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Beagle Health Issues: 5 Typical Concerns to Look Out For

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By Chelsea Mortensen

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Beagles are a relatively healthy breed, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have perfect health. Dogs can be affected by any number of conditions, and like all breeds, there are a few that Beagles are more prone to. Some health conditions are minor and easy to control, while others can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Here are five health problems that often affect Beagles so that you can know what to watch for in your pup.

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The Top 5 Health Concerns For Beagles

1. Allergies

Allergies are relatively common in all breeds of dogs, but certain types of allergies are more likely to be found in Beagles. Many Beagles have a genetic predisposition towards allergies to pollen, dust mites, and mildew spores. The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs are itchy skin, redness, and dryness. Depending on the dog, these symptoms may be mild or severe, but they usually develop somewhere between six months and three years of age.

Prevention and Treatment

Because allergies have a strong genetic component, there’s little you can do to stop your dog from developing allergies. However, you can minimize inhalant allergies by removing allergens through cleaning and air filters and contact allergies by wiping down with a damp cloth. Drugs such as antihistamines can also help manage allergy symptoms, especially seasonal allergies. There are several recent medical developments in allergy care so be sure to check your options with your veterinarian.

Beagle dog scratching body on green grass outdoor in the yard
Image Credit: Kobkik, Shutterstock

2. Cherry Eye

Did you know that dogs actually have three eyelids per eye? Underneath the normal top and bottom lids, dogs actually have a third lid that extends outward from the inner corner of the eye. Normally, this lid is barely visible in day-to-day life. But in some breeds of dogs, including Beagles, the third eyelid gland sometimes prolapses and becomes inflamed, called cherry-eye. Cherry-eye will be visible as a reddish or pinkish mass on the inside corner of the eye. This isn’t usually painful on its own, but it can cause problems such as infection, dry eye, and corneal ulcers.

Prevention and Treatment

Cherry eye is believed to have genetic components and can’t be prevented. It is treatable by surgery. Surgery will help reconstruct the eyelid and move the tear glands back into place.

3. Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition caused by an unstable kneecap that has a tendency to shift sideways. This often causes pain, limping, and bowleggedness or unnatural posture. These symptoms might come and go, appearing suddenly and then disappearing as the kneecap slips back into place. This disease is slightly more common in Beagles than in most breeds.

Prevention and Treatment

Patellar luxation is caused by genetic factors, but it can be exacerbated by obesity and exercise that is hard on joints. Dogs with Patellar Luxation shouldn’t be used in breeding to promote a healthy breed. If your dog does suffer from this condition, a combination of medication and physiotherapy exercise can help manage it. In severe cases, surgery can be used to treat Patellar Luxation.

4. Hypothyroidism

One of the most common breed-specific issues in beagles is hypothyroidism or insufficient thyroid hormone production. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, lethargy, skin problems, a lowered immune system, and a host of other problems if left untreated. It can be diagnosed via a blood test.

Prevention and Treatment

Hypothyroidism can be treated through tablets containing man-made thyroid hormones. These are usually given daily, and some adjustments may be needed to find the correct dose over time. However, when dosed correctly this can reverse most of the effects of hypothyroidism and lead to a good quality of life.

Sick Beagle
Image Credit: Nick115, Pixabay

5. Idiopathic Epilepsy

Beagles are known to have a tendency toward epileptic seizures. In the majority of cases, these seizures are idiopathic, meaning that they have no known cause. There is great individual variation in severity of epilepsy and response to medication. Common signs that your Beagle is having a seizure include freezing or staring into space, unresponsiveness, drooling, odd movements, fainting, rigid or paddling limbs, and falling to the ground.

Prevention and Treatment

If your Beagle has a seizure, it’s important to bring them to the vet for a check up. This will help your vet rule out other causes of seizures. If no underlying cause is found and seizures occur regularly, medications may be prescribed. A seizure that has not stopped approaching 4 minutes is a medical emergency and you should call your vet and head straight to them.  Most seizures will stop within 1-2 minutes.

a cute Beagle puppy eating at home
Image By: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Last Thoughts

Beagle health problems can range from minor to life-threatening. Each of the conditions on this list are relatively rare, but it is worth knowing what to look out for when you own one of these beautiful dogs. Dogs are like family members, and we want to treat them with as much love as we can. This means being aware of any health issues early on.

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Featured Image Credit: Beach Creatives, Shutterstock

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