Basset Hounds, with their droopy eyes, long ears, and distinctive shape, make lovable and loyal companions. However, these lovely dogs can be prone to certain health problems. Understanding these common health conditions can help you provide the best possible care for your Basset Hound.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
Basset Hounds are susceptible to IVDD due to their long, low bodies. This condition involves the herniation or bulging of the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column, which can cause pain, nerve damage and, in severe cases, paralysis.
Signs of IVDD include a reluctance to jump or climb stairs, decreased activity, loss of bladder or bowel control, and in severe cases, the inability to walk or stand. Treatment can range from pain control and physical therapy to surgical intervention in severe cases.
Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV)
Also known as bloat, GDV is a serious condition that affects deep-chested breeds like the Basset Hound. GDV occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with gas and then twists, preventing the gas from escaping and cutting off blood flow.
Symptoms include a swollen or distended abdomen, excessive drooling, restlessness, pacing, and signs of discomfort. GDV is an emergency condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.
Because of their long, floppy ears, Basset Hounds are predisposed to ear infections. Its ear structure makes it difficult for air to circulate, creating a humid environment where yeast and bacteria can thrive.
Signs of an ear infection include head shaking, ear scratching, foul odor from the ears, and red or swollen ear canals. Regular cleaning and inspection of your Basset Hound’s ears can help prevent this common problem.
Hip dysplasia, a condition in which the hip joint does not develop properly, can affect Basset Hounds. This can lead to discomfort, difficulty moving, and in severe cases, arthritis.
If your Basset Hound shows a reluctance to exercise, difficulty standing up, stiffness or pain after physical activity, or an unusual gait, he could be suffering from hip dysplasia. Regular moderate exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help control the condition, while severe cases may require surgical intervention.
Basset Hounds love their food, but their penchant for eating, coupled with their tendency to be underactive, can easily lead to obesity. This excess weight can put extra strain on your already vulnerable joints and spine and can lead to other health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Signs that your Basset Hound may be overweight include difficulty feeling his ribs, lack of a defined waistline, and reduced activity levels. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help prevent this problem.
In conclusion, while Basset Hounds are predisposed to specific health problems, being aware of these potential problems and recognizing their signs early can ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your companion. Regular veterinary checkups and a healthy lifestyle are essential to your Basset Hound’s well-being. Understanding these possible health conditions is a key part of responsible pet ownership and can ensure that your Basset Hound enjoys the best quality of life.