Corgis are pretty healthy and the Welsh Corgi breeds are considered two of the healthiest breeds of dogs in the Herding group. But unfortunately, they are not untouchable, and are prone to several hereditary diseases, including hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, progressive retinal atrophy, and sadly, a few more that I will describe in a following post.
Hip Dysplasia: is the condition resulting from the separation of the ball from the socket within the hip joint. With time, hip dysplasia can also trigger osteo-arthritis of the joint, which is painful, and also the dog will get weak in the rear end.
Although there is no cure for hip dysplasia, the pain caused by this disease can be alleviated with the help of anti-inflammatories, acupuncture and nutriceuticals. In some cases, if the pain is too severe and no other medicine is working, the vet can suggest surgery, or euthanasia.
In order to prevent, or rather to hold off the onset of hip dysplasia, Corgi owners, as well as other medium to giant breeds owners, need to make sure that they don’t over-feed their dogs, since it is believed that an overweight dog is more likely to develop this condition.
If your Corgi already has hip dysplasia, then exercises, such as jumping and running, should be avoided.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): is a progressive illness of the spinal cord, for which an exact cause and a cure have not yet been determined. DM has been seen is dogs 5 to 14 years old, but it most often occurs in dogs over 8 years old.
DM is a progressive disease that develops slowly and can be wrongly diagnosed as hip dysplasia. A dog sick with DM will gradually loose its ability to move his hind legs. Some of the first signs of this disorder are “knuckling over” of the back paws and also dragging of the hind claws.
This disease progresses until the dog loses all control of his back legs and becomes incontinent, at which point the owner has to consider euthanasia.
There is no treatment for Degenerative Myelopathy, but exercise, vitamins and therapy have been shown to slow the progression of this terrible disorder.
Some of the breeds that can suffer from DM are: Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, German Shepard, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Irish Setter.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: is an inherited disorder that destroys the pigment cells in the middle of the retina. Both eyes of the dog can be affected, and at first, the dog won’t be able to see immobile objects. As the illness advances, the dog is likely to develop night blindness and will begin bumping into stationary objects.
Annual veterinarian check ups are important, since they can help detect any disorder your dog might have. Also, if your dog is acting different than the usual, get him to the vet as soon as possible.