Health Problems in Beagles

NBC Health Chairperson is Ada Lueke, (619)460-1805, please contact her for any health-related questions or reports

Permission has been granted by the editors of IDG Books (Howell Book House) for the excerpts contained herein from Control of Canine Genetic Diseases and from both the editors and authors of The New Beagle

The following conditions, hereditary or otherwise, are known to exist in beagles, mostly because the breed has been a favorite in research laboratories, being relatively small in size, generally healthy, get along well with other dogs and are easy to handle.  Researchers probably know more about beagle problems than any other breed, and without them, we probably would not be aware of many of the less commonly seen health problems..

There is a great deal of controversy as to whether some of these conditions are hereditary in nature or a combination of heredity and environment or nutrition.   Hereditary conditions are marked with an H, Environmental conditions are marked with an E and Nutritional conditions are marked with an N. Those with an unknown cause are marked with a U.  Please note that if a condition is listed as hereditary, that means it shows a hereditary tendency but may be based on only a few individuals.  All health problems that have a higher incidence in the breed are in RED text.  Sources for each condition is hyperlinked after each one.  Conditions are further divided by the type of condition. Alimentary (Digestive Tract), Behavioral, Cancer, Endocrine(Glands which produce various hormones), Hearing/Balance, Hemapoietic (blood related) & Lymphatic (Lymph Gland system), Heart & Vascular, Immune System, Integumentary (Skin), Liver-Pancreas, Neurologic (Nervous System), Occular (eye), Reproductive, Respiratory (Lungs and Brochical System), Skeletal & Urinary.

A WORD ABOUT REGISTRIES FOR HEREDITARY CONDITIONS

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America), registers all dogs at 2 years of age for Normal Hip status, registers dogs generally at about the same age for Normal Thyroid Function, Normal Elbows, and Normal Heart. A separate Registry, the Canine Eye Foundation Registry (CERF) registers all dogs with Normal Eyes, clear of any progressive or hereditary eye problems.  Registries, of necessity, must be the backbone of control of genetic disease in dogs. Registering both affected and unaffected dogs is important for statistics and research to determine the incidence of a problem within a breed, which is not only invaluable to Researchers but Breeders as well.  It is only by knowing what genetic problems exist in a breed and what the incidence is of those problems in one's lines that enables a breeder to make a judicious and educated decision on what breedings they will or will not undertake. Without this information, not only do breeders not know the genetic problems they might be passing on in their dogs' offspring, but they could be perpetuating a problem that will plague pet owners with costly vet bills and perhaps the loss of their companions.

Alimentary              (Digestive Tract) Hearing/Balance Integumentary            (Skin) Reproductive
Behavioral Hemapoietic (blood related) & Lymphatic (Lymph Gland system)  Liver-Pancreas Respiratory (Lungs and Brochical System)
Cancer Heart & Vascular Neurologic   (Nervous System) Skeletal 
Endocrine (Glands which produce various hormones) Immune System Ocular (eye) Urinary.

                                   

 

       

Alimentary

Elongated Soft Palate:  The soft palate extends into the laryngeal area, causing breathing difficulties. H (undetermined mode). Present at birth. 1

Megaaesophagus (Esophageal Achalasia): Regurgitation of undigested food occurs due to failure of esophageal muscles to force swallowed food through to the stomach. H (undetermined mode) Occurs under 6 months of age. 1

Perianal Gland Adenomas: Benign growths in perianal area that may hemorrhage & ulcerate. Dog my excessively lick the area. (H -undetermined mode). First occurs under 9 years of age. 1

Behavioral

Aggressiveness (Excessive):  Extremely assertive or forceful with other dogs & people, may attack or bite without reasonable provocation. (H - undetermined mode). First occurs +/- 3 years of age.  1

Cancer

Mastosarcoma:  Clinically, there may be masses palpable in the skin & subcutaneous tissue. These lesions may ulcerate or spread & metastasize to other parts of the body. There is generally weight loss & lethargy late in the development of this tumor. (H-Polygenetic). First occurs under seven years of age. 1

