Hip DysplasiaDysplasia of the hip is a disease of genetic origin. It
affects mainly large breed dogs. In general the illness can be described as a tendency to loosening of the
joint's particular components. The entire process develops slowly from the
moment when the dog starts to walk. At the age of about 6 months the joint's
elements cease fitting each other. In consequence they start rubbing against
one another what leads to fracture, subluxation and arthritis (inflammation
of the joint). The damage of the particular parts of the joint causes intense
pain and the dog has difficulties with moving. The level of pain as well as
the level of the dog's disability depend on the degree of the joint's looseness.
The bigger it is the faster pain will appear. Cause.
Dysplasia is handed down from parents to pups. It
also happens that dysplasia appears in pups descending from healthy parents
who are carriers of this gene. After the genes add up the illness develops
at their offspring. The speed of the sickness' development depends on feeding
and the intensity of physical exercise . An excess amount of calcium and protein
in the pup's feed causes fast growth, and that becomes a stain too large for
the joint. The slower the dog grows, the easier it is for the joint to adapt
to the body weight. Too much physical effort, too long walks with the dog during
its growth stage, increase the trauma within the joint. The symptoms of dysplasia may appear at every age. They are:
Cautious getting up and laying down
Apparent limping during walking
"Rabbit" run; the dog moves both its hind legs at the same time
Problems with walking up stairs
Problems with getting into a car
Problems with moving after a period of rest
The symptoms do not always correspond with the radiologically-diagnosed level
of dysplasia. Some dogs with recognized dysplasia may function quite normally.
That is why prophylactic examination of all animals intended for breeding on
the occurrence of dysplasia is so important.
The classification of the degree of dysplasia used hitherto in Poland A1- hip joints normal
A2- hip joints almost normal
B1- hip joints suspicious, indication for second
C1- light dysplasia
C2- moderate dysplasia
C3- severe dysplasia
Currently a new classification is being introduced: A- hip joints normal or almost normal
B- hip joints suspicious, indication
for second examination
C- light dysplasia
D- moderate dysplasia
E- severe dysplasiaDiagnosis
Dysplasia is diagnosed on the basis of an x-ray of the hip joints and an
orthopedic examination. The radiogram is done under narcosis. It is necessary,
as the dog has to be properly positioned for the examination. It is best to
have the x-ray done at a vet who is a specialist in this subject as the diagnosis
depends largely on the quality of the radiograms. Treatment varies according
to the age the illness was identified, and the level of the joint's "looseness".
In the case of small changes conservative therapy is employed, in more serious
cases an operation is necessary.The most appropriate age for a prophylactic examination, as far as conclusiveness
is concerned, is the age of 2-3 years. However, because of breeding and dog-show
relevant reasons the examination is done as early as in the 15th month of life
and in case of uncertainties (a B result) it is repeated after the 24th month.
Some specialists (i.e. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) advise not to
examine bitches radiologically during the heat period as the sexual hormones
do have an influence on the joints and the result of the examination may be
a bit worse.Prevention Dysplasia of the hip is inherited polygenically. When both parents are free
from this illness there is a large probability that the pups will also be healthy.
If the grandparents where also without a flaw, the probability rises even more.
As this defect is conditioned by many genes, it can't be excluded that dysplastic
offspring will be born from completely healthy parents (though it will probably
be light dysplasia). The frequency of appearances of dysplasia can be reduced
by adequate and consequent breeding plans. Although the regulations in Poland
do not demand all Ridgebacks to be x-rayed, every responsible breeder should
have it done. Dogs with diagnosed dysplasia should not be reproduced. Prophylaxis should also include the feeding method. There are quite a lot
of feeds appropriate for large breeds. The ingredients of such fodders are
Like dysplasia of the hip, dysplasia of the elbow, is a hereditary disease.
It mainly occurs to dogs of large breeds. In the effect of disorders in the
joint's development its cartilages have a tendency to peel away from the bone.
In such a case three disturbances may take place, separately or at the same
Ununited anconeus process (UAP)
The anconeus process should unite
with the rest of the bone by the sixth month of
life. If this doesn't happen the free bone fragment will move about inside the
joint causing arthritis and great pain.
Osteochodrosis of the elbow (OCD)
Fragmented coronoid process
OCD is the detachment of a fragment of the humeral bone's condyle and FCP
is the detachment of a small process of the elbow bone. Those free fragments
of bone move about causing arthritis and strong pain.A classic symptom of the dysplasia of the elbow is limping
on the front paws. The dog holds the hurting leg up and tries not to use it.
Sometimes the dog may limp only after a large effort. Dysplasia is diagnosed on the basis of an x-ray of the joints.
It is done under narcosis. It is necessary, as the dog has to be properly positioned
for the examination. It is best to have the x-ray done at a vet who is a specialist
in this subject, as the diagnosis depends largely on the quality of the radiograms.
