Common Diseases in a Husky

by Louise Lawson, Demand Media
    Pay attention to your husky's health.

    Pay attention to your husky's health.

    The beauty, grace and power of the Siberian husky does not make him immune to disease. Some illnesses are detectable at birth, while others creep in with old age. Routine checkups and a keen eye for anything unusual can mean the difference between life and death for your pooch.

    Eye Diseases

    If your pooches peepers are looking a little less than bright, she might have some form of eye disease. Cataracts are commonly seen in older dogs, but husky pups are prone to them between the ages of 6 and 18 months. If your husky blinks frequently, turns his head sideways and has white spots on his eyes where there should be no white, he might have cataracts. Dry eye is another problem common in these playful dogs. Huskies with dry eye don’t produce enough tears, and can have thick, goopy discharge around the eye. Your vet will perform a quick test and, if your dog has dry eye, you’ll have to apply medicine to the dog’s eyes every day.

    Joint and Movement Issues

    Degenerative myelopathy is one of the most common, and most serious, diseases in this breed. If your pooch stumbles, falls down or walks like he's drunk, he might have DE. Huskies develop DE more than any other breed, and your vet can perform a DNA test to see if your pooch is at risk. The DNA test determines whether the genes that control the development of the condition are normal or mutated. Arthritis is also common in huskies. It is a degenerative disease and gets worse as your once perky pup passes into his twilight years, but there are supplements and medications to keep your husky playful and pain-free.

    Skin Diseases

    If your husky has red, crusty spots on his skin, he might be suffering from zinc-responsive dermatosis. Your pooch's intestines might not soak up enough nutrients, and these lesions crop up as a result of low zinc levels. Dogs with this condition will have lackluskter coats, brittle nails and can look half-starved, even if they eat like horses. Your vet will draw a little blood from your pooch and might suggest a diet change and a supplement to boost his zinc levels.

    Cancer

    The mere mention of the word cancer is enough to frighten even the most steadfast dog lover. A study conducted by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association found that 31 percent of all Siberian husky deaths in the trial were from cancer. Huskies are particularly prone to basal cell tumors, sebaceous and anal gland tumors. Early detection is the best way to bust cancer, and you should run your hands over your dog frequently to check for unusual lumps. Cancer might seem like a life sentence, but with surgical removal and chemotherapy, your husky can live a longer, healthier life.

    About the Author

    Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

    Photo Credits

    • Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images