Staffordshire bull terrier
Genetic joint problems
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition which causes the abnormal development of a dog’s hip joint, meaning that they don’t fit into the socket they’re designed to stay in. This leads to inflammation, swelling and pain for your dog as the ball and socket now rub and grind against each other instead of moving smoothly. Hip dysplasia also leads to osteoarthritis in the affected joint.
There are several symptoms of hip dysplasia including:
- Difficulty getting up or lying down
- Intolerance to exercise
- Wobbling while walking
This condition is usually caused by a dog’s genes and therefore cannot be prevented, but meeting a dog’s nutritional needs from birth, providing the right amount of exercise and keeping your dog at a healthy weight can all help reduce the risk factor of a dog developing the condition.
Patellar luxation happens when a dog’s kneecap dislocates from the joint it’s supposed to stay in. This condition is often caused by genetics or happens as a result of an accident or injury, with symptoms depending on the severity of the luxation.
A vet will grade your dog’s condition from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe) with treatment depending on when the condition is diagnosed.
Dogs with a luxating patella should not be bred from so that this condition is not passed on to their pups.
Another genetic health problem, that can occur in Staffordshire Bull Terriers, are so-called congenital hereditary cataracts. It is a severe disease that leads to progressive vision loss early on in the life of the dog.
A DNA test can show whether the father or mother is carrying the gene responsible for the disease. Future puppy owners should make sure that both puppy’s parents were tested negative for the responsible gene defect as this condition cannot be prevented otherwise.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers tend to have very sensitive skin and often present with allergies which result in inflammation, irritation, and itchiness. This is usually caused by an environmental trigger like pollen, dust, mould or plants and a vet can help you and your dog to find the trigger and provide medicine to manage the allergy.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also more prone to suffer from a skin disease caused by the Demodex mite. These mites live on all dogs usually without causing any issues, but they can multiply and invade the skin if a dog is unable to fight off infections and parasites.
Without this sufficient immune control and depending on the type of Demodex present, it can cause inflammation and disease.
A dog’s general good health can help prevent some cases, but you cannot always protect your pet from an infestation. Treatment will help reduce mite numbers and your dog might also be prescribed some antibiotics if they have developed an infection.
Along with the skin sensitivity, ear problems and ear infections are quite common in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed. One way of helping to prevent them is by cleaning your dog’s ears weekly with solutions that are specifically made to keep the skin barrier, and the flora in the ear, healthy.