17 Most Common Pit Bull Health Issues By Data
Despite the many controversies surrounding Pit bulls, there is no denying the fact that some people are in love with this special breed of dog.
With Pit bulls making up almost 20% of the total number of dogs in the USA ie about 4.5million pitbulls, there is no gain saying that you may likely own one.
if you owe a pitbull or are thinking of getting one, then it is important to know a lot of things about this controversial dog breeds especially if you are thinking of getting one.
One of them are the common health problems in Pitbulls as seen in this survey.
As a breed, Pit bulls are not immune to diseases. Even though a pit bull can have long and healthy life (a life span of around 12years on the average), they are still sucesptible to illness and diseases.
In this article, we will look at the common health challenges that Pit bulls face, what triggers it and how to prevent or completely eradicate it.
What Is A Pit Bull Breed
Pit bulls are descended from bulldogs and terriers. They were bred in England in the 19th century for the purpose of bull-baiting and dog fighting.
Although these activities are now illegal, the breeding of pit bulls to be strong and athletic continues today.
As a result, pit bulls have a muscular body structure and a wide head with a short muzzle. They are also known for their loyalty and strong sense of protection.
Pit bulls are generally friendly and affectionate dogs, but they can be aggressive if not properly trained and socialized. They are also very intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tasks.
Pit bulls are often used as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs.
The Pit bull terrier breeds includes the american pit bull terrier, the american staffordshire terrier breeds and other breed. It is important to note that not all pitbull breeds are registered by the United Kennel Club.
Top 5 Common Pitbulls Health Problems
- Skin Allergies
- Hip Dysplasia
- Demodetic Mange
- Healthworm Disease
- Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
1: Skin allergies:
Skin infections are common in pitbulls, and they can be caused by a number of factors, such as flea or food allergies, contact allergies, or atopic dermatitis. Symptoms of skin infections include itching, scratching, and redness of the skin.
To prevent skin allergies, make sure to keep your pitbull clean and groomed, and avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps that could irritate their skin. Regular flea and tick prevention is also important to prevent flea allergies.
How to Treat Skin Allergies:
If your pitbull does develop skin diseases, treatment may involve identifying and removing the allergen. Medication such as antihistamines or corticosteroids to relieve symptoms, and topical treatments such as shampoos or creams to soothe the skin may also be recommended to prevent other skin diseases.
2: Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects the hip joint especially the hind legs, causing the ball and socket joint to not fit together properly. This can cause pain and inflammation, and can eventually lead to arthritis and mobility issues plus a whole lot of other knee problems.
To prevent hip dysplasia, it is important to only breed pitbulls with healthy hips and to avoid overfeeding them to prevent excessive weight gain, which can put extra stress on the hip joints.
How to Treat Hip Dysplasia:
If your pitbull does develop hip dysplasia, treatment may involve arthritis medication, pain management, exercise modification, and possibly hip surgery in severe cases.
3: Demodectic Mange
Demodectic mange is a skin condition caused by mites that live in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin. Common signs include hair loss, itching, and redness.
To prevent demodectic mange, it is important to keep your pitbull clean and groomed, and to avoid exposing them to other dogs who may have the condition. Regular vet check-ups can also help to catch the condition early.
How to Treat Demodectic Mange:
If your pitbull does develop demodectic mange, treatment may involve medication such as antiparasitics or antibiotics to eliminate the mites and reduce inflammation, as well as topical treatments to soothe the skin.
4: Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm that is spread by mosquitoes. The worm lives in the heart and lungs, causing damage and potentially leading to heart failure and death if left untreated.
To prevent heartworm disease, it is important to administer a monthly heartworm preventive medication, which can be prescribed by your veterinarian.
Treatment for Heatworm Disease:
If your pitbull does develop heartworm disease, treatment may involve medication to kill the worms, as well as management of any associated symptoms and damage to the heart and lungs. Prevention is much easier and less expensive than treatment, so it is important to be vigilant about administering heartworm preventives.
5: Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
Brachycephalic airway syndrome is a condition that affects dogs with short snouts, such as pitbulls. It can cause difficulty breathing, especially during exercise or in hot weather, and can lead to respiratory distress.
To prevent brachycephalic airway syndrome, it is important to avoid breeding dogs with extreme brachycephalic features, and to avoid excessive exercise or exposure to hot weather.
