Thinking about adopting a new dog?
Most people know that before you begin the adoption process it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about the type of dog you're interested in, common behaviors associated with the breed, and its temperament and energy level.* But have you ever considered looking in to which type of diseases are more likely to occur with particular breeds?
I like the occasional hike but am definitely not a runner, so the idea of adopting a high-energy Jack Russell Terrier didn't make sense for me. My husband felt the same way; he wanted a dog that he could walk around the neighborhood but would also be content to snooze in his office or out by the pool. Harry (pictured above) was exactly what we were hoping to find: flexible and easy-going, fun-loving, and happy to just hang out.
When we adopted him, Harry was having seizures on a weekly basis, but they were mostly controlled with medications. In spite of his seniority (eight years old) and medical issues, we worked tirelessly with our vet to find the magic cocktail of drugs that would treat his seizures. Eventually, all medications stopped working. It was only when his behavior (and personality) suddenly changed, i.e. circling the dining room table, pressing his head against the wall, and pacing, that he was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor.
After Harry's passing I learned of the Cambridge website and searchable database, and found in it that Boxer's (Harry was half Boxer) are prone to brain tumors. If we had known this earlier would it have changed the outcome? Probably not. Would it have changed Harry's suffering? Perhaps...and this is the part that holds potential to haunt. But I share this site in the hope that it helps to educate you about the potential diseases associated with the breed of dog you bring in to your home and family and, ultimately, how this information may help to keep your loved one healthy and happy for as long as possible.
Learn more about breed-specific diseases and perform your own search of the Cambridge database here:
*Dogs, like humans, are complex creatures with individual personalities; breed norms do not always correspond with your particular member of that breed!