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move over, rover - petplan pet insurance takes a look at celebrity dogs and the hereditary and congenital conditions that may affect their breed

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

It’s time to shine our spotlight on some famous dogs who are ready for their close-ups!  In this periodic series, we’ll introduce a famous dog and then highlight some of the conditions to which his or her breed is prone. Because it will be a series, feel free to suggest your favorite famous dog (or cat!) for a future blog!


Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin is the name given to a series of German Shepherds that starred in films, radio shows and several TV series, but the very first Rin Tin Tin was a puppy found by an American serviceman in a bombed out dog kennel in France. He was named after a puppet called Rin Tin Tin that French children gave to American soldiers as a good luck charm. Rin Tin Tin (nicknamed Rinty by his owner) was brought back to the States, where he performed tricks at dog shows. He was spotted by a film producer, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Some of the most common conditions that German Shepherds like Rin Tin Tin are genetically predisposed to include:

  • Panosteitis: This painful condition occurs in the long bones of puppies and adolescents, and is generally outgrown over time.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition is the most common cause of rear limb lameness and results from poor conformation of the hip joint.
  • Atopy: Atopy is an inhaled or contact allergy. It often is the root cause of itchiness and chronic skin infections.
  • Degenerative myelopathy: This progressive disease affects the spinal cord and results in hind limb weakness and a lack of coordination.
  • Pannus: Pannus is an immune mediated condition of the eye that requires lifelong treatment. It is controllable, but not curable.
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Deficiency (EPI): Pancreatic enzyme deficiency leads to diarrhea and weight loss, despite an increased appetite. Once diagnosed, it is easily controlled, but will need to be treated for the life of the dog.


Toto

The Cairn Terrier was originally bred to aid Scottish farmers in ridding their farms of pests, but everyone’s favorite Cairn was busy trying to rid Oz of the Wicked Witch of the West. Toto was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry, and she was paid $125 a week to strut her stuff down the yellow brick road in 1939. 

As a whole, Cairn Terriers are a healthy breed, but there are a few hereditary and congenital conditions to which they are prone:

  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy: This condition leads to proliferation of the bones of the skull, causing possible interference with chewing and swallowing.
  • Mitral Valve Disease: Mitral valve disease is a common cause of heart murmurs (a condition shared by Petplan pet insurance and fetch! magazine Dog-in-Chief, Wellington, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel). Severe cases can lead to congestive heart failure.
  • Atopy: This condition affects Cairns the same way it affects German Shepherds.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts are cloudiness in the lens, which is the focusing tool of the eye.  If severe enough, cataracts cause blindness and lead to other disease like glaucoma and uveitis.
  • Patellar Luxation: This condition is when the patella (or knee cap) slides in an out of its groove. This can cause intermittent to chronic lameness and may require surgery.
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Chris AshtonCo-Founder and Co-CEO of Petplan Pet Insurance
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