Endocrine System

Hypothyroidism (Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Hashimoto's Disease, Lymphcytic Thyroiditis): Destruction of the thyroid gland due to an attack from the animal's own immune system. Causes rough, scaly skin; hair loss and weight gain, especially in later stages of the condition. (H-Probably incomplete dominant). First occurs under 2 years of age. 1   90% of cases are autoimmune thyroiditis, the remaining 10% have thyroid atrophy of unknown causes. Sometimes a temporary thyroid problem exists in relation to other disease or secondarily to use of a drug that has been given.  Most common early symptoms are unexplained weight gain, dry coat, skin infections, flea, food allergies, smelly ears and chronic ear infections, infertility and dry-eye syndrome.  Thyroid deficiency also plays a role in many of the immune-mediated blood diseases and increases the incidence of Von Willebrands disease. 2   As can be seen, the thyroid function is directly related to many aspects of the immune system and the rest of the endocrine system.  For more information on this condition go here.

Hearing & Balance

Deafness:  Inability to hear may be unilateral or bilateral. Piebald or Extreme Piebald Gene Deafness, first occurring under 3 months,( H - Recessive or undetermined mode) 1

Vestibular Disease:  Head tilt, loss of balance, circling, rolling & staggering gait. (H- Recessive). First occurs under 3 months. 1

Hemopoietic & Lymphatic Systems

Citrullinemia (Argininosuccinic Acid Synthetase. Uric Cycle Enzyme Deficiency):  Mental retardation, vomiting & seizures. (H-Recessive). First occurs at birth.   1

Dysfibrinogenemia (Factor I Deficiency):  Mild bleeding or life-threatening bleeding if trauma or surgery is experienced. (H-Recessive). First occurs under 6 months. 1

Factor VII Deficiency:  A missing component in the blood causing slow coagulation. you may see mild subcutaneous bleeding (bruising). (H - Incomplete Dominant). First occurs at birth. 1

Hemophilia A:  Absence of factor VIII in the blood causing prolonged & excessive bleeding due to failure to form a clot. Affected dogs may die. (H - X chromosome linked, Recessive). Can first occur at birth. 1

Hyperlipoproteinemia:  Increased  serum high-density lipoproteins, resulting in abdominal distress, pain and seizures of varying intensity. (H- Undetermined mode). Can first occur under 6 months. 1

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK):  Absence or low levels of an enzyme (pyruvate kinase) essential for the production of red blood cells, causes anemia.  (H- Recessive). Can first occur under 1 year of age or older. 1

Heart & Vascular System

Dilated Cardiomyopophay (DCM):  Clinical signs include dyspnea, exercise intolerance, syncope, cough, anorexia, weight loss & lethargy. Heart sounds are muffled. (H- Undetermined mode). Cn first occur before or after 6 years of age. 1

Pulmonic Stenosis (PS):  Narrowing of the pulmoric artery where it attaches to the heart, causing murmurs & enlargement of the right side of the heart.  (H-Polygenetic mode). First occurs under 1 year of age. 1

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD):  A hole in the heart wall that divides the right and left sides, causing poor circulation & possible death.  (H-Polygenetic mode). Occurs at birth. 1

Immune System

Atopic Dermatitis:  Roughened, itchy, oozing skin caused by immune system reactions to various allergens, such as fleas or pollen.   (H-Undetermined mode). Can occur under 1 year of age. 1

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia:  The immune system attacks its own red blood cells, causing severe anemia & possibly death. (H- Undetermined). Occurs under 4 years of age. 1

Demodicosis (Demodetic Mange)A localized Demodex infection that usually results in a mild erythema & may develop into some form of alopecia (hair loss). Pruitus may or may not be present.  These are most commonly seen on the face and usually there is spontaneous recovery within 6-8 weeks.  This is not considered to be hereditary.  A generalized demodicosis usually develops as a chronic dermatitis with crusting, scaling & hyperpigmentation. There may be intense pruitis and a secondary pyoderma. Folliculitis, cellulitis, furnunculosis & seborrhea may occur. A susceptibility & predisposition to Demodex canis is thought to be based on a a T-cell disturbance. Generalized Demodicosis is considered to be inherited.   (U) Occurs under one year. 1

Immune Mediated Polygenicarthritis:  Dog may be febrile (feverish) & show variable degrees of lameness or arthropathy. There is generally nonseptic inflammation of the joints.  Steroid therapy usually relieves the signs at least temporarily. (H - Undetermined Mode). Can occur under 6 years. 1