It is best to do the x-ray of both joints as the illness develops in both paws
at the same time. Treatment consists in surgical removal of the unattached
bone fragments. In case of an advanced stage of the disease amputation of the
paw may be necessary. There is no way to completely prevent the appearance of
dysplasia in pups as it is inherited from the parents. That is why it is very
important to make sure that they are free from dysplasia. The breeder should
give you the run of the x-ray results. The perfect joints get an A grade. Although
the regulations in Poland do not demand all Ridgebacks to be x-rayed, every
responsible breeder should have it done. Dogs with diagnosed dysplasia should
not be reproduced. Prophylaxis should also include the method of feeding. There are quite a lot
of feeds appropriate for large breeds. The ingredients of such fodders are
The appearance of DS is conditioned genetically and affects
5% of the pups. Like other hereditary diseases it is caused by the mutation
of one or more genes. Even if the sickness doesn't appear in the pups, they
can still be carriers of the mutated gene, and may transmit it to the next
generations. Specimens with diagnosed DS should not be used for breeding! DS is a narrow canal witch "anchors" the skin to the spine or muscles. It
places itself in the back's midline, from the top of the head to the tail. It appears most frequently in the neck region, least often on the tail. DS
forms already in the prenatal period when the spinal cord is formed from a
region of the primordial skin. The skin does not separate from the vertebrae
and so a tunnel is created. It contains fragments of hairs and sweat glands
and connects the outer layer of skin with the spinal cord. A risk of infection
appears. The only remedial measure is an operation. Unfortunately, there are exceptions to the 'normal' sinus, i.e. one that is
attached to the spine and open at the skin above the spine. They are as follows. 1. Sinus occurring on the ridge. This is rare but possible. 2. Sinus occurring on the tail. This is also rare and very difficult to diagnose
because there is little loose skin. 3. Sinus not attached to the spine. This is not uncommon and, if the tube
is short, difficult to palpate. 4. Sinus not open at the skin. This, too, is hard to find especially if it
is not attached to the spine. The first sign is usually a lump under the skin
formed by growing hair and lymph fluid. Such a lump may become much more pronounced
on a bitch during the heat period. 5. Sinus attached to the spine and to the skin, but not directly above the spine.
This is a veritable beast to palpate. At least one case has been documented of
the attachment to the skin occurring on the upper thigh.
More information: rrcus ds Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a hereditary disease. The illness is inflicted by disorders within the immune system. For yet unknown
reasons the dog's organism produces antibodies (ATA or TgAA), which bind with
thyroid cells. The immune system's reaction is the destruction of those cells.
What follows is a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones. The T3 and
T4 hormones are responsible for the metabolic rate and their deficiency results
in a slow down of all the organism's functions (heat production and all other
production is lowered, cell division is slower).CausesThis disorder is mainly transmitted from parents to their offspring. Other
reasons are for example: neoplasm or infections of the thyroid, defects of
the pituitary gland (stimulating the thyroid's secretion). SymptomsThe thyroid cells are destroyed slowly, so the first symptoms do not appear
before a majority of the gland is destroyed.
behaviour - doziness, large sensibility to cold, lack of energy
skin - hair loss on the sides, the tail, around the neck; inflammation
of the skin and ears, great hair loss
digestive system - poor appetite, frequent constipation or diarrhea
other - fertility disorders, slow heartbeat, anemia, high cholesterol level,
illnesses of the eye's cornea
DiagnosisThe sickness is diagnosed on the grounds of blood and urine analysis - determination
of T3 and T4 levels, and the cholesterol level. In Western Europe testing for
the presence of ATA is possible. It is the best test - antibodies can be detected
in the blood much earlier than a decrease in the hormone levels becomes noticeable. TreatmentTreatment of hypothyroidism consists in administering synthetic T4 hormone
and lasts a lifetime. PreventionSo far, prevention is possible only by excluding the sick specimens from breeding,
and testing the dogs before lining.
Both these diseases are defects of the eyelids. They lead to disorders in
eye functioning and may even lead to blindness. Entropion consists in folding the margin of the eyelid towards the eyeball.
Hair from the eyelid touches the cornea causing conjunctivitis (inflammation
of the conjunctiva). The eye starts to water and to hurt. The dog rubs its
head against various objects or it's paws. After some time damage is inflicted
to the cornea and the inflammation spreads to deeper regions of the eye. Untreated
entropion leads to loss of vision. Ektropion consists in folding the eyelid margin to the outside. The eyelid
becomes detached from the eye, what allows access of contamination and bacteria.
The eye is also not moistened properly what leads to various infections.
Problems with dental plaque and calculus affect almost all dogs over 2 years
The deposit of tartar is a natural process. Dental plaque, accumulating on
the teeth by the gum margin, is made of protein and bacteria present in the
saliva. Its growth rate depends on the type of feed, genetic predispositions
and the state of health. If the plaque is not systematically removed it will
mineralize and so tartar shall appear. Its rough surface makes it easy for
new layers of calcium, protein and bacteria to add on. Growth of tartar leads
to the exposition of the tooth neck and to the formation of empty spaces in
the gum next to the tooth. These allow bacteria to gather. The effect is a
painful inflammation. The infection spreads also to the tooth root, causing
damage to the adjacent bone, what leads to tooth loss. The bacteria may also
make their way to other organs and cause various illnesses.
