As with any breed of dog, Vizslas are prone to a variety of health problems and issues, some of which are hereditary. The breed was used in developing other types of dogs including Wirehaired Vizslas, Weimaraners, and German Shorthaired Pointers. In an attempt to preserve the Vizsla, some inbreeding occurred which resulted in a number of health issues for the breed.
Most Common Vizsla Health Problems
The most common health conditions Vizslas are prone to include bleeding disorders, canine epilepsy, bone and joint disorders, dental disease, various infections, obesity, parasites, and a number of eye problems. Additionally, the breed is subject to some food and plant allergies.
Bleeding Disorders in Vizslas
Dogs can inherit a variety of bleeding disorders that range in severity. Vizslas are prone to a few relatively rare blood diseases including hypofibrinogenemia and canine Von Willebrand’s disease. A dog will often seem normal and healthy until they have a serious injury or surgery and experience severe bleeding.
Epilepsy in Vizslas
It is not uncommon for Vizslas to inherit epilepsy, which causes seizures. Seizures can be a result of a brain tumor, stroke, trauma, or the brain’s reaction to a metabolic problem.
Bone & Joint Disorders in Vizslas
Vizslas are also prone to a number of musculoskeletal issues such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy, osteochondritis dissecans, and canine panosteitis. Fortunately, each of these conditions can be diagnosed and treated to prevent pain and suffering.
Dental Disease in Vizslas
Dental disease is very common in all dogs and unfortunately, Vizslas are more likely than other breeds to develop the condition. Gum disease occurs when tartar builds up on the teeth and begins to infect the gums and roots of the teeth. If it’s not prevented or treated, your Vizsla may lose his teeth. Additionally, when bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream, dogs are at risk for damaging their liver, kidneys, and heart.
Infections in Vizslas
Vizslas are subject to bacterial and viral infections including parvo, rabies, and distemper, which all dogs can get. The good news is that most viral infections can be prevented with vaccinations.
Obesity in Vizslas
Another common health problem in Vizslas is obesity. The condition should be taken seriously as it can create or worsen joint problems as well as cause metabolic disorders, heart disease, and back pain.
Although it’s tempting to feed your dog scraps of food from the table and extra doggie treats, it’s important to never overfeed your pet.
Parasites in Vizslas
Like most dogs, Vizslas are at risk for a number of parasites invading their body or coat. Fleas, ticks, and ear mites can infest their skin and ears.
If your dog drinks dirty water, plays in contaminated mud, or gets bitten by an infected mosquito, he may get worms. Some parasites can be transferred to humans, so the condition is a serious concern for your whole household. You can get your Vizsla tested for parasites on a regular basis and use preventative medication to try to avoid it all together.
Eye Problems in Vizslas
Vizslas are prone to inheriting or developing some eye conditions including glaucoma, canine cataracts, distichiasis, and canine entropion. Some of these diseases can cause extreme pain, impaired vision, or even blindness if they are not treated in a timely manner. It’s important to have your dog’s eyes checked regularly and always be on the lookout for infection.
Proper Breeding of Vizslas
Since many of the most common health conditions in Vizslas are genetic, they can be prevented with proper breeding. Most of these diseases are not detectable in puppies, so it can be hard to predict whether a Vizsla will be susceptible to developing them later in life.
Because of this, it’s important to find a reputable Vizsla breeder that is committed to breeding healthy dogs. Breeders should be able to show certifications indicating that the parents and grandparents of a puppy have been screened for various genetic conditions.
Keeping Your Vizsla Healthy
If you’re aware of the potential health concerns of the Vizsla breed, you’ll be able to prevent or avoid some of them occurring later on in life. In addition to adopting from a reputable breeder, making sure your dog gets proper vaccinations, high-quality nutrition, and adequate exercise.