So you want a Dalmatian at your side. You like his intelligent, outgoing nature, and you look forward to jogging with your spotted dog. He is a sweetheart. Like others, the breed is prone to some diseases, but your care and attention can minimize health issues.
Dalmatians are genetically prone to deafness. About 10 percent are born totally deaf, and another 20 percent are deaf in one ear. The BAER test, given to puppies about 6 weeks old, determines their unilateral or bilateral deafness. Don’t overlook a good-tempered Dalmatian just because he is deaf. With care and training, your Dalmatian can lead an active dog’s life. He does not know he is missing anything; his nose and eyes interpret the world for him.
The Dalmatian breed tends to have high uric acid levels. This can cause kidney stones and other urinary tract problems. Dalmatians account for 80 percent of canine uric acid bladder stones. Though your dog may never develop stones, be aware that males are more likely to have the problem than females, perhaps due to the male’s more complicated urinary system. Your vet can test your dog’s urine regularly for signs of trouble. If your dog does show indications of urinary problems, your vet can give you the latest information on treatment and proper diet to manage this disease.
If your long-legged running companion shows signs of hip pain, he may have inherited hip dysplasia, a form of progressive hip joint degeneration that is prevalent in many breeds. The ball and socket of the joint are not a good fit, and with wear and tear they can cause arthritis and lameness. X-ray screening can determine whether your Dalmatian has hip dysplasia. Sometimes dogs with severe hip dysplasia do not show pain, while other dogs with a mild case may be lame. The disease is aggravated by too much weight, jumping up and down from heights, and hip-jolting activities. Keep your pal active, and manage his weight. If he has hip problems, anti-inflammatory medication and supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may ease the pain and keep joints mobile. Consult with your vet for other measures that may help.
When his beautiful spotted coat is marred by hives or bumps, intense scratching or hot spots, your boy probably has allergies. Dalmatians, like many other dogs, may suffer allergies from inhaled irritants such as pollen or molds, food allergens, parasite reactions or contact with chemicals or synthetic materials. Eliminating the irritant is the best solution. Work with your veterinarian to determine what sets off your pal's allergies. Your vet may suggest antihistamines in conjunction with fatty acids to help reduce skin irritations and infections. The synergistic effect supports his skin and body health. Plus it makes his spotted coat shine.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.