Necrotizing Vasculitis (Juvenile Polyarteritis Syndrome, Stiff Beagle Syndrome): Dog may exhibit recurrent intermittent pain and fever that persist for 3-7 days in young animals. The pain can be intense and diffuse, or can be more localized in areas like the shoulder, neck, hip or along the back. There can be associated neurologic deficits. Nonregenerative anemia, hypoalbuminemia, and a mature neutrophilia are common. Histology shows periarteritis in the heart and meninges, and subdural and extradural spinal cord hemorrhage. This may be an autoimmune disease. Some cases undergo spontaneous regression. There is often a neutrophilic pleocytosis of the CSF, combined with an inability to identify an infectious agent in the spinal fluid.  (H- Undetermined mode)Onset  6-12 months, but can occur at 18 months as well. Also see this link http://members.aol.com/regalbeag/tech.htm , for information gathered by an owner who's dog was finally diagnosed by this relatively rare disease.  Is the same as Polygenicarteritis Nodosa, below,  but different name, so is listed separately here.

Polygenicarteritis Nodosa (Beagle Pain Syndrome. Meningitis-Vasculitis, Steroid-Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis, SRMA):  Immune mediated vascular lesions in the menial & coronary arteries lead to typical neuralgic & cardiac signs, such as chronic fever, anorexia, stiff neck & para- or tetraplegia. (H-Undetermined mode). Can first occur under 2 years of age. 1   See this link for more detailed explanation

Selective IgA Deficiency:  A lack of IgA immunoproteins that defend against infections, allowing repeated lesions to occur on the skin & in the lungs (H-Undetermined mode.) Can first occur at birth. 1

Selective IgM Deficiency:  Low IgM levels, resulting in increased susceptibility to infection, especially in the skin. (H-Undetermined). First occurs at birth. 1

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE):  Signs shown are positive ANA, LE cell or Coombs tests, polygenicgenicarthritis, alopecia, anemia, proteinuria, lymph gland enlargement, anorexia, diarrhea & fever. (H-undetermined mode). Can occur under 9 years of age. 1

Integumentary System

Alopecia Syndromes: Clincially, hair tends to thin & be lost with little or no scaling or any inflammatory changes. Distribution of loss varies. Hyperpigmentation may occur.  Alopecia Universalis (H-recessive). Occurs at birth. 1

Black Hair Follicular Dysplasia: Bi- or tricolored coats are affected by hair loss in black areas only  (H - Recessive). Can occur under 9 months of age. 1

Collagen Disorder of the Footpads: Fistulous tracts occur on the central plantar surface of the metatarsus (toes). Both rear legs are involved & one or both metacarpal pads may be affected. (H- Undetermined mode) Usually occurs under 4 years of age. 1

Congenital Hypotrichosis (Congenital Ectodermal Defect):   Many affected pups are born with focal hair loss; some pups have normal hair at birth, then lose hair shortly after birth. Hair loss is on ears, dorsal & entire ventral truck area. (H-Undetermined mode). Usually occurs before 6 weeks of age. 1

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (Cutaneous Asthenia, Dermatosparaxis):   Excessively loose, fragile & hyperelastic skin; tears easily.  (H - Dominant). Usually occurs under 10 weeks of age. 1

Eosinophilic Granuloma:  Clinically, eosinophilic masses that can occur in the skin or oral cavities of several breeds. These plaque-like lesions may ulcerate & become infected with various bacteria & fungi. (H - Undetermined). Usually occurs under 3 years of age. 1

Epidermolysis Bullosa:  Trauma causes cutaneous blistering of the skin, no matter what causes the trauma. Lesions can occur anywhere, especially on the footpads. (H - Undetermined). Can occur under 16 weeks of age. 1

Inguinal Hernia:  An outpouching of skin in the area of the inguinal ring, which may contain viscera (intestines); a scrotal hernia is a type of inguinal hernia. (H - Recessive or undetermined). Occurs usually under 6 months of age. 1

Pemphigus Foliaceus: Clinical signs usually start on the ears or face & involve the footpads. There may be erythematous macules that progress to crusty, brown areas. The skin is scaly & hair loss is present. (H -Undetermined mode). usually occurs plus or minus 4 years of age. 1

