Pug Health Problems and Raising a Pug Puppy to be Healthy
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The most common health problems in Pugs:
Pugs are so comical and sweet-natured, but the structure of this man-made breed is grossly deformed and leads to numerous health problems. Virtually all Pug puppies are born by C-section, birth defects are common, and the puppy mortality rate is high.
First of all, because of their short face, every Pug suffers from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health issues.
A Pug's respiratory system is so compromised that some Pugs can't even run without gasping for breath. Many individuals struggle to breathe in hot or humid weather. In hot weather, Pugs should be kept in an air conditioned home and supervised during outside activity so they don't overexert themselves and suffer heatstroke.
Eye problems in Pugs include:
- Corneal ulcers caused by scratches to the prominent eyeballs
- Dry eye – very common and can be serious
- Pigmentary keratitis, which looks like a dark glob of pigment starting on the white part of the eye in the inside corners and gradually spreading across the eye, impairing vision
- Eyelash abnormalities, entropion, cataracts, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Your Pug's protruding eyes can actually be forced from their sockets by rough play or even pulling too hard on the leash. A "popped-out" eye is held in place by nerves and muscles (i.e. it doesn't roll across your floor!) but it's often damaged to the point of blindness. One-eyed Pugs are all too common.
Pugs are also deformed orthopedically, which predisposes them to bone and joint problems.
- Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are rampant in Pugs. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, the Pug has the 2nd worst rate of hip dysplasia of 142 breeds and the WORST rate of all small breeds – an incredible 62% of the 324 hip X-rays they evaluated were dysplastic. That's 1 out of every 2 Pugs. And the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation.
- Elbows are no better – of 64 elbow X-rays, 61% were dysplastic, and again, the true rate is higher.
- Other orthopedic diseases in Pugs include luxating patella (loose knees), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, intervertebral disk disease, and hemivertebra.
Pugs are prone to allergies that cause itchy skin. In addition, their wrinkled folds of skin trap dirt and moisture and provide an inviting home for yeast and bacteria, so bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) are common. Demodectic mange is also common in Pugs, as are tumors and cancers, especially mast cell tumors.
Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a devastating inherited inflammation of the brain. Symptoms typically appear at 9-18 months old, but can occur even earlier, or much later in life. This terrible disease causes a stiff neck, staggering gait, wandering in circles, pressing their head against a wall or furniture, and seizures – all developing within just a few weeks or months. PDE is incurable.
Epilepsy is another seizure disorder that occurs in Pugs.
Pugs born with heart disease are predisposed to syncope (a slow irregular heartbeat) that can cause sudden collapse. A pacemaker may ultimately be required if the heartbeat is severely or persistently affected. Pugs may also develop syncope from the persistent coughing or retching caused by their brachycephalic (short-faced) syndrome.
Other health issues in Pugs include hypothyroidism, collapsing trachea, liver shunt, and occasionally hydrocephalus (in some Pug puppies).
Hanging tongue is a mild condition that can occur in Pugs, where the tongue protrudes through the front teeth or hangs out the side of the mouth. It may be a neurological defect or a structural defect, but it isn't really anything to worry about – which is good because there isn't much you can do about it.
Pugs are also prone to dental disease (which can be serious unless treated) and reverse sneezing (which is harmless).
Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Pug?
Yes, often you can.
- Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Pugs today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Pug 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 Pug puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Pug puppy or adult dog:
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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