© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
Burden of poof: 10 medical perils in poodles
Poodles are historically beloved dogs, companions of Roman warriors and French kings alike. But veterinarians and veterinary team members do everyone a favor when theyre familiar with toy, miniature and standard poodles genetic predispositions toward illness or injury.
(Photo: Getty Images)Editor's note: Breed details are reprinted with permission from Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Risk Factors of Poodles. And you can click here for details on Dr. Clark's entire series on dog breeds.
Poodles have been getting mad love as a dog breed for a long time now. Historians trace their poofy-haired ancestors back to 1st century A.D. But even pet owners enamored of the look, the reputation or the history of these breeds should be clear about the dogs' peculiarities and genetic predispositions to medical issues. None of those issues have to make a loving pet owner question their love … just to be better-informed.
Let's dig into 10 interesting medical issues for poodles, first with toys and miniatures and then with standards.
(Photo Getty Images)
MINIATURE AND TOY POODLES
Red in tooth and claw
Miniature and toy poodles are documented to have deficiencies of several factors in the coagulation pathway.
• Prekallikrein deficiency has been associated with factor XII deficiency and may result in prolonged bleeding times but is usually subclinical.
• Factor VIII deficiency is inherited as an X-linked recessive trait, with males being affected and females being carriers. The severity of the clinical signs depends on the activity level of the factor present and ranges from spontaneous hemorrhage to lameness due to bleeding into joints and muscles.
A matter of the heart
Studies indicate that toy and miniature poodles are prone to develop myxomatous atrioventricular valvular degeneration. In poodles, the mitral valve appears to be most involved. Older poodles have been reported to have a higher incidence of atherosclerosis than most breeds. Severe hypothyroidism may increase the risk of this disease.
Atopic dermatitis is common in toy and miniature poodles. The condition can be a predisposing factor for secondary Malassezia dermatitis and otitis externa. The latter condition is also exacerbated by the heavy growth of hair in the ear canals. Poodles' chronic otitis externa can also result in otitis media.
A problem diversion
Portosystemic shunts have been reported in toy and miniature poodles. Portal blood is shunted to the vena cava without passing through the liver, allowing toxins to build up in the blood. Affected dogs show a failure to thrive and develop seizures due to hepatic encephalopathy.
The eyes have it
Epiphora or excess tearing occurs in toy and miniature poodles. It may be caused by microphthalmia (an abnormally small eyeball), distichiasis or trichiasis (abnormally located eyelashes), entropion (in-rolling of one or both eyelids), or even imperforate lacrimal punctum (the absence of the opening of the lacrimal duct at the medial lid margin).
In the case of imperforate lacrimal punctum, the result is a chronic discharge below the medial canthus. Surgical correction has been effective.
(Photo Getty Images)
Not a lotta clots
Factor XII deficiency and von Willebrand's disease are a particular problem in standard poodles. Von Willebrand's disease is characterized by the abnormally low production of a protein found in the blood called von Willebrand's factor, which plays a key role in the complex process of clotting a damaged blood vessel.
VetGen offers a DNA test for von Willebrand's disease in all varieties of poodle.
Sebaceous adenitis is a significant problem in standard poodles. It is currently thought that 9% of poodles are affected and 42% are carriers. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) currently ranks the poodle first in its sebaceous adenitis database.
The disease is thought to be immune-mediated with a genetic predisposition that results in destruction of the sebaceous glands. The disease begins with hyperkeratosis, leading to alopecia. The coat is dull and brittle with silver-white scale. Lesions often begin on the face and spread along the neck and trunk.
Standard poodles have an increased incidence of hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease). The cause is most likely immune-mediated destruction of adrenal tissue. Clinical signs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and bradycardia. Hyponatremia and hyperkalemia can be seen on serum chemistry panels.
Gastric dilatation-volvulus is a significant problem in standard poodles.
Hip dysplasia is a greater problem in standard poodles than other varieties because of their size and growth rate. The OFA lists 12.2% of all poodle hips examined as abnormal. This figure includes all varieties.
Breed details are reprinted with permission from Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Risk Factors of Poodles. And you can click here for details on Dr. Clark's entire series on dog breeds.