Common health issues
- Wobbler Syndrome results from instability of the vertebrae in the neck. Chronic compression of the spinal cord leads to weakness in the hind limbs, and if severe, can progress to weakness in the front limbs, as well. Wobbler syndrome can be managed medically if it is mild, but often requires extensive surgery and physical therapy to correct.
- Epilepsy is a neurologic disease that manifests as seizures. Often epilepsy is idiopathic (meaning there is no known cause) and generally we see the onset between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Treatment for this life-long condition centers on controlling seizures with oral medication.
- Atopy refers to skin allergies caused by inhaled or contact allergens. Just like us, our dogs can be allergic to pollen, dander, grasses and trees. Their allergies result in itchiness that can be seasonal or year-round. Affected dogs are prone to ear and skin infections. The condition varies in severity but is usually lifelong and often requires constant medical management.
- Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.
- Pulmonic stenosis is an obstruction to blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the pulmonary artery, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood to the lungs. Severe valve thickening can cause thickening of the heart muscle and lead to congestive heart failure. Both medical management and surgical treatment options exist.
- Megaesophagus is a dilation of the esophagus due to the loss of normal muscular contraction. The condition is often see shortly after weaning, when puppies begin to regurgitate food and may fail to thrive. Regurgitation may lead to pneumonia if stomach contents are regurgitated and inhaled. This condition cannot be cured, but may be managed with controlled feedings.