The Beagle is considered one of the healthiest dog breeds. This scent hound is a hardy canine, but he is vulnerable to a handful of health conditions. What are Beagles prone to? Below are the 5 most common Beagle health issues.
Read on to know their causes, symptoms, and treatment. You will also learn useful preventive measures that will safeguard your Beagle from these diseases.
1. Beagle Health Issue – Obesity
The Beagle has a big appetite because of his sharp sense of smell. This scent hound will happily gobble up anything that attracts his nose. That’s why the breed earned the nickname ‘chowhound.’ This moniker also means that the breed is prone to obesity.
This Beagle health condition should be addressed as it can contribute to the development of other diseases. These include diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and joint problems.
- Overfeeding your Beagle
- Allowing him to eat table scraps
- Lack of exercise
- Giving excessive amounts of treats
- One of the common older Beagle health issues, as old age lowers his ability to exercise and lose calories.
- Too much body fat
- Inconspicuous ribcage
- Hardly visible waistline
- Lack of energy
- Mobility problems
- Breathing difficulties
The vet will create a weight loss programme for your Beagle. This programme often involves switching to a high-protein and low-fat dog food. They may require you to use vegetables as an alternative to commercial dog treats.
Your Beagle’s diet change will be coupled with regular exercise. Depending on his condition, the activities may range from simple walks to doggy treadmills and pools.
Your Beagle’s weight should be monitored weekly. This will let you confirm if the weight loss programme is effective. Make sure to inform your family members and friends of your dog’s predicament. Remind them to avoid feeding him extra treats or table scraps.
Feed your Beagle a fixed amount of dog food daily. You will need to invest in measuring cups and a kitchen food scale for this. These tools will help you accurately weigh the portions of his meals.
Make your Beagle work to get his food. Hide his meal around your home. Then let him use his keen sense of smell to find it. This will turn ordinary meals into a fun exercise.
The Beagle tends to wolf down his food without chewing, which can cause weight gain. So consider using a slow-feeding bowl to slow down his pace. Placing kibbles in a treat dispenser is a good alternative method.
2. Beagle Health Issue – Cherry Eye
The Beagle is prone to develop cherry eye, known as prolapsed third eyelid or third eyelid gland prolapse. This eye problem occurs when the nictitating membrane or third eyelid becomes inflamed and swollen. For this reason, it earned the nickname cherry eye.
Young Beagles ages 2 years and below are highly prone to this disease. Never leave this health condition untreated as it can host other ocular issues. Chronic dry eye and conjunctivitis are some of them.
The third eyelid’s gland is normally secured to the eyes’ lower inner rim. A fibrous attachment maintains the gland’s position there. However, once this connective tissue deteriorates, it will lead to the prolapse of the gland.
- Difficulty in closing the affected eye
- A smooth and circular pink bulge on the corner of the eye
- Thick eye discharge
- Constant pawing or rubbing at the eye
If your Beagle has cherry eye, the vet will need to perform surgery on him. There are 3 types of surgical operations commonly used to treat this condition. These are scleral anchoring, orbital rim anchoring, and pocket method.
The procedure that the vet will choose will depend on your Beagle’s facial shape, the gland’s position, and how long it has prolapsed. In general, many vets opt for the pocket method as it has a higher success rate.
The Beagle will need to be prescribed oral and ocular medication to manage the affected eye’s pain and inflammation. He may also need to wear an E-collar to keep him from scratching it.
There is a possibility that cherry eye can return. Many dogs that were treated for this condition suffered cherry eye again. If this occurs on your Beagle, the same procedure and treatment may be applied.
Cherry eye in the Beagle breed is not preventable. Since the breed is genetically predisposed to this health issue, make sure to check his eyes regularly. Early detection of the symptoms makes the disease easier to cure.
3. Beagle Health Issue – Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
IVDD in the Beagle breed happens when a spinal disc slips or ruptures. The disc may press on the spinal cord, affecting his ability to move around. He will experience difficulty in even the simplest activities. Going up and down the stairs and eliminating can be very painful for a Beagle with IVDD.
- Beagles in their golden age are prone to bone and joint problems like IVDD.
- High-impact activities such as jumping off a sofa or bed
- Dog breeds with short legs and long backs often have bone and cartilage abnormalities.
- Obesity places extra weight on the spine, which may lead to rupture.
- Back pain
- Urination difficulty
- Abnormal reflexes
- Peculiar gait
- Lack of body coordination
- Stiff neck
- Yelping in pain when picked up
- Paralysis in one or more limbs
Note that IVDD is a gradual, degenerative disease. Thus, it may take years for Beagle owners to spot these symptoms.
A Beagle with mild IVDD will require oral anti-inflammatory medications and cage rest. However, if his condition does not improve, he may need to undergo surgery. This option is also the most applicable in severe cases.
During surgery, the vet will make a small hole in the bone around the spinal cord. This will allow them to gain entry to the ruptured or herniated disc material. Once it is removed, it will eliminate the compression in the spinal cord.
Aftercare for Beagles that have undergone surgery includes physical rehabilitation. Exercises that make up this programme include massages, assisted walking, gentle stretches, and even hydrotherapy. However, this should be done after they have strict crate rest to heal and recuperate.
Provide your Beagle a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure to follow the recommended feeding amount to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Jumping may be a fun activity for a Beagle; it is very detrimental to his bones. Think about placing steps or ramps on high furniture on beds. This way, he will not need to jump to get there. If jumping has become a habit of your dog, stop this behaviour through training.
