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Bengal cat lying on couch
Mark Liddell / Getty Images
We love our pets and want to make sure they are always the healthiest. However, this is not always the case. “In humans, genetics play an important role in our susceptibility to disease and developmental disorders. The same applies to our pets,” explains Dr. Katy Nelson, Senior Veterinarian at Chewy. “Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to hereditary diseases, orthopedic disorders, and even more severe forms of infectious diseases such as rottweilers and canine parvovirus. Whether this is due to innate immunity, problems with anatomical development, or environmental factors, the fact remains that there are problems which recur in some of our favorite breeds of puppies. “
This also applies to cats that evolved due to the introduction of artificial breeds, according to Dr. Jesus Aramendi, Chewy’s Senior Veterinarian. “Because of this, inherited and genetic disorders have been passed down from generation to generation, making some of these conditions more likely in certain races than others,” he says. “A good example is that cats with a brachycephalic skull, commonly referred to as a ‘flat face’, like Persian cats, are more likely than other breeds to develop eye discharge and dental disease.”
Which breeds of dogs and cats can be predisposed to certain diseases? Here we have approached our experts to determine the most popular. It is important to note that this absolutely does not mean that you shouldn’t adopt any of these types of pets, but that you should be informed and prepared for any potential challenges.
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Some popular dog breeds with health problems are the Siberian Husky, Pug, Bulldog, German Shepherd, Chihuahua, Beagle, and Shih Tzu. Siberian Huskies, for example, are highly active dogs and require a lot of exercise, careful grooming, and dental care to be the healthiest. “”[Huskies] are prone to eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma, hip dysplasia, autoimmune diseases like pemphigus, bleeding disorders, epilepsy, and thyroid problems, “says Dr. Nelson.
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Bulldogs, on the other hand, tend to be “genetically a mess,” she says. “They have curved legs, flat faces, broad chests and a short body. This makes them prone to numerous skin diseases (allergic dermatitis, pyoderma of facial wrinkles, interdigital pyoderma), eye problems (dystechia, buphthalmus, keratoconjunctivitis sicca-), KCS), orthopedic disorders (Disc disease, hip dysplasia, arthritis) and a variety of breathing disorders associated with the brachycephalic formation of their heads – stenotic nostrils, hypoplastic trachea, and an elongated soft palate. “
For the German Shepherd, the most common health problems are around 50 hereditary diseases. “Seven major diseases that affect GSD are pancreatic acinar atrophy, megaesophagus, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, hemophilia A, von Willebrand’s disease, and hereditary multifocal renal cystadenocarcinoma and nodular dermatofibrosis,” says Dr. Nelson.
Pugs are prone to a disease called pug dog encephalitis (PDE), an aggressive disease that attacks the central nervous system and is prone to death. Chihuahuas may have inherited diseases such as heart and dental disease, orthopedic conditions such as patellar luxation, and hip necrosis. Beagles are usually very healthy, but they can still have problems such as chronic ear diseases, allergies, skin problems, and hypothyroidism. What about the Shih Tzu? “Shih Tzus are a relatively healthy and long-lived breed, but can suffer from patellar dislocation, disc problems, eye conditions such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), glaucoma and CPRA, dental disease, and breathing disorders associated with the brachycephalic formation of their skulls,” says Dr. Nelson.
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Designer breeds such as the Persians and Bengal are also prone to certain diseases. “Persians are a highly sought after breed because of their large eyes and long, soft fur. However, these physical characteristics sometimes make this breed more prone to coat problems, dental disease, eye discharge and kidney disease.” explains Dr. Aramendi. Bengals, who have a leopard-like appearance, are prone to heart disease in the form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common diagnosis in cats.
Other breeds of cats with common health problems include the Ragdoll, British Shorthair, Ragamuffin, and Siamese. “Ragdolls are one of the largest domesticated cat breeds. Females can grow up to 15 pounds and males up to 20 pounds,” says Dr. Aramendi. “Because of this, they are prone to obesity and joint problems. It is very important to consult your veterinarian if your ragdoll appears to be gaining weight.” The British Shorthair may have a rare gene for hemophilia B, a condition that affects normal blood clotting. Therefore, it is important that you get your cat tested before starting a breeding program for this breed.
“Siamese cats are very popular because of their majestic looks and history,” continues Dr. Aramendi gone. “You tend to develop mast cell tumors, a type of skin tumor that can grow and develop into cancer. If you see masses of skin on your Siamese, it’s important to see your veterinarian sooner rather than later.” “Ragamuffins are prone to a kidney disease called polycystic kidneys. However, this is a health problem any breed of cats can develop. “This disease will eventually lead to kidney failure (failure to excrete toxins in the urine),” says Dr. Aramendi. “If your If your cat loses weight excessively, drinks more water than usual, and urinates more often than usual, this may be an indication of kidney disease. If your cat experiences any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. “
As always, it is important to speak to your veterinarian when bringing home a new pet to learn what type of care to provide, especially if a breed requires special considerations.