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Health Issues in Shibas

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Tsuki, Kit,- Kiba &- Buckley

inubakablog.com
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 12:32pm PST 
pedigreedogsexposed.blogspot.com/2011/03/shiba-inu-scratching-surfac e.html

This post over on Pedigree Dog's Exposed blog got me thinking...

What are the common health issues we see in shibas?
- Do you know if these issues are genetic or environmental or age related?
- Did a vet diagnose or did you?

Did you know they were prone to this going in?
- Did you check the Breed Club site before you bought/adopted your shiba?
- Did your breeder discuss this with you?
- Did the rescue discuss it with you?

If you knew now what you knew then about their health, would you still have bought a shiba inu?

Do you think certain ailments/issues will alter your Shiba's temperament/activity level/life span?

Edited by author Wed Mar 9, '11 12:33pm PST

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Tsuki, Kit,- Kiba &- Buckley

inubakablog.com
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 12:51pm PST 
I'll go first.

Common health issues I've seen in my own & foster shibas:
ALLERGIES (big time), inguinal hernias, Luxating Patella, Spinning, Glaucoma & Cataracts.

*I assume that allergies and all related skin conditions from allergies are a combination genetic predisposition & environmental.
Tsuki's are to food and inhaled mold/dust.

*Luxating Patella I assume is totally genetic, as there are knee tests breeding dogs can have done.

*Spinning, I'm not sure about. Hachi spins. She also fly bites, so if its seizures it could very well be genetic.

*Glaucoma & Cataracts, combination genetics and old age... can't say for certain as Rudy was my only experience with these.

The breed club mentions all these here:
http://www.shibas.org/health.html

Since I bought Tsuki from a 'bad breeder', obviously there was no discussion about these things. Tsuki was born with hernias and almost no teeth, too. Kitsu was from a rescue and I traced his purchase to that of the infamous New Jersey breeder. I knock on wood every day that he only has behavioral stuff (social phobias) and not health issues, yet. Hachi also came from this NJ breeder.
All other shibas were rescues of unknown origin.

I wish I knew more about the allergy issues before I got into Shibas. I didn't do ample research. I wouldn't have not gotten into them, but I would have been more prepared for the seasonal nightmare that is inhalant allergies.
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Hamlet

Is it a fox?
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 1:05pm PST 
What are the common health issues we see in shibas?
- Do you know if these issues are genetic or environmental or age related?
- Did a vet diagnose or did you?

Response: The major players as far as health in Shibas are patellar luxation, glaucoma, allergic/non-specified dermatitis, hip dysplasia. Some incidence of IBD seems to be reported among owners right now, so that might be an additional concern. These are largely genetic issues, although I suspect the dermatitis has an environmental component as well.

Currently, Hamlet has no health issues. He had a brief episode of a dermatitis-like infection on his face that turned out to be demodectic mange, fairly common in puppies of all breeds. This cleared up before a year of age and has not recurred. His patellas were excellent at his most recent check up (three weeks ago)and most patellar issues will surface by 1 to 1.5 years of age.

Did you know they were prone to this going in?
- Did you check the Breed Club site before you bought/adopted your shiba?
- Did your breeder discuss this with you?
- Did the rescue discuss it with you?

Response: Yes, I did extensive research on health issues and one of the reasons I picked a Shiba was that, in general, they appear to be fairly healthy dogs not prone to a large number of issues. I grew up with a Westie who had a terrible skin condition and was determined to do my research and pick a more genetically hardy breed. Our breeder was also upfront about health issues and screening.

If you knew now what you knew then about their health, would you still have bought a shiba inu?

Response: Yes, despite the issues in the breed, I still think they are one of the hardier purebreds out there.

Do you think certain ailments/issues will alter your Shiba's temperament/activity level/life span?

Response: Obviously, as Hamlet grows older, allergies are more likely to surface and other conditions can crop up. Glaucoma, for example, tends to appear after a few years of age rather than at the beginning of life. Whatever the conditions, however, I am confident (from what I've seen of elderly Shibas) that Hamlet will remain at a high quality of life and enjoy a good life span (God willing). Most elderly Shibas I have met seem very spry for older dogs and don't have the expanded decline of some dogs.
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Hamlet

Is it a fox?
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 1:19pm PST 
Hehe, see, compared to our Westie, Shibas seem to be so healthy! I guess I was overprepared party Dermatitis and losing all your fur, itching so much that you lick your paws until they are raw --- status quo!

I did read about spinning in one of Pat Doescher's column a week or two ago; I had never really heard about it before!
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Tsuki, Kit,- Kiba &- Buckley

inubakablog.com
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 1:54pm PST 
Speaking of Westies... one of my first experiences with dog allergies was after meeting a COMPLETELY NAKED Westie. No fur at all. It was bizarre. Sarcoptic mange + unknown allergy triggers = bald dog.
She was bought from a pet store and is now 16 years old, with all her fur, after years and years of steroid treatments.

