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Diseases in the Spinone

Illness and disease are something you never wish or expect for your dog. Some breeds are more affectet then others. The Spinone is not known to be very affected by diseases, but still we have to have in mind that it can occur. Here is some of the diseases that can occur:

Cerebellar Ataxia (CA): Cerebellar Ataxia, more commonly referred to as CA, is a new neurological disease which has been reported in Italian Spinone over recent years. The neurological signs have only been seen in young dogs, all less than one year old, and indications are that the cerebellum is diseased. This is the part of the brain which provides the fine tuning to movement and controls gait. Affected dogs show exaggerated movements such as a high stepping gait, or goose stepping, also an unsteady or wobbly gait, generally referred to as ataxia. The neurological findings are quite characteristic of cerebellar disease but definitive diagnosis requires an autopsy to enable the brain tissue to be examined. There is no treatment for this disease and the puppies are put to sleep when they are no longer able to cope with the symptoms, usually at around 11 or 12 months of age. Apparently there are many diseases which affect the cerebellum but relatively few occur in young dogs.

HD: Hip-dysplasia is seen in particullary big-siced dogs, and it can also occur to the Spinone. HD is a fouwlt in the development in the hip-joints and can affect one or both hips. In a hip suffering from dysplasia, two things are commonly abnormal. First, the caput is not deeply and tightly held by the acetabulum. Instead of being a snug fit, it is a loose fit, or a partial fit. Secondly, the caput or acetabulum are not smooth and round, but are misshapen, causing abnormal wear and tear or friction within the joint as it moves.
The symptomes are
signs of stiffness or soreness after rising from rest, reluctance to exercise, bunny-hopping or other abnormal gait (legs move more together when running rather than swinging alternately), lameness, pain, reluctance to stand on rear legs, jump up, or climb stairs, subluxation or dislocation of the hip joint, or wasting away of the muscle mass in the hip area.
A dog with HD should not be bred from.The science shows that the best time to x-ray dogs is from 18 months because of the growing-phase. In Norway we have this scale: Free (A, B), weak (C), moderate (D) and severe (E).

Ectropion: Henging eyelids can occur in the Spinone. This can lead to that dust, pollen and so on can irritate the eye, and in some cases, give an infection. Not very good for a hunting dog that has to be in all terrain and wether. If the puppy has henging eyelids, this can improve as it grows up, but not always. Surgery is possible, but should only be done when the dog is fully grown up. This is because the skin around the eyes is changing as the dog grows. So if you operate the dog for ectropion in early age, the dog can be troubled with entropion (tight eyelids)as a grown up dog. Then the infection will be caused by the eyelashes rubbing into the eye.

Earinfections: Ear problems are quite common in the Spinone among other breeds with henging ears. To prevent an earinfection, you have to clean the ears for dirt and hair on a regular basis. Some dogs are more affected by others, and this can be a question about hereditary and enviroment. Symptomes on earinfection are scratching, headshaking, bad smell and the skin in the ears can be read and wobbly. The veterinarion must be contacted on a early time as the infection can cause serious complications. The treatment consists most of the cases of antibiotics. If your Spinone has serial earinfections you might consider that it can be a skindesease. Dogs that have very many earinfections would be considered not to be used in breeding.

Skindeseases: Luckily the Spinone is not well known to have skindeseases. Still it occurs in some specimen. One of the diseases that affects the skin is allergy. The dog usually reacts to allergy by scratching itself. It scratch particullary in head-area, betwen elbows and between the toes. Some dogs reacts to the food, and other reacts allergic to the enviroment around. And some dogs have a combination of more. If the dogs doesn`t get treated by this either with changing the food or gets medicated, it will scratch to it bleed, and loos hair. Some dogs are so affected that it is difficult to get the allergy under control. In my and many others opinion allergy-dogs should never be bred from. My first Spinone suffered from severe allergy, and had at the end be put too sleep because of her troubles. Medications can help many dogs, and so can right feeding. Feeding of dogs has a lot to say.
If you suspect your dog to have allergy, you should contact a veterinarian specialist for skin. The veterinarian will go through the story of the itching dog, when it started and how often it itches and she/he will sort out if there are other reason causing the itching like parasites and so. Then there will be done some bloodtesting to sort out what the dog is allergic to; mights, mould, dust and so on. When the test is ready you will have a better idea what you can do to help your dog. There is also a immunotheraphy against some allergies.

Bloat: Bloat is a medical condition in which the stomach becomes overstretched by excessive gas content. It is also commonly referred to as torsion, gastric torsion, and gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) when the stomach is also twisted. The condition occurs most commonly in domesticated animals, especially ruminants and certain dog breeds. In dogs gas accumulation in the stomach may cause or be caused by a volvulus, or twisting, of the stomach which prevents gas from escaping. Deep-chested breeds are especially at risk.
Some of the more widely acknowledged factors for developing bloat include increased age, breed, having a deep and narrow chest, stress, eating foods such as kibble that expand in the stomach, overfeeding, and other causes of gastrointestinal disease and distress.

Rigmor Fiveltun, Bakkely, 8976 Vevelstad, Norway. Tlf (0047)94410949