the usual diseases that form part of the routine annual innoculations
( Leptospirosis, Rabies, Parvovirus, Kennel Cough, Distemper,
Hepatitis, Coronavirus, Worm control and Parainfluenza) the following
are the most common health issues that the Rhodesian Ridgeback
dysplasia is a common condition found in purebred dogs. When
a dog has hip dysplasia its hind leg has an incorrectly formed
hip joint. With use it becomes more loose. This
condition can only be confirmed with an x-ray but certain
symptoms may indicate a problem.
- hops instead of running smoothly
- uses hind legs in unison
- has trouble getting getting up
- sits with both legs together on one side of its body
A dog can adapt to life with a bad hip but usually arthritis
develops and many dogs become crippled. Hip dysplasia is
an inherited disease and is only confirmed when the dog is
between 18 months and 2 years. Following a special diet can
help but the usual treatment is the removal of the pectineus
muscle and the head of the femur. The pelvis then has
to be reconstructed and the hip replaced with an artificial
one. The degrees of hip dysplasia depends on the depth of
the socket and the roundness of the femur head. Surgical
hip replacements are not only costly but very painful for
the dog - It is far better to obtain your puppy from
a reputable breeder whose animals have been screened and
are totally free of this dreadful condition!
When comparing dogs born 1980 and earlier with those born
in 1991 and later, the frequency of hip dysplasia in Rhodesian
Ridgebacks has decreased considerably, so the stringent control
in place have shown an improvement.
Rhodesian Ridgeback (RR) puppies cannot be registered unless
both parent dogs are registered with KUSA and certified Hip
Dysplasia-free (i.e. HD00 or the more recent grading, A1,
A2 & B1). This has been LAW for RRs since January 1974
and observance thereof has resulted in the virtual eradication
of congenital hip-dysplasia amongst registered Rhodesian
This is a hereditory, degenerative joint disease
of the elbows which is very similar to hip dysplasia. The
condition causes lameness and oestearthritis if not treated
same statement applies to this condition as above - It
is far better to obtain your puppy from a reputable breeder whose
been screened and are totally free of this dreadful condition!
Currently, for registration, it is not compulsory to have Elbow-Dysplasia-free
(ED00) certificates for both parent dogs, but considering that
a dog carries 75% of its weight on the front legs and a RR is
a medium to large, heavy breed, some Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders
have voluntarily been x-raying elbows simultaneously with hips
the plates to the panel of scrutinisers for grading before using
their dogs for breeding.
This is an incomplete separation of the central nervous
sytem from the layer that will become the skin (ectoderm).
occurs in the embryo state and a microscopic tubule forms
so that the spinal cord is open to the outside. This
is detected at birth by raising the skin of the neck along
and running your fingers down both sides of the fold.
The tiny thread can be felt attaching the skin to the spinal
column. This may also occur in the midline at the base
of the tail. It becomes infected at a later stage and
has to be surgically removed. Vets hate performing this
operation because they have to go right down into the
spinal column to get it all out and this is very risky.
Dermoid sinuses are an inherited disorder and although
it occurs in other breeds the incidence in Rhodesian
Ridgebacks is the greatest. A breeding bitches diet should
folic acid as this reduces the severity of the condition
and the number of dermoid pups produced.
Bloat or Torsion
This is a very serious condition which can
be fatal. It is the abnormal positioning of the stomach
by the stomach twisting about its axis. The stomach becomes
filled with gas, food, liquid or a combination thereof,
and becomes enlarged. When the dog plays the stomach
around the point where the esophagus passes through the
diaphragm, causing a twist.
Treatment consists of draining the stomach through a
tube and surgery to relieve the torsion and gain circulation
back to the small intestine and stomach. The stomach
then be "fastened" into place to help prevent this
from occuring again. Prevention is better than cure in this instance
and you can prevent this from happening by feeding your
meals more often thoughout the day (stay away from one
big meal a day) and wet the dry kibble with water.
Keep the dog quiet for about two hours after a meal and
its access to water straight after eating.
This is a hormonal condition caused by a deficiency of the
thyroid hormone which usually occurs when the thyroid gland
This could be because of a congenital condition, an inflamed
thyroid or cancer. Blood tests are done to ascertain the
level of the hormone present. Symptoms of hypothyroidsm usually
show between four to ten years and the dog becomes lethargic;
both mentally and physically; gains weight
has a dull coat, loses hair, has a dry skin with dark pigmentation.
Treatment of this condition is usually with thyroid tablets
where a remarkable improvement in all above areas is seen.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are susceptable to cataracts
Cataracts, where the lens becomes cloudy,
usually occur at an early age and are inherited. Operations
can restore vision to almost normal.
Entropion is a congenital condition where the eye lid rolls
inward causing the lashes and hairs to rub the cornea. This
can also be corrected with surgery.
The symptoms usually manifest in puppies and
dogs under a
year of age but not all
littermates are affected. Most severe infections are
in young pups, which
typically develop an ascending paralysis of the limbs, particularly
the hindlimbs. The paralysis is often progressive and results
in rigid contracture of the muscles of affected limbs. In
some dogs, only neural signs are seen. The syndrome of polyradiculoneuromyositis
appears typical of neosporosis. Ulcerative dermatitis, hepatitis,
pneumonia, and encephalitis may also occur.
Toxoplasmosis can create a similar picture and that makes
sense since the organisms responsible are
very much alike.
There are two possibilies by which Neospora Caninum can be
transmitted - the transmission from the mother to the fetus
is the most likely way. Neospora caninum can be transmitted
repeatedly through successive litters and litters of their
be considered when planning the breeding of Neospora-infected
bitches. The second way is very rare and goes
via food, i.e. if a dog eats infected, raw beef. Therefore,
feeding the BARF diet is not recommend unless raw
beef is excluded from the menu for the future.
There is no vaccine to combat neosporosis. No drugs
are known to prevent transplacental transmission.
Breeders should consider testing their bitches for
before using them in a breeding program. This can be done at your vet by drawing
blood and sending it to Onderstepoort.