November 14, 2008, Newsletter Issue #21: Common Puppy Health Problems That Are Hereditary

Tip of the Week

There are many common puppy health problems that are simply based on whether the puppies' parents have certain genes. These hereditary health problems can prove very costly and may mean your puppy's life will not be as long as it should be.

Before you buy a puppy, do some research on that breed to see which genetic problems are common. Then, ask the breeder if the puppy's parents have been screened to be sure they are free of these defects. For example, Standard Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand's disease, Hypothyroidism and Legg-Calve Perthes Disorder. If the parents have been tested and have received a clean bill of health, then the puppy is fairly likely to be healthy, as well. However, young parents could develop some of these disorders later in life, so there is not an absolute guarantee that your puppy won't develop a genetic illness.

You should also be sure that the breeder has a policy for hereditary defects. While you may not want to act on the policy because you have gotten too attached to the puppy, it is good to know that you have options, especially if your vet informs you of the condition hours after you bring your puppy home. For example, finding out that your puppy’s entire litter has Demodectic mange and will have to get painful shots every week may simply be more than you can handle, while finding out you need to pay for a simple operation for cherry eye is annoying, but manageable.

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