This guide will provide you with the lowdown on some common health issues in Beagles. Like all breeds of dogs, Beagles are more prone to certain health conditions.
If you know the symptoms to look out for and some key prevention tips, you could save your Beagle and yourself from costly veterinarian bills. The Beagle has an average life span of 12-15 years.
This breed, however, tends to develop certain health issues that you should be aware of. These include minor issues like cherry eye and knee dislocation and serious conditions like diabetes and epilepsy. Regular checks-up that include eye, thyroid, and hip exams can help diagnose issues early on.
Common Health Issues In Beagles
Let’s look at some of these health conditions in detail:
Diabetes results in a lack of insulin, or in some cases too much insulin. In both cases, muscles cannot convert glucose to energy. There are two types of diabetes, namely Type 1 and Type 2.
In Type 1, the pancreas stops producing insulin which is the most commonly diagnosed type of diabetes in dogs.
In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can produce insulin but the body is not able to respond to it adequately. Dogs that are affected by both kinds of diabetes will seem hungry more often.
Other symptoms include increased thirst and dehydration. The eyes and kidneys will also be affected, and there may be weight loss even though their appetite is normal.
The dog may be at more risk of infections, dental issues, and cataracts. If diabetes is untreated for a long period of time, your Beagle may enter a state of Ketoacidosis which is a serious complication and a sign your dog with diabetes is dying.
Ketoacidosis occurs when there is a breakdown of fats in the liver, creating ketones. This state can cause depression, vomiting, coma, and even death.
2. Cherry Eye
Cherry Eye which is also known as Eyelid Protrusion is a condition where the eyelid of the dog becomes enlarged and red. The eyelid begins to look like a Cherry, hence the name cherry eye. Dogs have three eyelids and the third one is located in the corner of the eye.
Your dog could also have discharge and redness in their eyes. They could also be pawing at their eyes as the cherry eye can cause inflammation and itchiness.
In certain breeds of dogs, the connective tissue of the third eyelid is weak, and these breeds are predisposed to this condition. This is just a theory, and there is no scientific proof that this is the only reason why breeds like Beagles commonly develop this condition.
Treatment and prevention of cherry eye include medication and surgery. It is important to treat cherry eye once it is diagnosed, as the third eyelid produces tears, and if not treated, your Beagle may develop chronic dry eye.
Glaucoma is a condition in dogs that increases the pressure on the eye. It is also known as intraocular pressure (IOP) and happens when there is an imbalance between fluid and drainage.
Dogs normally suffer from three different kinds of glaucoma:
- Congenital – is seen in puppies from three to six months
- Primary – an inherited condition that affects both eyes
- Secondary – develops because of the presence of another eye condition
Symptoms of glaucoma include redness in the white part of the dog’s eyes, swelling or bulging eyes, sleeping more than usual, squinting or avoiding the eyes from being touched, and increased discharge from the eyes.
Sudden onset of symptoms will warrant an immediate visit to the vet. It is best if you notice any change in your dog’s eyes that you call your vet.
Your vet may treat your dog’s glaucoma by prescribing eye drops for your dog and pain medication. In some cases, your vet may use cold temperatures to kill the cells that cause increased fluid in the eyes.
4. Knee Dislocation
Knee dislocation is also referred to as Luxating Patella. This condition occurs when the kneecap shifts sideways away from the normal position of the knee. In most cases, the knee rotates inwards towards the hind legs.
Symptoms of knee dislocation include limping and hunched lower back. You also may notice your dog’s legs making cracking or popping noises.
The major cause of knee dislocation in dogs is hereditary reasons that can cause abnormalities in the anatomy of the knee. Overweight dogs can also cause knee dislocation, which is why it is important to monitor your dog’s weight.
A physical exam will help to diagnose your dog’s knee dislocation. This exam can be combined, with an x-ray or MRI, but vets primarily rely on a physical exam to make the diagnosis.
Treatment for Luxating Patella includes weight reduction, physical exercises, medication, and in some cases, surgical procedures.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid glands. When there is a reduction in the production of the hormone, this can cause different issues in the dog’s health.
The metabolism of the dog is controlled by the production of thyroid hormone. When an adequate of the hormone is not being produced, the dog’s normal movements may slow down.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs include weight gain, lethargy, chronic skin and ear infections, and unable to grow hair in areas that have been shaved.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism is carried out through a blood test and urine analysis. Your vet may draw blood from your Beagle if they suspect hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is treated by medication that is measured according to your dog’s weight. Untreated hypothyroidism can result in serious health issues like seizures and even a slowed heart rate.
Epilepsy is a condition that occurs when dogs have uncontrolled bodily movements that may happen when they are conscious or unconscious. Epileptic seizures can control due to toxic chemical exposure, trauma to the brain, or genetic abnormalities.
In some cases, there is no known cause for the seizures and these are known as idiopathic seizures. Seizures can affect the dog’s entire body and these are known as Grand Mal seizures. In some cases, they may affect one part of the dog’s brain and these are known as partial seizures.
Some breeds of dogs are more prone to idiopathic seizures than Beagles. Treatment for seizures includes medication and, in some cases surgery to get rid of tumors that could be causing the seizures.
Making Sure Your Beagle Stays Healthy
Now that you know some common health conditions for your Beagle, you will know what to look out for. There are some things you can do to ensure your dog is on the path to good health.
Make sure your Beagle is getting the appropriate nutrition and is at the right weight. Obesity is a common cause of many health issues in dogs.
You should also visit your vet regularly to make sure your dog is getting all of their wellness checks on time. Investing in good pet health insurance is another great tip when it comes to making sure your Beagle is covered for any unforeseen health conditions.
Here’s hoping your Beagle has a long and active healthy life!