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Basset Hound Diseases and Conditions

Compared to other breeds, the Basset Hound is generally a healthy breed and most Bassets live a long and healthy life.

But, there are diseases and conditions that more commonly affect this breed which a current or prospective owner should be aware.

Common Basset Hound diseases and conditions are described below in alphabetical order along with signs and preventative measures.



Bleeding Disorders

Von WillebrandÂ’s disease and Canine Thrombopathia are inherited bleeding disorders. When a dog with one of these diseases is wounded, increased or excessive bleeding occurs because the blood does not clot. If either of these common Basset Hound diseases is suspected, a veterinarian may recommend testing as well as treatment to control the disease.

Signs
Consult with your veterinarian if you notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Excessive bleeding from wounds
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Red spots on the underside of the belly

Prevention
The best way to prevent inherited disorders is to exclude a Basset Hound that is seriously affected with any genetic disorder from all breeding programs. But, if your Basset does have a history of either, your veterinarian may recommend testing for detection.



Bloat (Gastric Dilatation)

Bloat is a condition in which a dog's stomach fills up with swallowed air and then rotates. It is a serious condition that may quickly result in death because once the stomach has rotated, the blood supply is cut off and the dog's condition deteriorates very rapidly.

Air is swallowed during exercise or strenuous activities or when a dog gulps food or water. While it is normal to swallow air, it is also normal to release it through a burp. Bloat develops when a dog is unable to release the air. Large breeds with deep, narrow chests are prone to this condition including the Basset Hound.

Signs
Immediate veterinary care is necessary when one or more of the following occurs:

  • Swollen belly and non-productive vomiting and retching
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Profuse drooling

Prevention
The following preventative measures are recommended:

  • Feed your Basset two or three small meals per day instead of one large meal.
  • Remove drinking water during meals and wait a while after meal time before offering water again.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise and excitement before and after meals.
  • Let your Basset eat in a calm environment, i.e. not in the presence of other pets and / or children.
  • Consider using a slow feed dog bowl or another method if your dog has a habit of gulping his food down.
  • Find out if there is a history of bloat in your Basset's lineage because if there is, then your Basset may be more prone to the condition.



Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is caused by a prolapse of the tear gland of the third eyelid. The exact cause is unknown. Veterinarians usually recommend surgery to correct the problem. To prevent further trauma or infection, promptly consult your veterinarian.

Signs
Red or pink swollen mass protruding from the inner corner of the eye which may be accompanied by a watery or thick discharge.

Prevention
None. But, if it occurs in one eye, monitor the other eye.



Ear Problems

A Basset's long, droopy ears can trap dirt and tend to retain moisture causing it to be prone to ear problems. There are many causes of ear problems including but not limited to bacteria, yeast, allergies, and parasites. A veterinarian can diagnose ear problems and provide appropriate treatment.

Signs
Inspect your Basset's ears and consult with your veterinarian if one or more of the following signs is noticed:

  • Shakes head or scratches ears a lot
  • Tends to cock head to one side
  • Redness, discharge, or an unusual odor
  • Pain around the ear area

Prevention
Clean and inspect ears at least once per week. Read Basset Hound Ear Care for more information about preventative ear care.



Elbow Dysplasia


Elbow dysplasia is a common Basset Hound disease that occurs due to abnormal development of the elbow joint in a growing dog. It causes front leg lameness which usually can be treated. But, the dog will most likely develop elbow arthritis as it ages. The exact cause is unknown but is most likely is due to genetics, over-nutrition, and trauma.

Signs
Consult your veterinarian if you notice:

  • Front leg lameness
  • Stiffness in the front legs

Prevention
The best way to prevent inherited disorders is to exclude a Basset Hound that is seriously affected with any genetic disorder from all breeding programs.



Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that causes excessive pressure to develop in the eye. The traits that cause a Basset Hound to have a predisposition to glaucoma are usually inherited. The signs of the disease usually do not occur until a dog is at least 2 years old. When the condition occurs, it can quickly (within hours or days) cause severe damage to the eye including blindness. It usually does not occur in both eyes at the same time.

