As with all breeds and especially, large breeds, Swissies may be prone to health problems. When choosing breeding pairs it is important to consider all aspects. Temperament, health and breed standard all come in to the equation. Before we breed any of our dogs we look to see what they can offer the breed. For instance, we would breed a dog with a fabulous temperament and conformation but with an elbow score of 1. A dog or bitch with a higher than average hip score could still be bred to a dog or bitch with a much lower score. Please bear in mind that health tests only prove the soundness of that particular dog or bitch, it does not guarantee all the puppies will be sound. We have known a breeding pair, both with x rayed clear shoulders (OCD), to produce OCD in both shoulders in one of their offspring. We have also known of a dog with elbow grade 2 producing clear elbows in offspring.
Overfeeding, too much exercise and trauma can all contribute to joint damage so great care must be taken with puppies until adulthood.
With most UK breeders importing quality stock into the UK from reputable breeders, the health of the UK Swissy population is currently very good and an overview of the most common ailments within the breed are defined below.
Please note these are not just Springhaze dogs but all the UK dogs.
Hip Dysplasia (HD) - Currently all the UK dogs and bitches that have been scored have very good results. The best one scoring 0/0 Total 0 (A Springhaze imported dog) and the worse one scoring 15/14 total 29 (not bred by Springhaze), Currently the mean score for our breed in the UK for hips (HD) is 8.5 (combined total) which is very low in comparison to other breeds.
Elbow Dysplasia (ED) - Currently most of the UK dogs and bitches that have been scored have 0 elbows with a couple scoring 1, one scoring 2 and 1 scoring 3.
Ostechondrosis Dissecans (OCD) - Currently most of the UK dogs and bitches known to be scored are Free (0) with a couple of exceptions. However only a few of the UK breeders score shoulders. The BVA do not recognise this test so there is no scoring available in the UK. No other breed in the UK scores for OCD. The x rays can be sent to Switzerland or Germany for scoring under their systems.
Gastric Dilation Volvulus (Bloat) - This can be fatal if not treated immediately. A small number of UK dogs have suffered from Bloat. Immediate veterinary action is necessary to prevent fatality.
Epilepsy - There is much talk in the Swissy world of epilepsy. Idiopathic, which means there is no known cause, epilepsy (IE), affects all breeds of dogs including mongrels. No one knows what causes it but there is thought to be a genetic influence, as some lines seem to produce it more often than others. There is no test available to ascertain who carries the disease and the only way you find out is when you produce a puppy with IE. To read further about this condition please click here....
Eyes – There are currently no notifiable eye diseases in the GSMD. The eyes are checked for cataracts, Distichiasis and Entropion and should only be bred from if Clear.
Swissy Lick - Many, especially young Swissies, suffer from this phenomena. Some grow out of it. It can be habit forming and diet and stress can play a part.
Splenic Torsion - To date there are no known incidences of any UK Swissies that have suffered from this.
Cancer - Cancer can affect any breed of dog.