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10 Common Health Problems in Basset Hounds to Be Aware Of

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Basset Hound lying down on the grass

10 Common Health Problems in Basset Hounds to Be Aware Of

Basset Hounds are one of the most adorable dog breeds around. With their long ears, sad eyes, and baying howls, it’s easy to see how they can wiggle their way into our hearts. Unfortunately, however, as with any pet, Basset Hounds do face certain health problems due to their breed. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common of these health problems so you can better understand what your Basset Hound may face. This will help you watch for signs of issues and have a better understanding of what’s happening with your faithful companion.

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The 10 Common Health Problems in Basset Hounds

1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Basset Hounds are short dogs with oddly shaped legs. This classifies them as dwarfs and makes them more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.1 Hip dysplasia occurs when a dog’s hip joint is formed abnormally making the ball and joint not fit together correctly. Elbow dysplasia stems from the closure of the elbow joint being abnormally formed. Both of these issues can cause difficulty walking and a lot of pain for a dog. Normally, hip and elbow dysplasia is hereditary but weight and lack of physical exercise can also be factors.

Signs of hip and elbow dysplasia include:
  • Limping
  • Pain when walking
  • No interest in exercise
  • Difficulties when lying down or getting back up
  • Leg lameness
Image By: Daniel Myjones, Shutterstock

2. Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

Osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD, occurs most often in Basset Hound puppies who are overfed. When this happens, the puppies often grow too much which causes their joint cartilage to be too thick. Thick cartilage cannot attach to bones as well. OCD can also be a hereditary condition for some pups.

Signs of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD):
  • Severe pain
  • Lameness
  • Issues become more noticeable after exercise

3. Thrombopathia

Thrombopathia is a bleeding disorder that affects Basset Hounds. When suffering from these types of disorders, a Basset Hound’s platelets do not work to clot blood properly. This means small injuries or even bleeding gums can become a severe issue. Often, thrombopathia isn’t found until a trauma occurs or surgery is needed. However, it is considered one of the most dangerous issues a Basset Hound can suffer from.

Signs of thrombopathia:
  • Nose bleeds
  • Difficulty when healing from wounds
  • Bleeding from mucous membranes
  • Bleeding from the ears
  • Bruising
Basset Hound
Image By: Maria Symchych, Shutterstock

4. Wobbler Syndrome

This condition is a neurological disorder that combines chronic degenerative disorders that affects the discs in the neck. Often caused by genetic disposition, wobbler syndrome causes excessive compression to the spinal column and nerves in the neck. This disorder can also present itself after a dog has suffered from heavy trauma that damages the intervertebral discs. It is named Wobbler Syndrome due to the wobbly gait it causes in dogs.

Signs of wobbler syndrome:
  • Strange or wobbly gait
  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Signs of paralysis

5. Seborrhea

Seborrhea is an inherited disease in Basset Hounds that can affect the skin. This disorder causes the body to produce too much sebum, which is used to create a protective coat of oil for the skin. This type of skin issue is often noticed when a Basset Hound matures and the body begins producing more hormones. Seborrhea can also be a secondary symptom to other issues your Basset Hound may suffer from such as allergies or skin cancers.

Signs of seborrhea:
  • Scabs or crusts on the skin
  • Oily skin
  • Pungent odor
Basset Hound
Image By: Ernest_Roy, Pixabay

6. Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral disc disease or IVDD is one of the most common health issues in Basset Hounds. This is due to the breed’s shape. This spinal disorder is caused by the wearing out or herniating of the soft cartilage found between the spine’s vertebrae. Compression on the spinal cord is the result. The discomfort suffered by a Basset Hound will be determined by how severe the compression is on the spinal cord.

Signs of intervertebral disc disease:
  • Pain or hypersensitivity
  • Problems walking
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to lift hind legs or limb paralysis
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of activity

7. Gastric Torsion

Gastric torsion, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus or bloat, is a dangerous, potentially deadly condition many deep-chested dog breeds, like the Basset Hound, are prone to experience, as it can be a genetic condition. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with food, fluid, or gas and then expands. This puts pressure on other organs, and in some cases, can cause the stomach to turn or flip. Untreated gastric torsion can be deadly.

Signs of gastric torsion:
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unproductive vomiting
  • Weakness
Basset Hound
Image By: Bill Anastasiou, Shutterstock

8. Entropion

Entropion is a condition that affects a Basset Hound’s eyelids. The dog’s eyelids are slightly malformed and bend inward. The bend can be severe enough to cause a connection with the eye. The eyelashes then rub the eye causing severe pain, redness and even scarring. With severe cases of entropion, surgery is required. More mild cases can be treated at home with eye drops.

Signs of entropion:
  • Redness of the eye
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Eye discharge
  • Pain

9. Ectropion

Ectropion is the opposite of entropion. Instead of the eyelid bending inward, it goes outward. This increases a Basset Hound’s chances of eye infections and irritations as the eye is more exposed. Often, ectropion is caused by loose skin around a dog’s face.

Signs of ectropion:
  • Sagging of the eyelid
  • Discharge
  • Tears
  • Staining of the fur beneath the eye
basset hound sitting in grass
Image By: Sebastian Molina Bullrich, Pixabay

10. Obesity

Obesity in Basset Hounds is fairly common. Unfortunately, it can also be very dangerous. Basset Hounds love food, but too much weight on their frames can cause major issues with their spines and joints while also leading to other life-threatening diseases. To avoid having too much weight on a Basset Hound it is best to follow the diet recommended by their veterinarian and ensure they get the proper amount of exercise.

Signs of obesity:
  • Physical changes (weighted appearance)
  • Decreased activity
  • Heavy breathing

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While there are several health issues your Basset Hound could face throughout their lifetime, these are the most common ones. Some health issues are inherited. But to help keep your Basset Hound happy and healthy throughout their lives, take them for their annual veterinarian checkups. Routine health visits are the best way to keep track of your Basset’s health and any problems they may be developing. If you see any signs of issues, immediately contact your veterinarian for assistance.

Featured Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

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