The first symptom is a yellow coating on the teeth, gathering mainly by the
gums. Other symptoms are bad breath and bleeding of the gums. In a late stage
of the sickness the dog will eat reluctantly and will not allow touching of
the mouth. A purulent outflow from the nose is a sign that the bacteria have
penetrated to the nasal cavity.
Treatment consists in removal of the tartar with an ultrasonic dental unit
under narcosis, removal of the sick teeth and administrating analgetic drugs
Preventive measures consist in brushing the teeth with a special paste and
canine tooth brush. Various teeth cleaning toys can be bought at pet shops.
Rubbing the teeth with lemon juice is an effective measure as well. Feeding
the dog with dry feed also reduces the possibility of tartar deposition.
Pyometra It is an illness during which a large amount of pus gathers inside the uterus.
It contains toxic substances that cause liver and kidney failure. There is
also a possibility of a life-threatening rupture of the uterus and peritonitis.
The disease affects mainly older bitches, over eight years of age, but it may
also happen to younger dogs. Causes This illness is the effect of hormonal disorders and frequent false pregnancy.
It may also be induced by hormonal heat inhibiting preparations. Treatment The only possible treatment is the removal of the uterus and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy).
It is purposeful in the case of younger bitches, when other afflictions have
not developed. In the case of older bitches and late stages, when liver and
kidney failure is apparent, ovariohysterectomy will not help much. The operation
is burdened with a large risk of complications and is not cheap. If the sickness
has been diagnosed early uterus-emptying drugs may be administered. Prevention If the bitch is not intended for reproduction, the best counter measure is
sterilization. Neoplasm of the mammary gland
A neoplasm of the mammary gland is most common for older bitches but it is
not a principle. Over half of them are malignant neoplasms, which metastasize
to other organs. The neoplasm may be induced by mastitis (inflammation of the
mammary gland) that occurs during succeeding false pregnancies. The only effective
measure decreasing the risk of this neoplasm is early sterilization, preferably
before the first heat. Then the threat is decreased to a level of 0,05%, before
the second heat - of 8%, before the fourth - of 26%. False pregnancy
False pregnancy is a natural physiological state during which physical and
psychic symptoms of pregnancy appear. It can be observed about 2 months after
The cause of this state is not clear, but it is probably
the organism's reaction to hormonal shifts taking place at that time. Symptoms
Symptoms of false pregnancy are the same as of a real pregnancy.
The organism starts preparing itself for the delivery of the offspring. The
mammal glands enlarge and a milk-like secretion appears. The bitch starts to
behave nervously, stops eating and is unwilling to go for walks. She starts
preparing a nest, digs holes in the garden, and gathers toys. Treatment In a benign course it is sufficient to provide the bitch with a lot of exercise
and mental training (learning new commands for example), limit petting and
the amount of feed (even by 75%). The food should not have too much protein. Administrating a homeopathic medication,
Pulsatilla, may also help. If the lactiferous gland is swollen compresses should
be used (a teaspoon of baking soda for a glass of lukewarm water). In a more
severe course lactation inhibiting drugs should be administrated (for example
Galastop), compresses applied, and a vet consulted. Inflammation of the mammary
gland may lead to a tumor. If false pregnancy appears after every heat the bitch
should be sterilized. Contrary to popular the belief having puppies does not
solve the problem.
Sterilization is an operation during which the ovaries and
the uterus are removed. It is done under narcosis. The advantage of this procedure is a decreased likelihood or impossibility
of many sicknesses of hormonal ground. This includes pyometra, false pregnancy,
and neoplasm of the mammary gland, ovaries and uterus. It also protects the
bitch from accidental line and unwanted offspring. The disadvantage is the
risk bound with narcosis, but this can be prevented by through examination
before the operation. The second negative occurrence, which may happen, is
urinary incontinence. It affects only 2% of the bitches and is liquidated by
a short hormonal therapy. Sterilization can be done from the 6 month up and
there is no top age limit. The procedure should not affect the bitch's behavior-
she will still be joyful. She shall not grow fat if she will be getting smaller
portions of food or a special feed. The bitch does not loose any more energy
for the sexual cycle so her demand for nutriment is decreased. The common opinion
that a bitch should have puppies at least once is a superstition. It doesn't
reduce the threat of illnesses on hormonal ground, and doesn't prevent false
Cryptorchism is a genetic aberration concerning male dogs.
It occurs already in the prenatal life and consists in a disorder in the process
of descending of the testes from the abdominal cavity to the scrotum. One or
both testes remain in the abdominal cavity or the inguinal canal and sometimes
in other locations. They can't produce sperms properly and the dog is not fully
fertile, although all its typical male reflexes are present. Sometimes along
with cryptorchism other defects occur, like umbilical and inguinal hernia.
Affected dogs suffer from neoplasms of the testes 10 times more often, and
half of these neoplasms are malignant. The other half are alterations in the
result of which female hormones are produced.