Common Health and Genetic Issues

Common Health and Genetic Issues


Cherry Eye: Protrusion of the tear gland associated with the third eyelid. Cherry eye is when the gland of the 3rd eyelid becomes inflamed, swollen, and protrudes from the lower lid, the condition is known as glandular hypertrophy. It is often referred to as "cherry eye" due to its resemblance to the fruit. It can occur in one or both eyes and usually occurs in dogs under one year of age. It can be quite frightening to a pet owner when seen for the first time. The most successful treatment is to remove the gland. Surgically reposition the gland and tacking it down often is unsuccessful and many times the gland has to be eventually removed. Dystichiasis is disorder defined as the abnormal growth of lashes on the inside of the eyelid. Generally this condition comes and goes and isn’t much noticed by the average owner outside of the dog’s eye tearing excessively. Other symptoms include inflammation, other discharges, and excessive blinking. The dog may also squint or keep the sore eye tightly closed or rub or paw at the eye. In more severe cases corneal ulcers can develop, the affected part of the cornea often appears bluish and may be less shiny in appearance.

Entropian: A conformational defect resulting in an "in-rolling" of one or more of the eyelids which may cause ocular irritation. Entropion is the inward curling of the eyelid so that the lashes scratch the cornea and cause irritation and eventual scarring and ulceration. It occurs when the eyeball is too small for the socket and the lids roll in toward the eye. Symptoms include red, irritated eyes, tear stains on the face, and constant watering of the eyes. Entropion is hereditary (a dominant autosomal gene) and usually affects the lower lid, but the upper lid may also be affected. One or both eyes may have the condition. Surgery is required to correct the lid and save the cornea from scarring. Ectropion A conformational defect resulting in eversion of the eyelids, which may cause ocular irritation due to exposure. Ectropian is the opposite of entropion and involves the lower eyelid rolling out, exposing the sensitive tissues beneath. The exposed tissue of the 3rd eyelid often becomes inflamed and infected, causing a condition known as "exposure conjunctivitis." Dogs (especially those with heavy facial wrinkles) are either born with it, or it may occur as the result of an injury or scarring from previous surgical procedures.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is associated with abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. Generally HD is considered to have a genetic base; giving the dog a predisposition to the way its hips are formed at birth and how much laxity is present in the joint. However, studies show that environment plays a large role as to whether DJD sets in. Dogs that may be predisposed to DJD may not develop symptoms unless the dog has certain environmental influences. Proper nutrition and the avoidance of obesity are critical. Extensive or inappropriate exercise can also damage growing joints. The Corso owner should be fully aware that HD is fairly common in the breed, therefore owners and breeders alike should understand how to best prevent it from presenting.

 Elbow Dysplasia: Characterized by varying degrees of elbow incongruity, bony fragments (bone chips), and ultimately, severe arthritic change.

 DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease) Arthritis: Degenerative joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthritis. The terms DJD, arthritis and osteoarthritis are used interchangeably. HD is a developmental disease meaning that it is not present at birth, but develops with age. Studies show a connection between excessive laxity and the development of DJD.

Pano:   Generalized inflammation of the long bones. Sudden lameness, usually in a front leg, self limiting. Dogs "outgrow" the condition. Pain can often be greatly reduced by restricting activity, i.e. rest is often the best medicine. Dogs that exhibit signs of lameness should be taken to a vet promptly for diagnosis.

Bloat: A very dangerous condition where even 10 minutes can make the difference between life and death. Gas accumulates in the stomach to the point where it becomes obvious on external examination. The real danger is that the internal pressure cuts off the blood supply to the stomach and other internal organs causing tissue to die and the dog to go into shock. Large, deep-chested dogs that usually eat once a day and are in the habit of bolting food, gulping air, drinking large amounts of water immediately after eating, and exercising vigorously after eating are more prone to bloat than others. Simple gastric distention can occur in any breed or age of dog and is common in young puppies that overeat. This is sometimes referred to by laymen as pre-bloat. Belching of gas or vomiting food usually relieves the problem. Clearly, prevention is wisest. Feed two meals daily and discourage rapid eating. Do not allow vigorous exercise for two hours after a meal.

Hypothyriodism : Hypothyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance found in dogs. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid glands over-produce thyroid hormone, causing a constant state of metabolic hyperactivity. Clinical signs include increased thirst and appetite, excessive urination, vomiting, weight loss, and increased heart rate. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can result in heart and kidney failure. Your dog will have to take oral drugs daily for the rest of his life. The drug is a manmade hormone called levothyroxine or L-thyroxine.

Congential Heart Disease: Birth defect of the heart. Disorders include holes in the heart, enlarged hearts, stenosis (narrowing that restricts blood flow) and other deformities. Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, exercise avoidance, coughing, difficult or labored breathing, and respiratory issues that get worse at night. Some conditions can result in sudden death and may not show any symptoms. Murmurs are caused by heart valve disease of birth defects. Not all murmurs are serious. Treatment varies by the underlying cause and can involve exercise restrictions, medications and surgery.

Idiopathic Epilepsy Seizure disorders are not uncommon in canines. Though there are many reasons dogs can suffer from seizures ranging from trauma, to brain tumors, to exposure or ingestion of toxic materials, perhaps one of the most frustrating conditions is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic means that the cause of the seizure is unknown. Idiopathic epilepsy becomes the diagnosis after a veterinarian tries to test for and rules out other causes. Blood and urine tests are usually done to determine if any toxins are present. Unfortunately there is currently no genetic test to determine carriers of this condition nor is their concrete evidence pointing to what the genetic correlation is. In the Cane Corso idiopathic epilepsy onset usually occurs around the age of 2 years old though may be seen as young as 9 months, and as late as 5 years old.