Any dog can develop illnesses threatening his ability to interact with human companions. The corgi, while generally healthy, can develop a couple unique disorders that are better known in advance rather than presented as a surprise in the form of expensive veterinary care.
Von Willebrand's Disease
This genetically linked disorder prevents effective blood clotting when the dog is injured or undergoes surgery. Its severity ranges from mild cases, in which bleeding is difficult to control but can be managed under proper veterinary care, to cases in which it is nearly impossible to stop bleeding because the dog's blood platelets do not have clotting capabilities. Genetic testing is available to identify risk factors prior to any surgical procedures. Veterinarians do have a series of medications to control bleeding but these must be administered prior to surgery.
Urinary Tract Stones
This breed is highly prone to urinary tract stones. These stones cause extreme pain for the dog when he attempts to pass them. Because these stones can tear the lining of the urinary tract system, one of the first and most common symptoms is the presence of fresh blood in urine. A dog with this symptom should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Other symptoms displayed by a dog with urinary tract stones or even worse, a blocked urinary tract system, include frequent urination, especially in places where the dog usually does not go, struggling to urinate, weakness, vomiting and a general sense of lethargy.
This affects the dog's spine: chemical changes within the dog's skeletal system cause one or more of the intervertebral disks to become mineralized and weakened. This causes pain and challenges the dog's ability to walk without stumbling. it also can cause severe neck pain and paralysis. Pain medications are available, as well as steroid-based treatments aimed at treating the inflammation between the spinal disks.
Known in veterinary circles as hip dysplasia, this is a genetically linked disorder in which the head of the femur bone does not properly fit into the hip socket. It often develops during puppyhood but does not become an expressed problem until adulthood, after several years of arthritic development have occurred. Breeders are tracking bloodlines known to display the disorder and working toward eliminating it from the genetic pool. When purchasing a puppy, ask the breeder for specific information regarding this disorder within the breeding stock. Dealing with this ailment later in your dog's life is time-consuming and expensive.
Again, this disorder has a more technical term used in diagnosis by veterinarians: progressive retinal atrophy. It is a gradual degradation of the retina's ability to process light. It is first noticeable at night when less light is available, and eventually affects daytime vision as well, eventually leading to complete blindness. The condition cannot be treated, only accommodated.
Any experienced breeder should be able to present you with a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals proving that her breeding stock has been tested and cleared for genetic orthopedic related disorders. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation also offers similar services.
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.