Siberian Husky Puppies Health Issues

  • 25/10/2013

The Siberian Husky is a sturdy dog breed expected to live for 12 to 14 years. Like many dog breeds, Huskies have some genetic traits that can shorten lifespan or degrade overall health of the dog. Two common problems with Huskies are hip dysplasia and eye issues. When considering the purchase or adoption of a Husky puppy you need to be aware of these issues so you can ask the right questions from the current owner, breeder, and your vet to ensure you acquire a healthy, happy puppy for life.

Eye Issues
Siberian Huskies are prone to a number of eye problems. The first is called hereditary cataracts (or juvenile cataracts), which affects Husky puppies from three months onwards. This condition results in a spectrum of vision problems from a mild decrease to total blindness. Corneal Dystrophy is another condition which affects slightly older puppies and young adult dogs. The condition is mainly prevalent in female Huskies although males can get it as well. Finally, progressive retinal atrophy is an issue that in its early stages reduces night vision, and in advanced stages reduces day vision and leads to blindness.

Identification of potential eye issues is not available for newborns. However these issues only affect less than ten percent of the breed. By talking to the breeder before adoption you can find out how prone the puppy will be to eye issues based on its genetic heritage.

Husky and other dog clubs are known to hold health clinics where dogs can be checked out by a specialist veterinary eye doctor. Check out your local clubs to see if such a clinic is happening near you.

Hip Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia is a common problem with medium and large breeds of dog. Basically it is genetic fault that results in abnormal formation of the dog's hip socket, causing pain and arthritis. Effects range from minimal discomfort to severe mobility restriction. The condition affects both male and female huskies, and either or both hip joints.

Hip dysplasia develops over the dog's younger months. You are likely to notice the effects by eighteen months of age. Unfortunately with newborn puppies you can not detect the condition present. However the good news is that select breeding has resulted in a reduction of hip dysplasia instances amongst Siberian Huskies over the past generation or two.

The Orthopedic Foundation For Animals has an online, free, searchable registry for dogs with hip dysplasia tendencies. Although it is not a requirement to register all dogs on this site you might find it helpful nonetheless to search on a puppy you are considering.

A dog that has hip dysplasia needs careful attention paid to two factors:

  1. Weight - avoiding the Husky growing overweight
  2. Exercise - ensuring exercise is given but not excessive or intense that might lead to discomfort

There are various medical treatments available to help improve the dog's health if hip dysplasia is a problem. Your local vet would be the best person to advise on which of these treatments would suit your dog's condition.

Now that you know about the problems, what can you do about them?

Start by purchasing Husky puppies from a reputable breeder. Such breeders are not afraid of answering questions about health issues and will be open and honest about the probability of their pups being affected. Nobody can give a 100% guarantee as to puppies never developing issues, however you might receive a limited guarantee against certain issues, particularly if they develop early in the Husky's life. Breeders should also provide papers that establish the ancestry (blood line) of the dogs that can be used to input in to health registries. Finally a good breeder will have already commissioned some genetic tests that highlight potential issues in the pups.

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