Perineal Hernia: Difficulty in defecation & swelling lateral to the anus, usually on the right side. (H- Undetermined) Occurs usually under 8 years of age. 1

Primary Seborrhea:    Excessive production of sebum, causing flaking of the skin which is greasy & malodorous. There may be multiple crusty, scaly, pruritic areas. (H- Undetermined). Usually occurs under 1 year of age. 1

Umbilical Hernia:  An outpouching of skin over the "belly button". It may contain abdominal viscera & sometimes regresses spontaneously. (H- Recessive or Polygenic). Usually occurs under 6 months of age. 1

Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis:  Rough, cracking & oozing skin caused by the inability to metabolize zinc.  This disorder can be corrected by zinc supplementation. (H- Undetermined). Usually occurs under 6 weeks of age. 1

Liver & Pancreas

Diabetes Mellitus: Excessive sugar accumulates in the blood and urine due to a lack or inability to use insulin. (H - Undetermined). Usually occurs under 3 years of age. 1

Pancreatic Hypoplasia (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy, PAA):  Weight loss & chronic diarrhea; generally correctable with pancreatic enzyme supplementation.  (H - Recessive). Usually occurs under 1 year of age. 1

Portosystemic Shunt (Intrahepatic):  Abnormal blood vessels within the liver, which prevents normal circulation & metabolism within the liver. (H - Undetermined). Usually occurs under 1 year of age. 1

Neurologic

Arachnoid Cyst (Meningeal Cysts):  Cavities or cysts may develop within the meninges separated from the spinal cord by the pia mater. They may compress the cord. (H- Undetermined). Usually occurs under 1 year of age. 1

Cerebellar Degeneration (Cerbellar Abiotrophies, Progressive Neuronal Abiotrophy):  Degenerative diseases of the cerebellum that tend to be breed-specific, resulting in progressive neurologic signs - - including incoordination, ataxia, paralysis & generally death. There is no treatment. (H- Recessive). Usually occurs under 6 weeks of age. 1

Epilepsy:   Seizures occur that are commonly called fits; they recur generally close together. (H - Undetermined). Generally occur under 1 year of age if hereditary. 1    Later onset usually indicates other causes. For more information please go to http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/

Gangliosidosis (Storage Diseases):   Ataxia, head tremors, blindness & generalized seizures involving all 4 limbs may occur. Dogs can become paraplegic or tetraplegic. (H- Recessive, age of onset under 6 months) 1

Global Cell Leukodystrophy (Beta-Galactocerebrosidase Deficiency):  The collection of fatty material in brain cells due to lack of an enzyme leads to ataxia. (H-Recessive). age of onset under 5 months. 1

Glycogenosis (Glycogen Storage Disease):  A group of disorders caused by deficiencies of an enzyme involved in the degradation of glycogen. Type VII (Phosphofructokinase Deficiency).  Clinical signs vary with each disease but generally include progressive muscle weakness, cardiac abnormalities, hemoglobinuria, neurologic signs & death. There is no treatment. (H -Recessive). Age of onset under 12 months. 1

Hound Ataxia:  Rear leg ataxia which progresses; forelimbs are not affected. (H- Undetermined mode). Age of onset under 7 years. 1

Lafora's Disease:  Progressive myoclonic epileptic seizures that can often be induced by touch or excitement. PAS-positive neuronal inclusions are present. (H-Recessive). Age of onset under 6 months. 1

Lissencephaly:  A lack of normal convolutions in the cerebrum causes abnormal mental development.  (H- Undetermined mode). Age of onset under 1 year. 1

Narcolepsy (Cataplexy):  Excitement, emotional stimulation or eating may cause the animal to suddenly fall asleep; muscle atonia may occur & the dog may collapse. Frequency of attacks varies greatly. (H- Recessive). Age of onset under 1 year. 1

White Shaker Dog Syndrome:  Tremors can occur in all 4 limbs & the head. Hypermetria & swaying may be present. Tremors can be mild to severe & the gait may be ataxic.  (H-Undetermined mode). Age of onset under 2 years. 1

Ocular

Cataracts:  Vary by breed & age of onset. As a generality, any lens opacity which obscures vision & may cause blindness is considered a cataract. In beagles there are the following forms of Cataracts:  Congenital Cataracts (H - Recessive) age of onset birth. Early onset & Progressive Cataracts (H- Recessive or undetermined mode). Age of onset under 3 years. And Undetermined Cataracts for which no cause is know. 1 For more information click here

Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA):  An optical defect due to retinal pigment degeneration, resulting in secondary degeneration of the rods and cones. Central vision loss, but peripheral vision may last to old age. Some dogs may not lose vision. (H-   Undetermined mode). Age of onset under 2 years.  1

Collie Eye Anomaly:  Causes variable defects in the choroid, retina & optic nerve; can cause retinal detachment & blindness. (H- Recessive). Age of onset under 1 year. 1

Corneal Dystrophy:  Clinically, a corneal opacity without inflammation (gray to white) which interferes with vision. Usually starts with lipid deposits in the corneal stoma. Onset varies by breed. (H- Undetermined). 1

Dermoid:  A small patch of skin generally on the cornea, often causing irritation. (H- Possibly Recessive) age of onset under 1 year. 1

Distichiasis: Abnormal location of eyelashes on the margin of the eyelid, causing irritation. (H- Undetermined mode). Age of onset under 1 year. 1

Ectopic Cilia (Aberrant Cilia):  Eyelashes are abnormally placed on the conjunctiva (inner surface) of the eyelid (most often the upper eyelid. (H- Undetermined). Age of onset, birth. 1 

Ectropion:  Turning out of the eyelids, causing excessive exposure of the eyeball. (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 6 months.  1

Entropion:  Turning in of the eyelids, causing the eyelashes to rub the eyeball. (H- Undetermined)age of onset under 1 year. 1

Eversion of the Nictitating Membrane (Eversion of the Third Eyelid): The cartilage in the third eyelid is abnormal, causing the third eyelid to roll away from or toward the globe.  (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 3 months. 1

Glaucoma: Increased pressure in the globe, which can be a result of various causes. Without treatment, the pressure damages the eye, causing pain & often blindness.  (H - Recessive) age of onset under 3 years. 1For more information, click here

Imperforate Lacrimal Punctum (Epiphoral):  Failure of development of the nasolacrimal drainage system, causing tears to spill onto the face.  (H-Undetermined) age of onset under 1 year. 1

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS, Dry Eye):   Inadequate tear production, causing irritation of the conjunctiva & cornea. (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 1 year.1 Also dry eye can be caused by the removal of the lacrimal gland, oral sulfa medication or nerve damage, as well as plugged tear ducts. It has also been reported that Dry Eye can occur as an adverse reaction (autoimmune) to the dog's own tear glands.   There are many treatments available as well as salivary gland duct transplantation for unresponsive cases. 2 For more information click here.

Lens Luxation:  Dislocation of the lens from its normal site behind the cornea (partial or complete). (H-Undetermined) age of onset under 1 year.  1 For more information, click here.

Microphthalmia:  An anomaly in development, causing the eyeball to be abnormally small. (H-Undetermined), age of onset, birth.  1

Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia:  Multiple linear or branching retinal folds, Apparent visual deficits have not resulted in affected animals. (H- Recessive) age of onset under 3 months. 1

Optic Nerve Hypoplasia:  Visual impairment or blindness occurs. Pupil of the affected eye may be dilated. (H- Undetermined mode), age of onset under 3 months.  1

Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV):  A defect in the regression of the hyaloid artery, which influences the retina & interferes with vision. (H-Undetermined mode) age of onset under 3 months. 1

Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM, Mesodermal Dysgenesis):   A failure of blood vessels in the anterior chamber to regress normally, there may be impaired vision or blindness.  (H- Undetermined), age of onset under 3 months. For more information, click here.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):   Degeneration of the retinal vision cells which progresses to blindness. (H-Undetermined) age of onset varies. 1 For more information click here.

Prolapse of the Gland of the Third Eyelid (Cherry Eye):  Clinically, the gland protrudes into the medial canthus of the eye. This tissue becomes swollen & reddened, resulting in the term "Cherry Eye". (E, H-Undetermined), age of onset under one year). 1  This condition can be corrected after medical reduction of the gland by several surgical methods to tack the gland back in place, or to remove part or all of the gland. Removal of the entire gland or failure to to anything can and often does result in Dry Eye, as the source of major lacrimal (tear) production is either removed surgically or through the gland losing it's blood supply if left alone.   For more information click here.

