Alaskan Malamute Health Problems and Raising an Alaskan Malamute Puppy to be Healthy
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The most common health problems in Alaskan Malamutes:
According to an Alaskan Malamute Club health survey, the number one health problem in the breed is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 12,000 Alaskan Malamutes and found 12% dysplastic. That's high, and the true rate is even higher, because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation.
Other orthopedic diseases in Alaskan Malamutes are elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, panosteitis, luxating patella, Wobbler's syndrome, and a rare disease called chondrodysplasia.
According to the club survey, the second worrisome health problem in Alaskan Malamutes is a serious eye disease, cataracts. One form of cataracts appears at less than a year old, while another form appears around age six.
Other eye diseases of concern include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, and entropion.
Also day blindness, which is an inherited eye disease in Alaskan Malamute puppies. Itís officially called hemeralopia or cone degeneration. Cone cells help your dog see in bright light, so when they die, your puppy becomes "day blind." He may seek out shaded areas in the yard and be reluctant to enter sunny areas, where he will walk hesitantly, stumbling or tripping over things. There's no cure for day blindness, but the condition doesnít get any worse with time and with their acute senses of smell and hearing, most puppies with visual difficulties learn how to compensate very well, especially in familiar surroundings.
According to the club survey, hypothyroidism is third on the list of health concerns in Alaskan Malamutes. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 18% of Mals have low thyroid levels.
With their deep chest, Alaskan Malamutes are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in the Alaskan Malamute, especially osteosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and mammary cancer.
Allergies cause itchy skin and often lead to pyoderma (bacterial skin infections). Other skin diseases reported in the breed include follicular dysplasia, zinc-responsive dermatosis, and the (fortunately rare) Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome.
Blood-clotting diseases include hemophilia B, factor VII deficiency, and von Willebrand's disease.
Other health issues in Alaskan Malamutes include epilepsy, diabetes, polyneuropathy, and myasthenia gravis.
Alaskan Malamutes are prone to losing pigment on their nose and muzzle – this can be caused by nasal solar dermatitis, vitiligo, or lupus, but most commonly it's a harmless condition called snow nose where the nose only loses pigment in the winter.
Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Alaskan Malamute?
Yes, often you can.
- Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Alaskan Malamutes today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find an Alaskan Malamute puppy who is genetically healthy.
- Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Alaskan Malamute puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Alaskan Malamute puppy or adult dog:
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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