Standard Poodle Health Issues

Sadly, the Standard Poodle breed is steeped in health concerns. Poor breeding tactics, close inbreeding, etc., have caused this lovely breed to be a virtual nightmare when it comes to health.Although there is currently not a specific genetic test for Addison’s or JRD we do screen all PARENT DOGS for Addison’s and Renal problems as well as Diabetes through a Super Chem blood panel run yearly. I can not stress the importance of parent dogs being test for all items listed below. If more people would test many of these problems could be bred out in a relatively short period of time. I do not recommend purchase of a puppy from a breeder who does not do the testing. The most common answer to “Do you test?” is “I don’t have to I have been doing this for 30 years”. It’s why the breed has the problems it HAS. The more people that test the more we can avoid breeding these problems.

The things all Standard Poodle breeders and owners alike should be looking out for are as follows:

  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (bloat). A sudden, life-threatening condition due to abnormal twisting of the stomach. Signs include dramatic abdominal distention (bloating), attempts to vomit (with nothing brought up), pain in the abdomen, weakness and collapse (shock).Most breeds with deep chests narrowing to a slender waste have a predisposition to this condition. Bloat is seen in Great Danes, Grey Hounds, Dobermans and even Afghan Hounds. There is new evidence to infer that some times Bloat is familial. I would say that of the cases of bloat I have heard of spoken about the dogs seemed to be nervous in temperament, what I refer to as “worriers” and seem to often have separation anxiety. Another reason to super socialize your Standard puppy at a young age.

    Things you can do to minimize bloat. Don’t feed or water your dog immediately after or before a period of exercise. Give at least an 1 ½ hours after feeding before exercising. When your dog come in from a moderate exercise session don’t allow it to drink large amounts of water. Limit food and liquid intake for 1-2 hours after exercise. Feeding a higher quality food also seems to limit bloat. Foods approved by the Whole Dog Journal are my recommendation.

  • Juvenile Renal Disease in Standard Poodles. In standard poodles with JRD, symptoms can be noted as early as a few weeks after birth; and affected puppies are almost always symptomatic before two years of age. Puppies who are affected the parents of these puppies should not be bred together again. A sire or a bitch can have the recessive gene for JRD and if bred to a DIFFERENT dog may not produce a JRD puppy again. If the parents bred produce puppies with JRD consistently then in my opinion they should not be used for breeding again.Early symptoms of juvenile renal disease include polydipsia, polyuria, and dilute urine which has little color or odor. Some affected puppies leak urine, many do not. Often a puppy owner’s earliest complaint is about the difficulty of housebreaking a puppy later discovered to have JRD. The volume of water consumed, and, in some puppies, leakage of urine can make housebreaking a formidable task. As the disease progresses, vomiting, weight loss, anorexia, lethargy, and muscle weakness are seen. There is sometimes a chemical odor to the breath as a result of metabolic waste not being excreted by the kidneys.

    This is a disease that is inherent and BOTH parents must contribute the gene to produce it.

  • Hip Dysplasia (OFA) OFA can screen any dog over the age of 2 for Hip Dysplasia. Have your vet x-ray the hips according to OFA regulations and mail the x-rays in to OFA. EVERY BREEDING ANIMAL MUST HAVE THIS! You will get a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, Severe. Next info pulled from the OFA website: The hip grades of excellent, good and fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers. This information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification (tattoo, microchip) and is in the public domain. Radiographs of borderline, mild, moderate and severely dysplastic hip grades are reviewed by the OFA radiologist and a radiographic report is generated documenting the abnormal radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen the open database, dysplastic hip grades are closed to public information. Although OFA will not issue a number prior to age 2, you can get your dog preliminary x-rayed at 1 to determine what the hips are likely to look like. This is not set in stone, and should only be used as a guide. If your dog is fair to borderline, watch it closely over the next year and DO NOT use it for breeding unless it passes OFA at age 2. If it shows signs of HD at 1 year, it probably won’t get a lot better with age, so Mild, Moderate, and Severe should probably be spayed in my opinion. Again, Taken from the OFA website: Preliminary evaluations can be performed after 4 to 5 months of age. OFA evaluations are about 90% accurate when compared to follow-ups of the same animal at 24 months of age. The reason to obtain preliminary status is to minimize the emotional and financial burden if the animal is found to have hip dysplasia.
  • PRA – Progressive Retinal Atrophy (and other eye disorders). You can and should have your poodle’s eyes CERF‘d by a Veterinary Ophthalmologists. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) checks to see of any signs of eye problems are present at the time of testing. Because eye problems can develop over a short period of time, testing must be done YEARLY on all breeding animals.
  • Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) of the skin. This is a major problem in our breed. It is estimated that 50% of all Standard Poodles are carriers or affected. It is hard to ID and can be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, allergies, etc. All breeding animals should have a skin biopsy preformed by a veterinary YEARLY and sent to the Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC) for evaluation by a GDC approved veterinary pathologist. Currently, there is no cure. Help stamp out this problem by testing your poodle, be it pet or breeding animal. Visit the link on SA for more info on this problem.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) – is a bleeding disorder. This is a serious disease, but thankfully, it can now be tested for by VETGEN and completely prevented. A simple cheek swab can be sent to be DNA tested. You can clearly know whether your poodle is clear, carrier, or affected with this one simple test.
  • Thyroid Disease – generally, in dogs, we see Hypothyroidism as our main problem. This is an Autoimmune disease resulting in low production of the thyroid hormones L-thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These two hormones control the rate of metabolism in mammals. Symptoms my include obesity, poor coat, hair loss, lethargy, heat seeking, skin problems, and infertility. This disease is treated with hormone therapy. Please visit the website for more info. Yes, this is GENETIC. Know your poos background before breeding or get tested every year!
  • Addison’s Disease – Yet another autoimmune disease but this time of the adrenal glands. Addison’s disease is defined as a substantial decrease in the production of cortisone and aldosterone by the adrenal glands. What does this mean to your dog? Well, a dog affected by this disease will become ill and then often better for a time. The illness is not easy to ID. It looks like a flu and the dog will often get better before the owner takes them to the vet. Please visit Addison’s Disease – “What is Addison’s Disease” – for more info on this disorder.

Other Health links:

CLICK HERE for more information regarding the BIO CENSOR / SUPER DOG program.

Poodle History Project