Retinal Dysplasia (Folds):   Abnormal folds in the retina due to faulty development. (H- Undetermined), age of onset under 1 year. 1 For more information click here.

Tapetal Hypoplasia:  Tapetal cells are disarrayed, resulting in an absence of the normal tapetal reflex. (H-Recessive), age of onset, birth. 1

Reproductive Disease

Cryptorchidism:  An absence of testicles due to retention in the abdomen or inguineal region; can be one- or both-sided, or may slide in and out of the scrotum. (H-Undetermined). Age of onset under 3 months.1

Hermaphrodite: (True): Presence of gonadal tissue for both sexes, due to the presence of a full complement of both male and female chromosomes. (H- XX-XXY Chromosome condition), age of onset under 3 months. 1

Hypospadia:  The penis & sheath develop abnormally. (H- Undetermined mode), age of onset under 3 months. 1

Pseudohermaphrodite (Male, Female): The male has male organs with some female characteristics & the female has female organs with some male characteristics.  (H-XX-XXY chromosome condition), age of onset, birth. 1

Respiratory Diseases

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia:    Clinically, severe respiratory dyspnea due to abdominal organs in the thoracic cavity.  Puppies are extremely weak, cyanotic & gasping for air. Death ensues soon after.  (H-Recessive) age of onset under 4 weeks. 1

Tracheal Collapse:  Improper formation of the cartilaginous rings of the trachea causing mild to severe breathing problems.   (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 1 year. 1

Skeletal

Brachury (Short Tails):  A tail that is shorter than what is considered normal for the breed. (H-Recessive) age of onset under 6 months. 1

Calcinosis Circumscripta:  Abnormal deposits of calcium in the skin & subcutaneous tissue. (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 1 year.1

Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate: A fissure of cleft in the roof of the mouth & upper lip; may be present together or separately. this allows food &/or fluid to enter the nasal respiratory pathway. (H-Undetermined mode). age of onset birth. 1

Beagle Dwarfism (Osteochondrodysplasia, Chondrodysplasia, Achondrodysplasia, Pseudoachondroplasia, Primary Metabolic Skeletal Abnormality, Enchondrodystropy, Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia, "Funny Puppies", Chinese Beagle Syndrome):  The skeletal dysplasias are a varied group of inherited disorders which are not well-defined. When breeds are compared, it is difficult to determine which diseases have the same etiology & which are different, although it is possible with some of them. Dwarfism is defined as a disorder that reduces the size of a dog below that which is reasonably established as expected for a given breed. It may or may not include physical deformities & they may be proportionate or disproportionate. (H-Recessive, Possibly prenatal influences) age of onset under 3 weeks. 1

In beagles "Funny Puppies" are usually the smallest in the litter, seem slow to nurse and less vigorous than their siblings, often requiring supplemental feedings.  But then diarrhea is another problem, and after a week or ten days on antibiotics and supplementation, the pup seems to catch up. Usually around 3 weeks it screams in pain and is unable to put weight on one of its forelegs, but all seems fine in a few days. About 4 weeks it will seem to have problems getting up on its feet and moves with more of a shuffling gait.. By 4-6 months the pup seems fine and the condition has stabilized, with crooked front legs, a roach to the back and walks with a limp and is weak or cow-hocked in the rear. The skin is frequently itchy. Usually very intelligent and affectionate, they make marvelous companions. However it is often seen that these puppies have bad bites, dental problems, an early left-eye cataract, short toes, are lacking in frontal sinuses, are often dysplastic, susceptibility to infections and other various abnormalities. 2

Actually dwarfism is different than Chinese Beagle Syndrome, as the CBS often manifests itself by quite different and often more neurological expressions. Chinese Beagles often have short outer toes, and most typically, for which the Syndrome is named, have slanted eyes, but otherwise show normal bone and joint development unlike the Dwarf beagles.  Some studies at the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine, note many similarities between humans and beagles afflicted with pseudohypopara-thryoidism (Albright's hereditary osteodystrophy) which targets cells in the kidney and bone, causing them to be unable to respond to normal amounts of parathyroid hormone. Electromyography testing on a few beagles has also show a generalized abnormality suggestive of spinal cord, spinal nerve root and/or peripheral nerve disorder. Usually CBS dogs have associated heart defects. The major symptoms of this syndrome are a wide skull with wide set eye that are somewhat slanted. At 3-4 weeks the puppy appears stiff when moving about and by 10-12 weeks there are signs of a short outer toe on most.  The skin feels stiff and hard, and by 4 to 6 months the stiffness of the legs have increased until the dog walks on the center two toes, unable to flex it's pastern.  Unless there are associated congenital or genetic problems, the dog will have a normal life span. 2

