What to Know about their Health!

small beagle puppies

The typical longevity of beagles is 12–15 years,[47] which is a common lifespan for dogs of their size.[48]

Beagles may be prone to epilepsy, but this can often be controlled with medication. Hypothyroidism and a number of types of dwarfism occur in beagles. Two conditions in particular are unique to the breed: “Funny Puppy”, in which the puppy is slow to develop and eventually develops weak legs, a crooked back and although normally healthy, is prone to a range of illnesses;[49] and Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS) in which the eyes are slanted and the outer toes are underdeveloped but otherwise development is as normal.[50] Hip dysplasia, common in Harriers and in some larger breeds, is rarely considered a problem in beagles.[51] Beagles are considered a chondrodystrophic breed, meaning that they are prone to types of disk diseases.[52]

(Weight gain can be a problem in older or sedentary dogs, which in turn can lead to heart and joint problems).

In rare cases, beagles may develop immune mediated polygenic arthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints) even at a young age. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved by steroid treatments.[49] Another rare disease in the breed is neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. Affected puppies are slow, have lower co-ordination, fall more often and don’t have a normal gait. It has an estimated carrier rate of 5% and affected rate of 0.1%. A genetic test is available

In rare cases, beagles may develop immune mediated polygenic arthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints) even at a young age. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved by steroid treatments.[49] Another rare disease in the breed is neonatal cerebellar cortical degeneration. Affected puppies are slow, have lower co-ordination, fall more often and don’t have a normal gait. It has an estimated carrier rate of 5% and affected rate of 0.1%. A genetic test is available.[53][54]

Their long floppy ears can mean that the inner ear does not receive a substantial air flow or that moist air becomes trapped, and this can lead to ear infections. Beagles may also be affected by a range of eye problems; two common ophthalmic conditions in beagles are glaucoma and corneal dystrophy.[55] “Cherry eye”, a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid, and distichiasis, a condition in which eyelashes grow into the eye causing irritation, sometimes exist; both these conditions can be corrected with surgery.[49] They can suffer from several types of retinal atrophy. Failure of the nasolacrimal drainage system can cause dry eye or leakage of tears onto the face.[49]

As field dogs they are prone to minor injuries such as cuts and sprains, and, if inactive, obesity is a common problem as they will eat whenever food is available and rely on their owners to regulate their weight.[49] When working or running free they are also likely to pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks, harvest mites, and tapeworms, and irritants such as grass seeds can become trapped in their eyes, soft ears, or paws.[56]

Beagles may exhibit a behaviour known as reverse sneezing, in which they sound as if they are choking or gasping for breath, but are actually drawing air in through the mouth and nose. The exact cause of this behaviour is not known, but it can be a common occurrence and is not harmful to the dog

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