The Bernese Mountain Dog is a generally healthy dog with a certain disposition to certain joint ailments. Bernese Mountain Dogs are loyal family dogs that offer a lot of energy and love. However, some major health problems are associated with these large, colorful canines, primarily because their owners tend to be progressive in reporting disease. Most dogs do not develop challenging diseases.
According to ongoing studies upheld by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, almost 10% of canines having a place with this variety foster malignant growth in the course of their life. Most are analyzed in their 6th year of life. The two most common forms of cancer found in Bernese Mountain Dogs are histiocytosis and mast cell tumors, both of which attack the dog’s immune system.
The former causes an elevated white blood cell count and the latter causes tumors to develop throughout the dog’s body. Both types of cancer develop in animals with certain genetic markers, giving researchers some hope that through breeding programs, they can be eliminated. The dog club has started a tumor registry to track affected individuals.
Known to veterinarians as “gastric torsion,” this painful condition is not always the easiest to detect, as its symptoms are characteristic of other disorders. Dogs that experience this tummy problem are agitated, drooling much more than normal, breathing heavily, trying to vomit, and often wandering nervously. The abdominal region may be swollen. The stomach has turned over, trapping gases that are produced through digestion. It is a life-threatening situation, as the circulation in the stomach and spleen is completely cut off, and veterinary intervention through surgery is a must in most cases.
This problem actually begins in the puppy but is often not fully expressed until the dog’s older years, when time and wear and tear on the bones begin to reveal the arthritic condition. An abnormal formation of the hip joint during the puppy’s growth causes the head of the femur bone to fit incorrectly in the hip joint. The result is wear and tear that causes arthritis. In its older years, the dog may be slow to get up or resist climbing activities. Joint medications prescribed by a veterinarian can ease discomfort.
Loss of vision
In veterinary terms, this condition is known as moderate retinal decay. It is an irreversible loss of vision that, on account of Bernese Mountain Dogs (and a few other vulnerable varieties), is hereditarily connected. While this retinal affliction itself is not painful, it is also currently intractable. It begins with a worsening of the dog’s night vision, progressing to night blindness and eventually total blindness.