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Pet News

11 September 2019 by Geoffrey Insurance

Kennel Club study identifies common health disorders in pedigree dogs

The study is based on data for 43,005 dogs registered with the Kennel Club, across 192 breeds. The researchers wanted to find out how common various health disorders are among pedigree dogs overall and, where possible, to determine any variation among breeds.

Published in the Canine Genetics and Epidemiology journal, the study will help dog owners, breeders and vets to be aware of any relevant health concerns and identify which breeds are most at risk of suffering from which disorders.

The top three health disorders in dogs were all skin conditions: lipoma, cysts and allergic skin problems.

The most commonly reported health condition was fatty skin masses (lipoma), with around one in 25 dogs (4.3%) affected. The next most commonly reported condition was skin cysts, which affected 3.1%, followed by allergic skin conditions, affecting 2.7% of dogs. As in humans, these conditions vary in severity.

Looking at particular breeds, Boxers had the highest number of reported diseases or conditions at a higher prevalence than overall, with skin cancer or tumours being the most commonly reported condition in this breed. Next came the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with heart murmurs being the most commonly reported condition. In third place was the Pug, with corneal ulcers being reported as the top condition.

Labradors had the highest number of reported conditions occurring at a lower prevalence than overall across all breeds, followed by the Cocker Spaniel and the Border Terrier.

Just under two thirds of dogs had no reported health conditions.

Overall, there were 90 disorders with a significantly higher prevalence in at least one breed. These included umbilical hernias in the Shih Tzu (12% compared to 1.2% overall) and lipoma in the Weimaraner (17.5% compared to 4.3% overall).

At the other end of the scale were examples of disorders with a significantly lower prevalence in certain breeds -- for example, hypersensitivity in the Bearded Collie (0.4% compared to 2.7% overall) and skin cysts in the Rough Collie (0.5% compared to 3.1% overall).

Dr Katy Evans, health research manager at the Kennel Club and one of the authors of the study, commented: "Dogs of any breed or crossbreed can suffer from conditions that affect their health, both those for which inheritance plays a part and those caused by external factors. The results of this study will substantially contribute to the current understanding of disorder occurrence in dogs in the UK and will be a massive help to dog owners as it gives them an idea of what to look out for, particularly if their breed has a higher than average incidence of a certain condition.

"The majority of the larger studies into disease prevalence rely on primary care veterinary data, which does not take into account dogs which may be affected by fairly harmless conditions that can be safely managed at home without veterinary treatment. By gathering and analysing large amounts of owner reported data, we can get a clearer picture of the health of the whole dog population."

Do you own a pedigree dog? Has it needed treatment for any of the conditions we've mentioned?