Health Problems in a Havanese

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Published: 13th May 2011
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Known as the national dog of Cuba, the Havanese is a small and sturdy dog with a generally good and healthy disposition. As a breed that stood the test of time, Havanese dogs have evolved from pampered lap-dogs of the aristocracy to a reliable family companion counted on for being a watchdog, playmate, and herder of poultry flock. However, just as any other breed, Havanese dogs are prone to certain health problems that their owners should be wary of. These include: Cataracts, Chondrodysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, Leg Perthes, and Legg-Calve Perthes.

Cataracts result in a loss of transparency of your Havenese’s eye lenses. This cloudy area may be confined to a small area of the lens or it can affect the whole eye structure. While small, non-progressive cataracts don’t radically interfere with your dog’s vision, severe cases can result to blindness. Since Havanese dogs have a high risk of developing cataracts, the only way to keep this problem in check is to have their eyes checked annually.

Chondrodysplasia Punctata, commonly referred to as CD concerns metabolic disorders of skeletal development, often characterized by various growth deficiencies either resulting in relatively short statures or bow legs. Most bones in your dog’s body start forming from cartilages and are replaced by bones early in life. As such, any signs of this disease should manifest during the early stages of your Havanese’s life. As a puppy, if your Havanese shows signs of difficulty standing or walking after getting up, it is best to have him/her checked as soon as possible. In some cases, surgery is required to correct this condition, but as with any case, recovery becomes much easier for your dog if performed at an early stage wherein its bones are still developing.

On the other hand, Hip Dysplasia pertains to the abnormal development of the hip joint. The hip joint is essentially a "ball and socket," if there is a loose fit between the two, Hip Dysplasia may occur. If not treated, this may lead to severe arthritis. However, since most Havanese dogs manifest symptoms of this disease as puppies, this condition can be treated either medically or surgically.

Legg-Calve Perthes or LCP is another condition that concerns hip joints. This occurs when the "ball" portion of the hip is damaged as a result of the lack of blood supply. Symptoms of this condition include limping, excessive pain, and arthritis. More often than not, this condition is contracted genetically. It is detected through x-rays and is treated through surgery.

Having said all this, it is important to keep in mind that for the most part, your Havanese dog’s health is largely dependent on you. Make sure that your Havanese gets regular checkups and maintains a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.

Lea Mullins, talks about the various health concerns in a Havanese. provides tips on selecting a healthy Dog or puppy from a good breeder.

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