working dog breeds are more prone to health issues

working dog breeds are more prone to health issues
Posted by fetch! blog editors on Jul 25 2017

You know them as the security-guarding, livestock-protecting, life-saving, sled-pulling group that includes lovable breeds like the Boxer, Great Dane, Siberian Husky, St. Bernard and Rottweiler. Recognized for their intelligence and power, working dog breeds are also more prone to certain injuries and illnesses than dogs from other groups.

According to Petplan claims data, working breeds are 60% more likely to suffer a cruciate injury (like a human ACL injury) and 40% more likely to develop cancer.

Common health problems in working breed dogs

Cruciate injuries and cancer are among the costliest claimed-for conditions for the breeds, with average treatment costs of $3,480 and $2,033 respectively.

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Of the top ten most claimed-for conditions for working breeds, foreign body ingestions are also particularly expensive with an average treatment cost of $1,755.

Top 10 Conditions In Working Breed Dogs

1. Non-specific GI disease (vomiting/diarrhea)
2. Neoplasia (cancer)
3. Unspecific lameness
4. Allergies
5. Cruciate injuries
6. Skin infection
7. Urinary tract infection
8. Cardiac disease
9. Intervertebral disc disease
10. Ear infections

Overall, the average paid claim for working dog breeds is 35% higher than others.

Because of their generally gigantic size and physical activity, it’s no surprise that working dog breeds are at greater risk for knee injuries. But how do we explain foreign body ingestions?

“Working breeds are so curious, because it’s their job to be vigilant and look out for things. Many are also highly food motivated. So while they may be investigating something that feels, smells or tastes like food, it could lead to accidental ingestion,” says veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward.

Take these three Petplan-protected pets for instance:


9-year-old Samoyed

Reimbursed $3,209 for ingesting a tennis ball

After periods of vomiting raised his pet parents’ eyebrows, Beau was off to the vet. X-rays uncovered a tennis ball in his stomach, which was removed endoscopically. Beau recovered without complications, though this isn’t the only time he sniffed out something curious. He once led his parents on a chase across the street, where a neighbor had fallen outside – nobody had noticed and she was lying unconscious. She came to as Beau was kissing her face to make sure she was alright. He is certainly a wonderful example of the working dog spirit!


7-year-old Great Dane

Reimbursed $3,448 for ingesting two stuffed animals (a bear and a bee)

Bosley once gobbled up a bee toy, and three months later inhaled a bear toy. The two toys stayed with him for two months until they were removed – when he was getting sicker and sicker, his pet parents thought it was his recurring inflammatory bowel disease. But X-rays revealed the real culprits. The toys were removed laparoscopically and Bosley went home the same day. Now, the rule of the house is “no more toys smaller than his head!”


5-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Reimbursed $2,313 for ingesting a sock

Lily truly shows off her working dog power – she has earned the position of pulling the most weight in the country in her weight class as a female Greater Swiss Mountain Dog! But even the strongest dogs can have their days. After Lily ingested a sock, she was taken to the vet for monitoring and fluid therapy. Luckily she passed the sock overnight and avoided surgery, so she was back to work in no time!

With all the trouble and conditions these working dog breeds are likely to sniff out, it’s important for pet parents to be on alert and protect them with comprehensive pet insurance – after all, they do their best to protect us!

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