The Disorders of Corgis

Corgis may suffer from several genetic disorders.
i corgi image by Cindy Haggerty from

Corgis are small, short-legged dogs with long backs. Their long spines and their body structure predispose Corgis to spine and hip disorders, conditions that you can often prevent or minimize by maintaining your Corgi's healthy weight. In addition to hip ailments, Corgis are prone to some genetic disorders.

Von Willebrand's Disease

Corgis are prone to a genetic bleeding disease called von Willebrand's disease. Corgis with this disorder will fail to clot; they bleed excessively when they are injured or undergo surgery. They are also prone to nosebleeds and bleeding gums. Most Corgis have Type I von Willebrand's disease, a milder form than Types II and III.

Von Willebrand's disease is caused by low levels of von Willebrand factor, which plays a vital role in blood clotting. The disease is diagnosed with genetic testing and tests to measure levels of von Willebrand's factor. Currently, no cure exists for von Willebrand's disease. If you Corgi is diagnosed with the disorder, you can manage the disease by applying pressure to control bleeding and via transfusions of von Willebrand's factor.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease affecting the spinal cord of older Corgis. While the exact cause is unknown, a genetic link is suspected, according to Welsh Corgi News. At the onset of the disease, Corgis show a lack of coordination in the hind limbs. As the disease progresses, a Corgi will become weaker and eventually will be unable to stand or walk.

Degenerative myelopathy is diagnosed by ruling out all other causes of weakness, such as herniated discs and spinal infections. Currently, no treatments are available for degenerative myelopathy.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary condition common in Corgis. This disease causes your Corgi to go blind. Some of the first symptoms include dilated pupils, shiny eyes and night blindness. Your veterinarian will diagnose the disease during a ophthalmological exam.

No cure or treatment is available for progressive retinal atrophy. However, according to Animal Eye Care, supplemental antioxidants may help to slow the progression of the disease.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral disc disease occurs commonly in long-backed dogs when the discs between the vertebrae rupture or slip, causing them to press on the spinal cord. When this occurs, your dog may suddenly refuse to move or eat, or he may hunch his back or drag his back feet.

In mild cases, medication and rest will allow the spine to heal and your dog to recover. However, in severe cases surgery is required to remove the ruptured disc.

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.

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