Bloodhound - Health Characteristics

Lifespan

Bloodhounds in a 2004 United Kingdom Kennel Club survey had a median longevity of seven years, which makes them one of the shortest-lived dog breeds. The leading cause of death was GDV, which killed 34 percent of the dogs. This percentage of dogs dying of bloat is among the highest of all dog breeds and far higher than for dogs in general.

The second leading cause of death in Bloodhounds was cancer, at 27 percent. The percentage of cancer deaths is similar to other breeds but, in Bloodhounds, cancer kills at an unusually young age, a median of about eight years.

Common Health Problems

Compared to other purebred dogs, Bloodhounds have an unusually high rate of gastrointestinal ailments, with gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV, bloat, or torsion) being the most common type of gastrointestinal problem. Owners should be especially aware of the signs of GDV, which is both the most common illness and the leading cause of death of Bloodhounds.

They also have an unusually high incidence of eye, skin and ear ailments. Eyes, ears and skin should be inspected frequently for signs of developing problems.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Bloodhound owners should take special note of the extremely high incidence of GDV in this breed. Excess gas trapped in the dog's stomach causes 'bloat'. Twisting of the stomach is caused by excess gas. Symptoms include restlessness, inability to get comfortable, pacing or retching without being able to bring up anything. The dog's abdomen may be visibly swollen but dogs can suffer from bloat or torsion without visible swelling.

GDV is a dire emergency condition. If a dog is suspected of bloating, do not wait to see if he improves. A dog with GDV requires immediate veterinary care. The dog's survival usually depends on whether the owner can get him to the vet in time.


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