What is hip dysplasia?
The hip joint is a "ball and socket" joint: the "ball" (the top part of the thigh bone or femur) fits into a "socket" formed by the pelvis. If there is a loose fit between these bones, and the ligaments which help to hold them together are loose, the ball may slide part way out of the socket (subluxate). With time, as this occurs repeatedly, other degenerative changes in the joint occur (also called osteoarthritis) and your dog will become painful, lame and weak in the hind end.
This disease is progressive; that is, it gets worse with time.
What is acral mutilation syndrome?
This is a bizarre syndrome in which dogs lose pain sensation in their toes. This is due to abnormal development and slowly progressive degeneration after birth of the sensory neurons in the spinal cord and in peripheral nerves.
Affected dogs initially chew at their feet but eventually will do extensive damage.
This occurs in the German short-haired pointer and English pointer.
What does acral mutilation syndrome mean to your dog & you?
Affected pups usually begin to bite and lick their feet at 3 to 5 months of age, and have no temperature or pain sensation in the toes and sometimes up the legs. The hind legs are most severely affected.
Your dog's toes and feet will become swollen and ulcerated. S/he will continue to walk without any apparent discomfort on the mutilated feet.
Unfortunately attempts to prevent further mutilation are generally unsuccessful.
What is cutaneous asthenia?
Cutaneous asthenia is a group of conditions where there are various underlying defects in the structure of collagen, the fibrous connective tissue of the body. Dogs with cutaneous asthenia have abnormally stretchy and fragile skin which tears easily, resulting in large wounds. Some dogs also have looseness in the joints and abnormalities of the eye (lens luxation, cataracts).
This rare disorder has been seen in the boxer, dachshund, English springer spaniel, German shepherd, and St. Bernard, and in mixed breed dogs. It has also been reported in the beagle, Manchester terrier, Welsh corgi, red kelpie, and greyhound.
What is lethal acrodermatitis?
This fatal disorder is caused by a defect in zinc metabolism. Stunted growth is usually the first sign, followed by progressive reddening and crusting of the skin around the mouth and eyes, on the ears, and between the toes. Affected pups have a small or absent thymus - a gland that is an important part of the immune system - and commonly develop chronic skin infections, pneumonia, and/or diarrhea.
Affected pups usually die or are euthanized before adulthood, due to untreatable infections and progressive wasting.
Lethal acrodermatitis of bull terriers resembles acrodermatitis enteropathica in people and lethal trait A46 in black pied Danish cattle. However in the disorder in bull terriers, treatment with zinc does not reverse the clinical signs as it does in people and calves.
What is cerebellar abiotrophy?
The cerebellum is the part of the brain that regulates the control and coordination of movement. In this condition, cells in the cerebellum mature normally before birth, but then deteriorate prematurely causing clinical signs associated with poor coordination and lack of balance. The Purkinje cells in the cerebellum are primarily involved; cells in other areas of the brain may also be affected.
How is cerebellar abiotrophy treated?
There is no treatment for this condition. Dogs do not recover from this disorder and usually at some point (depending on the rate of the progressive deterioration that occurs), euthanasia becomes the best option.
What are leukodystrophies?
In these rare conditions, there is gradual or rapid loss of myelin in the white matter tracts in the nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord). Myelin, a fatty substance that coats nerve cells, serves as an electrical insulator and is crucial to the normal conduction of nerve impulses.
Dogs affected by leukodystrophies show a loss of coordination (ataxia) reflected by difficulty in maintaining their balance, an irregular gait which may also be exaggerated (eg. high-stepping), and a progressive weakness. The conditions vary between breeds (depending on the specific changes in the white matter), and the differences are described below.
What does leukodystrophy mean to your dog & you?
Rottweiler leukodystrophy/ Leukoencephalomyelopathy: Affected dogs begin to lose muscle coordination (develop ataxia), somewhere between 11/2 to 4 years of age. They may also have an exaggerated gait. The condition worsens over 6 to 12 months until the dog is unable to rise.
Dalmatian leukodystrophy: Clinical signs of this disorder begin at 3 to 6 months of age, and include difficulties with vision, poor coordination, and weakness.
Miniature poodle leukodystrophy/ Demyelinating myelopathy: Signs of weakness begin at 2 to 4 months of age and rapidly worsen to paralysis.
Hereditary ataxia (progressive ataxia): This is seen in smooth-haired fox terriers and Jack Russell terriers. A gradual loss of coordination begins by 2 to 6 months of age, and progresses to the point where the dog is unable to walk. These dogs have what is called intention tremor - that is the tremor worsens with effort (to move toward something for example) and subsides when the dog is at rest.