How to Treat Brachycephalic Airway:
If your pitbull does develop brachycephalic airway syndrome, treatment may involve lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and exercise restriction, as well as medication to manage symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct structural abnormalities in the airway.
6: Heart Disease:
Heart disease can affect the heart muscle, valves, and blood vessels. Symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, and lethargy.
Preventing heart disease involves regular check-ups, a healthy diet, exercise, and avoiding smoking.
How to Treat Heart Disease:
Treatment options depend on the specific type of heart disease and may include medication, surgery, or lifestyle changes.
Obesity in pitbulls can lead to various health problems such as joint issues, diabetes, and respiratory issues.
To prevent obesity, it is important to provide a healthy diet and regular exercise.
How to Treat Obesity:
Avoid overfeeding and giving high-calorie treats.
Cancer can affect various parts of a pitbull’s body, including the lymph nodes, organs and even skin cancer.
Early diagnosis is critical, so it is important to schedule regular check-ups and report any unusual symptoms to your veterinarian.
How to Treat Cancer:
Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
9: Cerebellar Ataxia:
Cerebellar ataxia is a genetic neurological condition that affects a pitbull’s ability to coordinate movements. It may cause unsteadiness, lack of balance, and difficulty walking.
There is no cure for cerebellar ataxia, but physical therapy and supportive care can help manage symptoms.
Cataracts are a common eye condition in pitbulls, and they can cause cloudiness and vision impairment.
To prevent cataracts, it is important to provide a healthy diet with essential vitamins and antioxidants.
How to Treat Cataracts:
Treatment may involve surgery to remove the cataracts.
Ichthyosis is a rare skin disorder that causes dry, scaly, and thickened skin. It can lead to infections and discomfort.
There is no cure for ichthyosis, but it can be managed with topical treatments to moisturize and soften the skin.
12: Gastric Dilatation:
Gastric dilatation, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. Symptoms include abdominal pain, restlessness, and difficulty breathing.
To prevent gastric dilatation, it is important to feed pitbulls smaller, frequent meals and avoid vigorous exercise after eating.
How to Treat Gastic Dilatation:
Immediate veterinary attention is necessary if your pitbull shows signs of bloat.
Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, is common in pitbulls.
Symptoms may include weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.
Treatment involves hormone replacement therapy
14: Patella Luxation:
Patella luxation occurs when the kneecap dislocates from its normal position. Symptoms include limping and reluctance to bear weight on the affected leg.
To prevent patella luxation, it is important to provide a healthy diet and avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, which can contribute to joint problems.
Treatment may involve surgery to correct the problem.
15: Dental Disease:
Dental disease can cause pain, bad breath, and tooth loss.
To prevent dental disease, it is important to provide dental hygiene, such as brushing their teeth regularly, and providing dental chews or toys.
How to Treat Dental Disease:
Treatment options may include professional cleaning, tooth extraction, and antibiotics.
16: Ear Infections:
Frequent Ear infections are common in pitbulls due to their floppy ears. Symptoms may include head shaking, scratching at the ears, and foul odor.
To prevent ear infections, it is important to clean the ears regularly and keep them dry.
How to Treat Ear Infection:
Treatment may involve cleaning the ears and administering medication such as antibiotics.
17: Cleft Lip: Cleft lip is a congenital condition where there is a split or gap in the upper lip.
How to Treat Cleft Lip:
Treatment may involve surgery to repair the lip, but sometimes no treatment is needed if the cleft is small.
Strategies for Keeping Your Pit Bull Healthy
The best way to keep your pit bull healthy is to provide them with proper nutrition, regular exercise, plenty of fresh water, vaccinations and parasite prevention medications. Also Regular visits to the veterinarian for check-ups can help spot any disease or illness faster.
Consulting a Veterinarian
If you have any questions or concerns about your pit bull’s health or behaviour, it is important to seek advice from a qualified veterinarian.
Your vet will be able to provide you with information about the best strategies for keeping your pet healthy and happy.
There you have it. A list of pit bull health problems. As a pet owner if you have health concerns, it is recommended to visit your vet immediately.
Ryan is a service dog puppy raiser/trainer and founder of The Pit Bull Center, a dedicated Pitbull blog that has been visited by tens of millions of people since its inception.