Papillon Health Concerns
If you're looking for a Papillon puppy, it is very important to find a reputable Papillon Breeder who has the health concerns of the breed at the heart of their breeding program. It is only by testing and clearing breeding stock that the problems that plaque the breed can be brought under control. While this doesn't guarantee a perfect puppy, it does help in knowing that you and the breeder have done the what you can to find a healthy puppy. Some breeders are ignorant, or don't care about your puppy's health. Here at Playtyme Papillons it is at the very heart of everything we do.
- Patellar Luxation
- Backward sneezing
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Heart problems
Patellar Luxation - is the dislocation (slipping) of the patella (kneecap). In dogs the patella is a small bone that shields the front of the stifle joint. This bone is held in place by ligaments. As the knee joint is moved, the patella slides in a grove in the femur. The kneecap may dislocate toward the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the leg. This condition may be the result of injury or congenital deformities (present at birth). Patellar luxation can affect either or both legs.
The most common occurrence of luxating patella is the medial presentation in small or miniature dog breeds. Shallow femoral groove, weak ligaments and misalignment of the tendons and muscles that straighten the joint are all conditions that will predispose a dog toward luxating patellas.
Indications of patellar luxation are; difficulty in straightening the knee, pain in the stifle, limping, or the tip of the hock points outward while the toes point inward.
The diagnosis of this condition can usually be confirmed (by a veterinarian) by manipulating the stifle joint and pushing the patella in and out of position. According to OFA patella 95% of Papillons are free from this genetic defect
Hypoglycemia - tends to be a problem seen most often in toy breed puppies. It is the medical term for low blood sugar. In small breed puppies from post-weaning to 4 months of age. Symptoms can be reversed by getting food or sugar water in the dog You can use Nutra-Cal, Nutri-stat or honey or syrup as a preventive. Also give small meals throughout the day or free feed.
Puppies that show signs of Hypoglycemia have normal liver size and function, but inadequate glucose precursors or glucose in its stored form. Therefore, any significant stress, such as routine trip to the vet’s that occurs in the absence of a recent meal, can cause the blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels. Low environmental temperatures, infections, vaccinations, strenuous exercise, and inadequate nutrition increase the risk even further. Feeding recommendations for puppies at risk for hypoglycemia include frequent (4--5 times a day) feeding of high-carbohydrate, high-protein and /or fat foods.
Background on blood sugar:
Glucose is the “simple” sugar that the body uses for “fuel” to run its various functions. Table sugar, or sucrose, is made up of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, and can be broken down rapidly after eating. All sugars are carbohydrates. Grains are also carbohydrates but are considered “complex” carbohydrates because they have many more components and take longer to be broken down. The body uses glucose as its primary energy source. All the parts of the body except the brain can, if needed, use alternate energy sources (fatty acids, for example, which the body accesses by breaking down fat stores. The brain, however, is completely dependent upon glucose to function. If
the glucose in the blood is lower than normal, the brain function is the first to show signs. In dogs, these signs may be seen as weakness, behavior changes, confusion, wobbly gait, or even seizures. In fact, in young dogs who have had what may appear to be an epileptic seizure low blood sugar is generally ruled out before a diagnosis of epilepsy is made. The liver is responsible for manufacturing glucose and for storing it in a usable form, for release into the blood stream as needed. Muscle tissue store some of the important materials used in this process. Therefore, a serious liver abnormality or insufficient muscle mass may make it difficult for the body to keep its blood sugar properly regulated.
Deafness -Often dogs that gradually become deaf can compensate for their hearing loss so that it is not apparent to the owners, until it is complete. They compensate with increased awareness of other sensory signals and can use their sight, sensitivity to vibration and even air current changes to make assessment of deafness difficult. Therefore some dogs appear to have suddenly become deaf when in fact it has been progressively worsening.
Deafness in one ear can also be difficult to assess, as the only sign will be difficulty in localizing the source of a noise.
There are two types of Deafness
Congenital deafness can be and is more commonly inherited but it also can be due to problems while in the uterus, such as infection or use of harmful drugs in the pregnant female.
