritation and inflammation of the eyes, red eyes and squinting. The condition may be corrected by a surgery, which results in a more normal relationship of the eyelid to the cornea, however, more than one operation may be required. It is better to repeat the operation later, if necessary, and correct the Entropion conservatively, than to overcorrect causing Ectropion. In breeds such as the Chow Chow, which can have particularly severe Entropion due to heavy facial folds, several surgeries may be required.
Hereditary Exposure Keratopathy Your pet's eyes are at risk for a condition called Exposure Keratopathy due to the shape of his/her eyes. The structure of your pet's eyes makes them more likely to dry out. Dry eyes are painful, irritated and are prone to ulceration of the cornea.

The breeds most affected by this condition are the Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard.

Surgical correction is available to reduce the size of the eyelid opening, which is usually effective in protecting the cornea from damage, and is recommended in pets that are affected by this illness. While these anatomic features are normal for certain breeds, there is an increased risk for permanent damage to the eyes, which could be minimized by encouraging dog breeders to choose dogs with less exaggerated facial features.
Hereditary Keratocojunctivitis Sicca Your pet is at risk for developing Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), which literally means "inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva because of a "dry eye". The cornea and conjunctiva depend upon the tears for nutrition and hydration. When tears dry up, the cornea starts to die from starvation and the conjunctiva dehydrates and becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes white blood cells to enter the eye causing a thick mucoid discharge that causes eye matting - this is the hallmark of KCS. KCS is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in a dog. The cornea of the eye will eventually become pigmented and opaque if the disease process is not halted and serious melting ulcers can occur.

Therapy is best when the illness is diagnosed early. If your pet is at risk, we recommend tear tests be completed twice a year to determine if the tear production is normal in your pet.

There is a predisposition to the development of KCS in the Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, English and American Cocker Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pug, Sealyham Terrier, Shih Tzu, Standard Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

Neurologic Disorders
Hereditary Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus is literally "water on the brain". The brain and spinal cord literally float in a fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This CSF circulates through the chambers inside the brain and down the spinal cord. In affected pets, the flow of the CSF is blocked resulting in an increased CSF pressure within the brain. Pets can be born with Congenital Hydrocephalus, and these pets may appear normal at first but the increased pressure will eventually cause brain damage.

There are surgical treatments that involve placing a tube in the brain to drain the fluid. This condition is commonly associated with an open fontanel (soft spot on the skull). An ultrasound through this soft spot can be very helpful in determining whether or not the pet has Hydrocephalus.

Congenital Hydrocephalus is most common in Toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, Manchester Terrier, Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.
Hereditary Intervertebral Disc Disea