Signs
Immediate veterinary care is necessary if one or more of the following signs occur:

  • Eye pain - your Basset is rubbing his eye with his paw, against the furniture, or against the carpet. Or, he may be squinting or fluttering his eye.
  • The pupil of one eye is larger than the other and is sensitive to light.
  • A red or bloodshot eye.
  • Cloudy cornea (front surface of the eye) - normally it's clear and you can't really see it.
  • Enlarged size of the eye
  • Vision loss

Prevention
If it occurs in one eye, a veterinarian may be able to suggest preventative measures to protect or control it in the second eye.



Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common Basset Hound disease that occurs due to abnormal development of the hip joint in a growing dog. It can result in crippling lameness and arthritic joints in severe cases. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as type of diet, weight gain, and rate of growth.

Signs
Consult your veterinarian if you notice:

  • Swaying or staggering
  • Discomfort when attempting to lie down or stand up
  • Reluctance to run and jump
  • Abnormal gait (legs move more together when running rather than swinging alternately)

Prevention
The best way to prevent inherited disorders is to exclude a Basset Hound that is seriously affected with any genetic disorder from all breeding programs.



Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral disc disease causes a spinal disc(s) to rupture or become herniated. Basset Hounds are prone to this disease due to their very long back. The exact cause of the disc degeneration is not always known but may be caused by age or trauma from an injury.

Signs
Immediate veterinary care is necessary if you notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Back pain, arched back.
  • Unwilling to turn or lower the head even to get a drink.
  • Yelping when handled, petted or lifted.
  • Reluctance to climb stairs.
  • Walking slowly and carefully.
  • Inability to walk or paralysis.

Prevention
To prevent injury to the back, discourage your Basset Hound from jumping on or off the furniture. Additionally, do not let your Basset Hound become overweight because extra weight increases stress to the spine and increases the probability of this common Basset Hound disease.



Luxating Patella

Luxating Patella is a condition in which the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position. It is usually an inherited disorder. But, in some cases is caused by trauma. Severe cases usually require surgery to correct the problem.

Signs

  • Intermittent lameness in the affected rear leg(s).
  • Pain while running. A dog may cry out and the be unable to flex his leg back to its normal position.

Prevention
The best way to prevent inherited disorders is to exclude a Basset Hound that is seriously affected with any genetic disorder from all breeding programs.



Obesity

The Basset Hound is one of the breeds that is more prone to becoming overweight and obese. While there are many causes of weight gain, it is usually due to overfeeding. Your dog takes in more calories than he is using. Prevention is important because obesity can lead to other health problems. Read Care and Feeding Basset Hound for more information about what, when, and how much to feed.

Prevention

  • Regular exercise
  • Provide treats in moderation and refrain from feeding table scraps
  • Monitor your dog's weight with the goal of maintaining his ideal weight
  • Consider your dog's activity level when deciding how much to feed him
  • Treat Basset Hound diseases and conditions that contribute to weight gain



Panosteitis

Panosteitis is a painful bone disease that causes lameness in Basset Hounds between approximately 6 to 24 months. This common Basset Hound disease can last for a few months or longer. It goes away on its own and once it does, there are few long-term side effects.

Signs
Periods of lameness that may shift from leg to leg.

Prevention
The cause of panosteitis is unknown and there a no known ways of preventing it.



Basset Hound Diseases and Conditions: Final Tips

While the list of common Basset Hound diseases and conditions may seem long, this breed is considered to be generally healthy when compared to other breeds. Some final tips follow.

If you own a Basset Hound:

  • Watch for common signs so that you can catch problems early when they may be more easily and successfully treated.
  • Practice preventative measures so your dog will be less prone to developing Basset Hound diseases and conditions.

If you are buying a Basset Hound from a breeder:

  • Purchase from a responsible breeder who is knowledgeable of common Basset Hound diseases and the appropriate steps to minimize the chance of inherited diseases and disorders.
  • Understand the likelihood of inherited Basset Hound diseases and genetic defects by talking to your breeder about the history of such diseases in the lineage of a dog that you are considering.

Of course, those good souls who have adopted a Basset Hound may not be able to learn much about their dogs' background. In this case, it is especially important to become familiar with common Basset Hound diseases and conditions as well as signs and preventative measures to provide better care for your Basset Hound.

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