Unfortunately, life can be cruel and we can struggle to watch our Vizsla’s with illness and disease. Fortunately there are many tests available to breeders today that provide health information about the dogs they are considering to breed. This information can be used to decrease the odds of the puppies they produce from inheriting a disease and increase their odds of a healthy, long-lived life.
Vizslas do have a history with hip dysplasia and other diseases. More information is provided below to help you understand what diseases could impact your Vizsla.
Reputable Vizsla breeders will, at a minimum, screen both the sire and dam for every disease recommended by the parent club for that breed and those results are publicly available in the database. The Vizsla Club of America is the parent club for the Vizsla in the United States. View the current panel of testing recommended here.
What is it?
Hip dysplasia is the improper formation of the hip joint. This deformity can occur during a dog's growth period, or sometimes due to a traumatic injury. The hip is comprised of a ball (head of femur) and socket joint. Normally, the ball and socket grow at the same rate during a dog's growing period. In hip dysplasia, the growth does not occur equally and can lead to laxity (looseness) of the joint. In turn, this can lead to degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. While hip dysplasia can be debilitating, environmental factors can affect whether or not some dogs displays signs of the disease. Only screening for the disease can provide an answer about your dog's status. Hip dysplasia is an inheritable disease, but screening both parents can help reduce the chances of the puppies acquiring it.
What is it?
While seen less in Vizslas then hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia can negatively impact your dog's quality of life. Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the elbow joint. The elbow joint is comprised of the radius, the ulna, and the humerus. Elbow dysplasia can lead to lameness or abnormal gait. However, some dogs never display any obvious signs of elbow dysplasia. Only screening for the disease can provide a negative diagnosis. Elbow dysplasia is an inheritable disease, but screening both parents can help reduce the chances of the puppies acquiring it.
With Hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not making enough of a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism (the process of turning food into fuel). Hypothyroidism causes a wide variety of symptoms, but is often suspected in dogs that have trouble with weight gain or obesity and suffer from hair loss and skin problems. The good news is this disease isn’t life-threatening, it’s easy to diagnose with a blood test, and it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to treat. Treatment is typically a thyroid supplement taken daily. While most veterinarian's can provide thyroid results with in in-house blood test, breeders that screen for thyroid disease have the test performed by a small number of reference labs available in the U.S. You can learn more about the process by visiting the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website.
There are several inheritable eye diseases in dogs. There are 10 known disorders that, if found, should preclude the dog from a breeding program. The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in partnership with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, has a screening program available to provide breeders with information regarding canine eye diseases. Reputable breeders use this information to make informed breeding decisions.
Congenital heart disease in dogs is caused by a malformation of the heart or the vessels of the heart. These congenital defects are present at birth and may continue to develop as the dog ages. At this time, most congenital defects are thought to be inherited from the parents. While your veterinarian may be able to screen for some cardiac defects, board certified Veterinary Cardiologists provide basic and advanced screenings for dogs. This information is used by breeders to make informed breeding decisions about their dogs. You can learn more about the cardiac exam and disease by visiting the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website.
Seizures are one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs. A seizure may also be called a convulsion or fit, and is a temporary involuntary disturbance of normal brain function that is usually accompanied by uncontrollable muscle activity. Epilepsy is a term used to describe repeated episodes of seizures. With epilepsy, the seizures can be single or may occur in clusters, and they can be infrequent and unpredictable or may occur at regular intervals.