Long nails can affect your Beagle’s posture and may slowly damage his spine. It can cause him to slip or lose traction, which can lead to injuries. Always trim your dog’s nails for safety.
4. Beagle Health Issue – Canine Hip Dysplasia in Beagle
One of the most common Beagle back leg problems is hip dysplasia. It is a skeletal problem in Beagles, which happens when the hip’s ball and socket fail to develop properly. These will rub and grind onto each other, resulting in joint pains. If left untreated, the affected limb may be permanently immobile.
Parent Beagles carrying the gene that can cause hip dysplasia may pass it on to their litter. A Beagle puppy with this gene may develop hip dysplasia within 1–2 years of age.
- Environmental Factors
Constant exposure to high-impact exercises such as Frisbee and agility can deteriorate your Beagle’s joints. Even scaling up a flight of stairs or jumping down from high places can lead to hip dysplasia.
- Nutritional Factors
Obesity is a contributing factor to hip dysplasia. Excessive weight places too much tension on your Beagle’s joint. Then it can result in the constant rubbing of the ball and socket of the hips.
- Bunny hopping gait
- Lameness in the hind legs
- Stiffness of the affected limbs
- Lack of interest in exercises
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
Treatment for a Beagle with hip dysplasia may vary. It will depend on how severe his condition is. Mild cases will often need weight loss management, exercise restrictions, and physical therapy.
The Beagle may need to be administered with anti-inflammatory medications and prescribe joint supplements. If he has a serious case of hip dysplasia, hip surgery is required.
Hip dysplasia in the Beagle breed cannot be fully prevented. However, there are many ways to decrease the chances of it from occurring.
Get a Beagle puppy from a reputable Kennel Club-assured breeder. Ask for documentation that proves that their dogs have undergone breed-specific health screenings.
Feed your Beagle puppy with an appropriate diet. Puppy food that contains sufficient nutrition that he needs will aid in strengthening his bones and joints. Never allow him to eat too much to keep him from gaining extra weight.
Choosing the right exercise for your Beagle puppy is important as well. As much as possible, limit jumping. Over-exercising should be avoided, as well.
5. Beagle Health Issue – Canine Otitis Externa
Another common health issue in Beagles is an ear infection, specifically otitis externa. It is a result of the infection found in the external ear canal. Dog breeds with huge, hairy, long, and floppy ears, including the Beagle, are prone to this ear problem.
There are over 20 possible causes of otitis externa. They are divided into 4 subgroups:
- Primary Causes
It is composed of the actual causes of the disease in a normal ear. These include parasites, allergies, foreign bodies, and hormone disorders.
- Secondary Causes
Causes belonging to this group contribute or lead to otitis externa in an abnormal ear. Bacteria and fungi infections fall under this category.
- Predisposing Factors
It is a group of factors that increase the risk of otitis externa. These include breed predisposition, overtreatment, and excessive ear moisture.
- Perpetuating Factors
These are factors resulting from an infection or inflammation. They prevent the elimination of otitis externa. Progressive pathological changes and otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) belong to this group.
- Inflamed ears
- Narrowed ear canals
- Frequent scratching of ears
- Constantly shaking the head.
- Black or yellowish discharge
Since there are many probable causes of the infection, proper vet diagnosis is crucial. Never apply ear treatments on your own. Or else, it can lead to hearing loss and eardrum rupture in your Beagle.
A Beagle with bacteria or fungus infection will require multiple medications. Some Beagles that have something lodged in their ears will need to be sedated. Then the vet will flush and clean their ears.
If other health problems cause otitis externa, the treatment will focus on curing the said health condition.
Regularly check your Beagle’s ears. Always be on the lookout for symptoms of ear infections. If he shows any of the signs mentioned above, take him to the vet for a check-up.
The Beagle’s ear will need to be cleaned weekly. Keeping his ears clean will significantly reduce the chances of infection.
Other Beagle Health Issues That You Should Know
Are Beagles prone to heart disease?
Heart disease is a less common breed-related health condition in the Beagle breed. Cardiovascular problems in Beagles may occur at an early age or a later stage in life.
Beagles that are affected by this condition may have heart murmurs and abnormal heart rhythms. These symptoms are often difficult to detect, but regular vet check-ups can quickly identify the disease.
Early detection of heart disease will mean the condition can be treated with viable medication before it worsens and can potentially prolong your dog’s life for many years. Veterinary dental care and weight control will also help in preventing heart disease.
Preventing the development of heart disease involves weight management and dental care. Research shows that obese dogs are more vulnerable to cardiac problems than dogs with normal weight.
Unhealthy gums and teeth allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream and the heart.
Do Beagles have breathing problems?
Some Beagles have an elongated soft palate, a soft tissue that hangs at the back of their throat. It can trigger breathing problems as the tissue can block their breathing passages.
In mild cases, this can result in snoring or snorting. Severe cases of elongated soft palates can lead to serious breathing difficulties. Beagles with this condition may require surgery to resolve this health issue.
What is the average life expectancy of a Beagle?
The Beagle often lives longer compared to other dog breeds. His average lifespan can range from 12 to 15 years. Educating yourself about the common Beagle health issues is essential.
This will allow you to prepare preventative healthcare and detect early symptoms. These are important factors that can prolong and even save your dog’s life.