Hound ataxia:This condition (seen in beagles, fox hounds, and harrier hounds) begins at 2 to 7 years of age with poor coordination in the hind limbs, which gradually worsens over the next 18 months or so. There is some evidence that this problem is due to environmental causes rather than of a hereditary nature.
Labrador retriever central axonopathy: Signs are evident by 4 to 6 weeks of age, and include lack of coordination, weakness and an exaggerated gait. By 5 months of age, affected pups are unable to walk.
Afghan myelomalacia (hereditary myelopathy of Afghan hounds): Signs of weakness and incoordination develop in affected dogs by 3 to 13 months of age and progress rapidly.
Spongiform leukodystrophy: Clinical signs start as early as 2 weeks of age and include tremors, lack of coordination and an exaggerated gait. This condition has been reported in Labrador retrievers, samoyeds, and silky terriers.
Fibrinoid leukodystrophy/ Alexander's disease: This very rare condition has been reported in Labrador retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs. Signs associated with loss of myelin appear by 6 to 9 months of age.
What is meningitis?
Meningitis means inflammation of the meninges, which are the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. Most cases of meningitis are due to bacterial or viral infection. Some forms occur in specific breeds however, and are believed to have an inherited basis. This may be because of a genetically determined abnormality of the immune system.
How is meningitis treated?
Both beagle pain syndrome and Bernese mountain dog aseptic meningitis are treated with high doses of corticosteroids, which are gradually tapered to a low dose every second day. If 6 months goes by without problems on the low dose, your veterinarian may suggest that you try stopping the treatment. This works well in some dogs; others will have to be on a low dose for life.
Unfortunately there is no treatment that is effective for pug encephalitis. Seizures become progressively more difficult to control, and the abnormalities between seizures become worse. Most affected dogs are euthanized or die within a few weeks to a few months of the disorder first appearing.
What are disorders of sexual development?
At fertilization, the sex chromosomes are established as XX (the animal will be female) or XY (male). During development of the embryo, ovaries develop if XX, and testicles if XY. An abnormality can occur in chromosome differentiation (to produce XXY, XXX, XO) - this is rare in dogs and is not thought to be inherited. Gonadal intersex refers to developmental abnormalities in the gonads (ovaries and testicles) despite a normal set of sex chromosomes. In some cases (pseudohermaphrodites), the sex chromosomes in these dogs match the sex of the gonads, but the genitals are abnormal. This is only seen (rarely) in females, and is generally due to excess exposure to male sex hormones during development - ie. environmental factors rather than an inherited condition.
Sexual reversal describes the condition where the chromosomal and gonadal sex differ. Only XX sexual reversal has been seen in dogs. The dog may be an XX true hermaphrodite (female chromosomes in a dog with both ovaries and testicles), or XX male (female chromosomes, with testicles).
How are disorders of sexual development treated?
Affected animals should be neutered.
What is a ventricular septal defect (VSD) ?
A ventricular septal defect is a hole (or defect) in the muscular wall of the heart (the septum) that separates the right and left ventricles.
Before birth, the heart starts out as a single tube which gradually differentiates into 4 chambers during embryological development. Abnormalities can arise at several steps in the process, resulting in defects in the muscular walls that normally separate the heart into the right and left atria, and the right and left ventricles. The result is abnormal blood flow in the heart with varying effects in the dog, depending on the size and location of the defect.
What is megaesophagus?
With this condition, there is dilation of the esophagus due to a loss of normal peristaltic function. Peristalsis is the process by which waves of muscular contraction move along the contents (food in this case) of tubular organs. Animals with megaesophagus regurgitate undigested food shortly after eating.
What is severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)?
SCID is the most severe of the inherited immunodeficiency disorders. As the name implies, there is defective development of all components of the immune system. Pups are affected at a very young age, and are susceptible to a variety of infections
What does severe combined immunodeficiency mean to your dog & you?
Pups are usually affected by 3 weeks of age with problems like diarrhea, skin and ear infections, and respiratory infections - all of which respond poorly or not at all to antibiotics. These pups have stunted growth and most will die by 3 or 4 months, of severe bacterial or viral infections (commonly distemper). Male siblings of affected pups may have died of "fading puppy syndrome" or other vague conditions.
How is severe combined immunodeficiency treated?
In affected people, the only successful treatment for this disorder is a bone marrow transplant which at present is not technically practical in dogs.
And if you do plan on breeding.. For the love of Benji please get your dogs genetically tested first.
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