Basset Hounds are generally robust and healthy dogs, yet, like all breeds, they may be susceptible to certain health conditions. While not every Basset Hound will encounter these issues, it’s important to be well-informed if you’re considering bringing this breed into your home. When searching for a Basset Hound puppy, it becomes paramount to connect with a reputable breeder who can present health clearances for both the puppy’s parents. These health clearances serve as evidence that the dogs have undergone testing and have been cleared of specific conditions.
For Basset Hounds, comprehensive health clearances should encompass screenings for hip dysplasia (with a fair or better score), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease, all of which are certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Furthermore, it is essential to obtain health clearances for thrombopathia from Auburn University and certification of normal eyes from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF). To validate these clearances, a quick visit to the OFA website (offa.org) will provide the necessary confirmation.
Remember, staying informed about potential health concerns and partnering with responsible breeders can contribute to the well-being and longevity of your Basset Hound companion.
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat or gastric torsion, GDV is a life-threatening condition that primarily affects deep-chested breeds like Basset Hounds. It occurs when the stomach becomes distended with gas or air and then twists, trapping the excess air and preventing the dog from belching or vomiting. This leads to a drop in blood pressure, shock, and potential organ damage. GDV can be triggered by factors such as eating one large meal a day, eating rapidly, drinking large volumes of water after eating, and exercising vigorously after meals. To reduce the risk of GDV, it’s recommended to feed multiple smaller meals, avoid strenuous activity after eating, and consider elevated feeding dishes.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: A hereditary disorder, von Willebrand’s disease affects the dog’s blood clotting ability, leading to prolonged bleeding and mild to moderate bleeding episodes. If your Basset Hound shows signs of excessive bleeding or has a prolonged bleeding time, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian and have them tested for this condition. With proper management and precautions, affected dogs can lead a normal and happy life.
- Panosteitis (Wandering or Transient Lameness): Panosteitis is a mysterious ailment often seen in young Basset Hounds, causing sudden episodes of lameness that can vary in severity. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the long bones, which may lead to discomfort and limping. However, most puppies outgrow panosteitis by the age of two, and it doesn’t usually result in long-term problems. It’s essential for owners to be aware of this condition to avoid unnecessary surgeries and consult a specialist if necessary.
- Glaucoma: Basset Hounds are prone to glaucoma, a condition where pressure builds up inside the eye, potentially leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma can be painful and requires immediate veterinary attention. If you notice any signs of squinting, tearing, redness, or bulging eyes, take your Basset Hound to the vet for a thorough eye examination.
- Allergies: Like many other breeds, Basset Hounds can suffer from allergies, which may be food-related, contact-related (such as bedding or shampoos), or inhalant allergies caused by airborne allergens like pollen and dust. Allergies can result in various symptoms, including itching, skin irritation, and ear infections. Identifying the allergen and providing appropriate treatment, which may involve dietary adjustments or medication, is essential for managing allergies in Basset Hounds.
- Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation, also known as “slipped stifles,” is a common orthopedic issue in small dog breeds like Basset Hounds. It occurs when the patella (knee cap) is not properly aligned within the femur (thigh bone), leading to lameness and abnormal gait. In mild cases, dogs may experience temporary lameness, while severe cases may require surgical intervention to realign the patella properly and prevent further complications such as arthritis.
- Thrombopathia: Thrombopathia is a blood platelet disorder occasionally found in Basset Hounds, affecting their blood clotting ability. This condition can lead to excessive bleeding from minor injuries or surgeries. If you suspect your Basset Hound has thrombopathia, a blood test can confirm the diagnosis. With proper precautions and coordination with your veterinarian, dogs with thrombopathia can lead normal lives without major complications.
- Eyelid and Eyelash Problems: Basset Hounds are prone to eyelid conditions such as ectropion, where the eyelids turn outward, and entropion, where the eyelids roll inward, causing lashes to irritate the eye surface. These conditions can lead to discomfort, irritation, and potential eye damage. Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian can detect these issues early, and surgical correction may be necessary to alleviate the discomfort and protect the dog’s eye health.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease: Basset Hounds are especially susceptible to back problems due to their long-backed structure. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) can occur due to genetics, injuries, or rapid movements. IVDD can lead to symptoms like paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder control, and pain. Treatment options vary based on the severity of the condition, ranging from conservative management with crate rest and anti-inflammatory medications to surgical intervention for more severe cases.
- Ear Infections: Due to the Basset’s long, floppy ears, proper ear care is essential to prevent infections. Moisture and debris can get trapped in the ear canal, leading to bacterial or yeast infections. Regular ear cleaning, as well as addressing any signs of inflammation or odor, is crucial to maintaining good ear health in Basset Hounds.
- Obesity: Basset Hounds have a hearty appetite and can easily gain weight if overfed or not given enough exercise. Obesity can lead to various health issues, including joint problems and cardiovascular conditions. Proper portion control, a balanced diet, and regular exercise are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity-related health concerns.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic condition in Basset Hounds, where the hip joint doesn’t fit snugly, potentially leading to arthritis and lameness. Regular veterinary checkups and screening for hip dysplasia through X-rays can help identify this hereditary condition and provide appropriate management options.
- Cherry Eye: Cherry eye is a condition where the gland beneath the third eyelid protrudes, causing a red, swollen appearance in the corner of the eye, resembling a cherry. While this condition is not typically painful, it can lead to dry eye and discomfort if left untreated. Surgical removal of the gland may be necessary to address cherry eye and prevent further complications.