Corgis, with their expressive eyes, stubby legs, and distinctive bark, are treasured pets around the world. Known for their playful and affectionate nature, Corgis, unfortunately, are prone to certain breed-specific health issues. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to recognize the signs of these health problems early on to ensure your Corgi receives the best care possible.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
Due to their long backs and short legs, Corgis are especially susceptible to IVDD. This condition occurs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space, causing nerve damage, pain, and sometimes paralysis.
Signs of IVDD include pain and weakness in the rear legs, reluctance to jump, crying out in pain, muscle spasms, and loss of bladder or bowel control. Medical management or surgery might be required based on the severity of the condition.
While not as prevalent in Corgis as in larger breeds, hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint fails to develop properly, can still occur. This can lead to pain, lameness, and potential arthritis.
If your Corgi shows signs of discomfort during or after exercise, difficulty standing up, lameness in the hind legs, or reduced activity levels, it may be suffering from hip dysplasia. While maintaining a healthy weight and regular moderate exercise can help manage the condition, severe cases may require surgery.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
PRA is an inherited disease that causes the retina to degenerate slowly over time, resulting in eventual blindness. It’s a condition that Corgis are particularly prone to.
The first sign is typically night-blindness, with your dog becoming hesitant to move around in low-light conditions. As the disease progresses, daytime vision also starts to fail. While there is no cure for PRA, dogs can usually adjust to their diminishing eyesight as long as their surroundings remain constant.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
DM is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord of older dogs. This disease is often compared to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in humans and is known to affect Corgis.
Symptoms often begin with an unsteady gait and difficulty getting up. As the disease progresses, the dog may drag their back feet, leading to complete paralysis in later stages. Although there is no cure, physical rehabilitation, assistive devices, and certain medications may help manage the disease.
While not a disease, obesity is a serious health concern for Corgis. Their compact size and tendency to overeat can lead to significant weight gain, which puts strain on their joints and backs and can lead to other serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
If your Corgi has an insatiable appetite, exercises less, or has difficulty moving, it could be overweight. The key to prevention is a balanced diet, portion control, and regular exercise.
In conclusion, while Corgis are predisposed to certain health conditions, early detection, and preventative measures can ensure a long, happy, and healthy life for your companion. Regular vet check-ups and being vigilant for signs of these health issues can help ensure your Corgi receives the best care possible. Remember, your pet relies on you to keep them safe and healthy, so understanding these potential health problems is an important part of responsible Corgi ownership.