Beagles are generally one of the healthier breeds, not known for causing large vet bills throughout their lives. However, there are a few health concerns that owners or prospective owners of the breed should be aware of. Some of them can be avoided through proper breeding and testing of breeding dogs, so do your research and make sure any breeder you are considering has done their part to ensure healthy puppies. Knowing these top three health concerns for your Beagle is also good so you can watch for signs as your dog ages.
#1 – Epilepsy
Epilepsy is being seen more often in Beagles. It can be mild to severe, and in some cases lead to death. There are two ways a Beagle can become epileptic – through genetics or an event such as an infection (including distemper), blood chemistry problems, toxins, or a trauma. It is important to ask a potential breeder if any of the dogs related to yours has had epilepsy and to make sure your puppy has all the appropriate shots, since a viral infection can lead to it as well.
#2 – Hypothyroidism
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in dogs is autoimmune thyroiditis – a genetic disorder. So again, it’s important to ask breeders about breeding stock and screening processes they use before deciding to breed. In addition, owners should pay attention to changes in their Beagle and take them to the vet if hypothyroidism is suspected.
#3 – Cherry Eye
Cherry eye is seen in many breeds, including the Beagle. While there is not a lot of data, it is believed that it could also be genetic. In the United States, many veterinarians suggest surgery to correct a cherry eye. However, Beagles are also prone to keratoconjunctivitis (dry eye), which can happen as a result of having the gland removed because thirty percent of their tear production takes place within it, so it’s a good idea to weigh all options available aside from surgery if your Beagle does develop a cherry eye.