Acquired deafness later in life can be due to ear infections, injury to the ear, drug-related problems (certain antibiotics), abnormalities of the external ear canal (narrowing of the canal, ruptured ear drum etc), inflammation or infection of the middle ear or old age (known as presbycusis). Noise trauma such as repeated exposure to loud noises (gun-fire) can cause temporary or permanent deafness, and some dogs have become deaf after a general anaesthesia.
The signs of deafness will vary, depending on whether the animal can hear some sounds or is totally deaf. A deaf dog does not respond to everyday sounds, "squeaky" toys, or its name, and cannot be aroused from sleep by a loud noise.
backwards sneezing or aspiratory paroxysmal respiration or collapsed trachea is a phenomenon observed in dogs whose exact cause is unknown but may be due to nasal or sinus irritation (such as an allergy) or the dog's attempt to remove mucus or becoming to excited. It is characterized by rapid and repeated forced inhalation through the nose, accompanied by snorting or gagging sounds. It is an alarming sound to most owners and may be distressing to the dog, but is not known to be harmful to the animal. Most dogs are completely normal before and after episodes. In addition most dogs will have repeat episodes of it during their lives. This kind of sneezing also commonly occurs while the dog is asleep and also immediately following a long nap. Other dogs may experience it following play, exercise, or meals, but most of the time episodes are completely random. Smaller dogs seem slightly more susceptible to it; however any dog can develop it regardless of size. A common remedy is to pinch the dog’s nose and scratch their throat. Lightly blowing in their face may also help. The dog will swallow a couple of times and then stop the backward sneezing. While most dogs do not require medication, antihistamines and steroids may help if the problem is serious, chronic, and allergy-related.
CERF - The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization that was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog's lives were being affected by heritable eye disease. CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of elimination of heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry.
The CERF Registry not only registers those dog's certified free of heritable eye disease by members of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (A.C.V.O. ), but also collects data on all dogs examined by A.C.V.O. Diplomates. This data is used to form the CERF data base which is useful in researching trends in eye disease and breed susceptibility. Not only is this data useful to clinicians and students of ophthalmology, but to interested breed clubs and individual breeders and owners of specific breeds.
What a CERF test looks and checks for
All Others, Entropion, Ectropion, Distichiasis, Ectopic cilia, Eury/Macroblepharon,
All Others, Cartilage anomaly/eversion, Prolapsed gland
All Others, Corneal dystrophy-epithelial/stromal, Corneal dystrophy-endothelia, inherited/Pannus, Exposure/Pigmentary Keratitis
All Others, Iris/Ciliary Body Cyst, Iris Coloboma, Persistent papillary membrane iris to iris, Iris Hypoplasia
All Others, Persistant hyloid artery, Vitreous degeneration syneresis, Vitreous degeneration ant chamber
All Others, Retinal dysplasia-folds, Choroidal hypoplasia, Staphyloma/Coloboma, Retinal hemorrhage, Micropapilla
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a genetic disease in the eye characterized by degeneration of the retina that occurs bilaterally. It is seen in certain breeds of dogs. It causes progressive vision loss culminating in blindness. The condition in nearly all breeds is inherited as a recessive trait. (There is no treatment. PRA is similar to retinitis pigmentosa in humans. Generalized PRA is the most common type and causes atrophy of all the neural retinal structures. PRA can be divided into either dysplastic disease, where the cells develop abnormally and degenerative or where the cells develop normally but then undergo a damaging change. Progressive vision loss in any dog in the absence of glaucoma or cataracts can be an indication of PRA. It usually starts with decreased vision at night. Other symptoms include dilated pupils and decreased papillary light reflex. For many breeds there are specific genetic tests that can be done.
Heart Problems - Congenital heart diseases in dogs are malformations of the heart. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at birth and may develop more fully during prenatal and growth periods. Many congenital heart defects are thought to be genetically transmitted from parents to offspring; however, the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations. At this time inherited, developmental cardiac diseases like subaortic stenosis and cardiomyopathies are difficult to monitor since there is no clear cut distinction between normal and abnormal. Because of this, we test our breeding dogs for heart problems and never breed a dog without this clearance. However, as you have read above there are environmental causes to heart problems, which is why we have put an extra foot forward to seeing that our dogs are clear of this disease. According to OFA hearts 99.7% of Papillons are free from this genetic defect.