So yeah, compared to that, shibas are hardier! We have to work to keep them that way though.
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Hamlet

Is it a fox?
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 9, '11 2:02pm PST 
Our childhood Westie came from a BYB (might have done some showing, but mostly hobby breeder) and her allergies cropped up at about 2 or 3 years of age. Lost ALL HER FUR. Little red skinned dog!!!!! Got steroids, baths, etc. Finally, my mom hit onto the right combo of meds (some human meds not officially approved for dogs, but okay'd by our vet) and diet (home-cooked), and all her hair grew back. When she passed away last spring at the age of 16, she was fully coated!

The saddest thing in the world for me, though, was when I'd hear her licking her paws late into the night when she was still so uncomfortable. I felt so awful for her, particularly when she got herself so raw that she bled. It was so sad. That's why I am so hyper aware of health issues and panicked when Hammy got mange. I still watch every one of his paw-licks and scratches like a hawk to make sure there aren't any problems cropping up.

Edited by author Wed Mar 9, '11 2:04pm PST

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Tesla

Bitsy Beast
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 11, '11 9:09am PST 
Ugh lost my post...let's see if I can remember it...

Yes, we knew about the health issues you already mentioned.

Yes, we did a lot of research, talked to a lot of breeders, talked to you guys.

We went with the best breeder we could find partially because I couldn't support any less, and partially in hopes of avoiding some of these health problems. Despite being enticed with many adorable puppies...including a pinto...I have a weakness for pintos...oh the heartbreak...

Mk has terrible allergies and has had scary life-threatening immune episodes in the past.

We try to prevent health and behavior problems with training, socialization, a good diet, etc.

We also try to make well informed medical decisions and do our research there. We spaced out T's puppy vaccs to avoid extra stress on her immune system. We're hoping to delay her spay until she's mature. Spay/neuter is associated with increased adverse vaccine reactions and increased risk of cranial cruciate ligament rupture, among many other things. (CCL is what holds the knee together.)

ETA: This is just one example of how environmental factors can play on genetic factors to increase/decrease a risk.

Edited by author Fri Mar 11, '11 9:11am PST

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Conker

OBEY ME!
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 11, '11 3:53pm PST 
I tend to do a LOT of research on a breed if I'm anywhere remotely inteested in it so yes, I knew about the Shiba's health issues. (My current obsession is the Rhodesian Ridgeback... *dies*)

What are the common health issues we see in Shibas?
- Do you know if these issues are genetic or environmental or age related?
- Did a vet diagnose or did you?

Allergies: Genetic and environmental, depending on what kind.
Glaucoma/cataracts: Age and genetics.
Luxating patella: Genetics mostly, but I've read about dogs developing it due to bad nutrition and poor joint management.
Vaccine reactions: Dunno if this is genetic, I don't think so since some vaccines have weird stuff in them.

Conker has food allergies to a few things. I talked to a vet about his allergies a while ago. The vet wanted to do a ton of expensive tests to determine the cause of what I saw happening (itchieness, loss of fur, constant scratching...) I switched his food completely and they vanished. I'm fine with my self diagnosis on that one.

I'm beginning to suspect LP in his right knee, maybe even the left too. He's "popped" it a few times while playing rough with other dogs. When that happens he carries it as if it were hurt but doesn't make any sound (no yelping or whining) and whenever I check it out he'd sit or something and it would pop back into place and off he'd go again as if nothing happened. If that ever happens and he makes a sound or it doesn't go back into place right away I'll take him to the vet and get it looked at but for now, I'm keeping a good eye on it.

Did you know they were prone to this going in?
- Did you check the Breed Club site before you bought/adopted your Shiba?
- Did your breeder discuss this with you?
- Did the rescue discuss it with you?

Yes, I knew about them going in. And no, no and no. I didn't talk to any breed clubs or visit their sites, I didn't get Conker from a breeder and the rescue I got him from was for all dogs, not just Shibas. They only told me about his stubbornness.

If you knew now what you knew then about their health, would you still have bought a Shiba Inu?

Yes. Shibas to me seemed like a much healthier breed than some of the other dogs I've previously been interested in.
I knew I was going to end up with one or more Shiba issues since I got Conker from a rescue instead of a breeder who does health checks. My guesses were allergies and LP, I really hope Conker doesn't develop anything worse than grade 2 if he's got it though.

Do you think certain ailments/issues will alter your Shiba's temperament/activity level/life span?

Eye problems might affect temperament, LP would definitely affect activity level if it were bad enough. Real bad allergies could affect life span if they got into something they were highly allergic to.
Other than that, no not really. If you're dedicated to keeping your Shiba healthy they should live a long happy life despite what conditions they may have.
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