Epiphyseal Dysplasia (Stippled Epiphysis):  Clinically a swaying hind-limb gait, poor growth & sagging hocks. Lameness may occur at various intervals. (H-Undetermined mode), age of onset before or after 3 months. 1

Hip Dysplasia: Abnormal formation of the hip socket, causing rear-limb lameness. For more information go here (H-Polygenic, E, N) age of onset under 2 years. 1

Intervertebral Disc Disease(IDD)Dorsal rupture of the discs between the vertebral bodies, causing back pain, rear-end ataxia & paralysis. (H-Undetermined mode), age of onset 1 year. 1   For more information, go here.

Lumbosacral Stances (Spinal Stances):   Clinically, palpation of the lumbosacral area causes pain. There may be pelvic lameness, tail paresis & fecal & urinary incontinence. (H-Undetermined), age of onset, birth. 1

Lunation of the Patella (knee):  Poor development of the structures holding the kneecap in place. The patella usually rotates medially (inward) in small breeds. (H-Polygenic mode), age of onset under 1 year. Luxation can also occur to to trauma injury resulting in stretching or tearing of the cruciate ligaments at any age. 1 The dog usually does not appear in pain and can be normal one moment and hopping the next. Lateral (outward) displacement is considered to be trauma induced and not of a hereditary nature.  Surgical repair in either incidence is indicated. 2 Quite often similar symptoms may occur due to Anterior Cruciate Ligament problems.

Occipital Dysplasia:  A defect of the foramen Magnum.  There is incomplete formation of the occiptal bone. Clinical signs as a result of this disease may be minimal.  (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 3 months. 1

Otocephalic Syndrome:  Clinically, there is abnormal formation of the head, which includes hydrocephaly, parietal fontanelle & a shortened lower jaw. (H-Recessive), age of onset under 1 year. 1

Panosteitis (Enostosis, Eosinophilic Panosteitis):  Usually, sudden onset of a mild, shifting lameness. Fever, anorexia & lethargy may be present.   The disease may be serious enough that the animal may not bear weight on the affected limb.  This disease is self-limiting.  (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 18 months. 1

Spina Bifida:  Clinical signs may include rear-limb weakness, urinary & fecal incontinence & perineal analgesia. There may be missing skin, muscle & dorsal spinal processes generally in the lumbosacral area.   (H-Undetermined), age of onset birth. 1

Wobbler Syndrome (Cervical Spondylolisthesis, Vertebral Instability):  Abnormality of the neck vertebrae, causing rear-leg ataxia that may progress to paralysis.  The main vertebrae affected are 5, 6 & 7. (H-Polygenic), age of onset under 1 year. 1

Urinary System

Ectopic Ureters:  The ureters do not properly attach to the bladder, causing urine dribbling, usually from birth. (H-Undetermined). 1

Polygeniccystic Kidney (Normal Livers): Large cysts occur only in the kidney causing malfunction and death. (H-Recessive). age of onset under 1 year. 1

Renal Aplasia (Renal Agenesis):  Unilateral or bilateral absence of the kidney or renal tissue, leading to uremia and death if bilateral.   (H-Undetermined mode), age of onset under 1 year.  1

Renal Dysplasia: Failure of normal development of the renal parenchyma, causing malfunction and death. Clinical signs are those of renal failure. (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 1 year. 1

Systemic Reactive Amyloidosis:  Renal anyloid deposits lead to uremia & chronic renal failure. (H-Undetermined), age of onset under 6 years. 1

 

 

 

1. Control of Canine Genetic Diseases.   George A. Padgett, DVM, Professor of Pathology, Michigan State University. Howell Book House, Publishers, New York. 1998

2.  The New Beagle. Judith M. Musladin, M.D., A.C. Musladin, M.D. & Ada T. Lueke. 2nd Edition, Howell Book House, New York. 1998

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