Corgi Health

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Corgis are overall a healthy breed without a long list of health risks but all dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Corgis are at higher risk for DM, EIC, and VWD1 these may seem like just a jubble of letters to people who are just learning about it so we wanted to go into this a little deeper to explain what these genetic disorders are and why we test for them: 

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

         You will probably see and hear a lot about DM from corgi owners and breeders as it can be a little controversial. So what is DM ? "Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a genetic disease of the dogs spinal cord mostly seen in older dogs between 8 and 14 years of age. It usually begins with loss of coordination in the hind limbs resulting in the dog wobbling when walking and dragging the feet. As it progresses, the legs become weak and the dog will have difficulty standing, until the dog is unable to walk. It can take  6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic and If signs progress for a long period of time, loss of bladder and stool continence may occur along with weakness in the front limbs.  

There is 3 results that can come from testing a dog :

(A) Clear : Dogs that have two normal copies of DNA. "Among the hundreds of dogs studied to date at the University of Missouri, only two dogs with test results of ‘CLEAR/NORMAL’ have been confirmed to have DM."

(B) Carrier: Dogs that have one copy of the mutation and one normal copy of DNA. "Carriers are far less likely to develop DM however; a few cases to date of DM have been confirmed in a small number of carrier dogs."

(C) At Risk : These dogs have two copies of the mutation . "Although many dogs tested to date typed as ‘AT RISK/AFFECTED’ have been clinically confirmed DM, recent evidence suggest that there are other causes of DM in some breeds. In addition, not all dogs testing as ‘AT RISK/AFFECTED’ have shown clinical signs of DM. Research is ongoing to estimate what percentage of dogs testing as ‘AT RISK/AFFECTED’ will develop DM within their lifespan. At this point, the DM mutation can be interpreted as being ‘AT RISK’ of developing DM within the animal’s lifetime. For dogs showing clinical signs with a presumptive diagnosis of DM, ‘AT RISK/AFFECTED test results can be used as an additional tool to aid in the diagnosis of DM."

So the "issue" with DM testing is that it is not 100% accurte and dog that ar Clear / Carriers and still devolpe this along with dogs that are At Risk never devolping the disease . So why do we test? DM is somthing we wish none of our beloved puppies ever have to go through along with their owners. So we test as it has been seen that carriers and clears have less chance to develope DM, and anything we can do to lower that chance is a positive .

Von Willebrand’s Disease Type I (VWD1)

Von Willebrand disease is a genetic disorder that prevents normal blood clotting that can cause prolonged bleeding following a injury. This is due to a deficiency of  von Willebrand factor that is a binding protein during blood clotting. There are three types of VWD that have been identified in dogs to date and are known as VWD type 1, 2 and 3.

Von Willebrand’s disease type 1 (VWD1) results in reduction in normal levels of vWf to approximately 5-10% of normal. Since some VWf is produced in dogs homozygous for the VWD1 mutation, this form of the disorder is considered to be less serious than type 2 and 3. Typical symptoms of the disease encompass excessive or abnormal bleeding following injury or the presence of blood in various bodily secretions like urine, feces, etc..

(A) Clear : These dogs have two copies of the normal DNA and will not develop VWD1or pass it to their offspring.

(B) Carrier/Not affected : These dogs have one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutation associated with VWD1. They will not develop it but will, if bred, pass it to offspring.(Should only be bred to a dog that is clear)

(C) At Risk : These dogs have two copies of the mutation associated with this disease and can develop problems with blood clotting.

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) is a canine genetic disorder that causes loss of muscle control after extreme exercise.  It usually occurs after 5-25 minutes of excessive activity such as running for extended periods of time.  Severity can vary for different dogs, but often begins with rocking than weakening of the hind legs and than collapse.  Episodes are usually brief less than 20 minutes but can be fatal in rare cases.  

A) Clear : These dogs have two copies of the normal DNA and will not develop VWD1or pass it to their offspring.

(B) Carrier/Not affected : These dogs have one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutation associated with VWD1. They will not develop it but will, if bred, pass it to offspring.(Should only be bred to a dog that is clear)

(C) At Risk : These dogs have two copies of the mutation associated with this disease and can be susceptible to collapse following periods of intense/extended exercise

 

So why do we test for them?

 

          Every breeder will have their own opinion on whether to test for genetic disorders or not , we are pro for testing beause we want to give our puppies and their new families the best and most years possible together. Anything we can do to help that we are for,  That being said though it is a small part of our program and we believe in looking at the whole picture and the whole dog. Just because a dog is completely clear does not make him/her a good breeding candidate or overall healthy/"good" dog, there are so many factors that need to be looked at here temperament, conformation, other health issues that there is no testing for. Also Just because a dog tests "at risk" doesn't mean they will ever develop the genetic disorder it means they are at higher risk . All our our puppies are A or B for DM, EIC, or VWD1 meaning they are clear/normal or carrier/not affected

 

Other corgi heath risks

 

Back Problems in Corgis

Corgis are prone to back problems, such as herniated discs. Because corgis have long bodies and short little legs, this can stress their spin, especially as corgis age, accumulated pressure on the spine can cause dogs to develop painful disabilities.

"Dogs have disc-shaped cushions, made of cartilage, that separate their vertebra from each other and absorb shocks. When those cushions become inflamed or slide out of place in a dog’s spine, they cause pain and put pressure on the spinal cord. The condition, Intervertebral Disc Disease, can even cause nerve damage. Because of Corgis’ long bodies, short legs, and differences in the composition of their cartilage discs, they are susceptible to this disability.

If a corgi suffers nerve damage as a result of a slipped disc, they can suffer from diminished motor function or even become paralyzed."

 

Obesity 

Most corgis love food! and they do look cute if they are a little cubby unfortunately being a cubby little "loaf" is not healthy for any breed of dog but corgis especially suffer when they pack on the extra pounds. While its fun to share yummy treats with you pet a healthy diet and good amount of exercise is also fun and much better for them. Obesity in corgis can cause:

 

- Breathing  Problems 

- IVDD

- Heart Disease

- Skin and coat problems

- Arthritis

- Reduced Activity

- Short lifespan

Thank you for reading our corgi health page we will do our best to keep up to date on any new health concerns that develop in our breeds and we are always happy to answer any questions you still have or that we didn't cover on this page. 

 

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