The Beagle is a wonderful pet that is particularly good with children. Beagles are predisposed to certain diseases, so careful observation of your pets daily routine is important. Any significant change in this routine is cause for an examination. Our web site in the Diseases Section has detailed information on many of the diseases they are prone to.
Beagles are prone to numerous eye conditions. These can range from small eyes (micropthalmia) to cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal problems called progressive retinal atrophy. They also get a prolapse of the third eyelid gland (cherry eye), which appears as a red membrane over the eye. Any time your pet has eye discharge, redness, or is pawing at one of its eyes, and examination should be performed.
On occasion, some Beagles can get a bleeding disorder. If your pet easily bruises, or seems to take a long time to clot blood, it should have an examination. Beagles are susceptible to herniated discs. Any time it shows signs of pain or inability to walk properly, this disease might be a cause. Proper veterinary care is important in a herniated disc because the problem may progress to paralysis.
They are also susceptible to kidney disease. Symptoms of kidney disease vary, but commonly include increased thirst and urination. Any change in your pets drinking or urinary habits are cause for an examination, including a urinalysis, x-ray, and blood sample.
Another relatively common problem in Beagles is epilepsy, which manifests itself as a seizure. Any time your pet has a seizure it should be brought to our attention. Epilepsy is controlled with anticonvulsant medication.
Skin conditions caused by mange can also occur. If your pet has mange there will be patches of hair loss anywhere on its body, but particularly towards the head area. This disease is diagnosed by scraping the surface of the skin in the affected area and looking for the mites under the microscope.
There is a heart disease called Pulmonic Stenosis that can occur in Beagles. Symptoms, if they occur, include distended abdomen, difficult breathing, exercise intolerance, and unfortunately, even sudden death.
The thyroid gland can produce an inadequate amount of thyroxine, leading to a disease called hypothyroidism. Symptoms can include poor haircoat, lethargy, and obesity. Our web site has a detailed page on hypothyroidism.
Tumors of the skin occur in Beagles. A tumor of particular importance is the Mast Cell Tumor (MCT) due its potential to be highly malignant. Any skin mass on your Beagle should be examined by us.
When breeding beagles, and also when choosing a genetically sound puppy, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals; www.offa.org) recommends genetic screening for:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Eye Exam by an ACVO ophthalmologist, and the results registered with OFA or CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation; http://www.offa.org/eyes.html)
- MLS (Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disease).
Testing is also recommended for detecting Autoimmune Thyroiditis, and evaluation for cardiac disease.
By using genetic testing and registry programs like these, breeders of purebred dogs can work toward eliminating these inherited diseases, which can lead to lifelong pain, debilitation and medical problems. If you’re considering getting a purebred puppy, asking potential breeders about these inherited diseases can help you choose a healthy pup.