Because of unwise breeding practices, some breeds of dogs are prone to certain health problems. Although it does not mean that every dog of a certain breed will suffer from those diseases, they have a higher chance to be exposed to the health problems. As for pit bull breeds, they are generally healthy and strong. However, just like other breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions. So, if you plan to buy or adopt a puppy of pit bull breeds, you need to know the common pit bull health problems so that you will have a counter measure and would know what to do when your dog caught the disease or diagnosed with the health problems.
Pit Bull Breeds, which include American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, are generally prone to the following health problems:
Hip Dysplasia(HD) or Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)
Hip Dysplasia is a condition when the hip joint ball and socket malfunction in a way that the thighbone does not fit tightly into the hip joint. The condition can further develop and cause lameness or arthritis, and depending on the severity, it can be extremely painful. Before you are planning to breed your pit bulls, it is advised to have x-rays of their hips done because dogs with hip dysplasia are not supposed to be bred. The ideal age to do x-ray is when the dog hits the age of 2, and it can be done in Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP).
Generally, pit bull breeds are prone to skin allergies. These allergies can be caused by fleas, grass, pollen, and dust. Although it is not common, some pit bulls are also allergic to food, such as beef, rice, wheat, and corn. Skin allergies can cause intense itching and rashes to the skin, and it has to be treated immediately. Otherwise, it may cause secondary infections that will be more difficult to treat. In dealing with allergies, you must find the cause and remove it away from the dog. Allergy symptoms can also be controlled with medication. ( read: Giving the Best Dog Foods for Pit Bulls )
Hypothyroidism is a condition when the dog’s thyroid gland dysfunction. The symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: weight gain, poor coat, and reproductive problems. If your pit bulls are diagnosed with this disease, they are going to need daily medication throughout their life.
The most common heart problem to attack a pit bull breed is called Aortic Stenosis. It is an abnormal condition when the connection between the left ventricle and the aorta is narrowing. Aortic Stenosis often does not display noticeable symptoms so that some pit bulls that suffered from the disease die suddenly. Depending on the condition, treatment may range from medication to surgery.
Hereditary Nephritis is kidney disease that is commonly found at an early age. The condition is caused by a malfunction in kidney’s filters, which cause high levels of protein in the urine. This is actually one of the most worrisome pit bull health problems that the dogs are suffering from the disease usually die before they reach their third year of life. The disease is hereditary, which means the dogs are born with it.
Patella includes three parts of the body: the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf). Patellar Luxation is an abnormal condition in which these parts are not properly lined up, often slips out of place, and may develop to arthritis. This disease is also hereditary. In severe condition, Patellar Luxation may require surgery.
Pit Bull breeds generally have huge appetites, and they tend to easily gain weight. Just like what happen to a human, obesity in pit bulls can also cause various health problems.
Tips to prevent Pit Bull health problems
Can you prevent pit bulls health problems? It is not entirely impossible. The list of pit bulls health problems above shows that some diseases are hereditary, which means the dog is born with it. In this case, there is little we can do unless treating with medication or surgery. However, some diseases can be prevented by:
- Giving vaccines, such as Canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies.
- Keeping your dog’s environment clean. This can spare your dogs from environmentally triggered diseases such as allergies, fleas, and rashes.
- Giving healthy diet. Feeding your dogs with good food means a lot to their health. It is also advised to feed your dog on schedule rather than leaving dog foods for them all the time. Uncontrolled feeding may cause obesity.
- Regularly taking your dogs to exercise to keep them fit. ( read more : Top Exercises for Pit Bull Muscle Training )
- Regularly visiting the vet.
Although pit bulls are generally healthy, there is no harm in being well informed of pit bull health problems. Just in case.