The Newfoundland's ear is heavy & surrounded by thick hair which sometimes may be very wet do to their love of the water (natural or manmade). This can cause mild to severe ear infections. If you suspect an infection (inflamed, red & dark brown or black discharge) you will need to take him to the vet. Your Newfie may also shake his head and scratch at his ears. To avoid and help prevent ear infections, it is important to routinely clean the ears with an ear cleanser purchased from your veterinarian.
This is a disorder in which fits occur, either as a result of damage to the brain or for no apparent reason. The condition normally occurs in the young dog. Epilepsy must be treated by your vet and his directions followed precisely.
EYE CONDITIONS; (Ectropian/Entropian)
This is an irritating condition which causes the eyelids to roll out (Ectropian) or to roll in too tightly (Entropian). Poorly fitting lids may cause excessive tear production or allow the eye to become too dry, damaged or infected. Surgical correction may be needed if the condition is severe.
DILATED CARDIO-MYOPATHY (DCM);
This is a disease of the heart muscle in which the organ becomes very dilated (enlarged) and produces a feeble beat. The blood circulation becomes poor, resulting in an intolerance of exercise in the dog. Irregular heart rhythms may be detected, and the progression of the disease may lead to heart failure, when pressures build up in the heart causing fluid to accumulate in the body. Although DCM can be treated to an extent by drugs and careful management, it is ultimately a killer. The disease has a strong tendency to run in certain family lines, so omitting some dogs from the breeding programme (even if they are champions) has to be a sensible move for breeders.
SUB-VALVULAR AORTIC STENOSIS (SAS);
This is an inherited disease in the Newfoundlands. A ring of tissue forms below the aortic valve in the heart, restricting the blood flow and increasing pressure within the heart. The heart tissue overgrows in response to the increased pressure, outgrowing its own blood supply and causing scar tissue to develop that interferes with the electrical impulses in the heart. Puppies can develop a murmur throughout their first years of life, but usually those with significant disease develop murmurs within the first 9 weeks of life. Occasionally, a puppy will have no murmur at a young age but when checked again at one year, will have developed the disease. This disease can only be positively diagnosed by auscultation (listening to the heart) in combination with cardiac ultrasound. The ultrasound will usually show the physical defect and is also used to measure the velocity and pressure of blood flow and show heart function. The results enable the cardiologist to grade the murmur and the severity of the disease. Murmur sounds do not also correlate with the severity of the disease. Some of the signs of SAS include lethargy, exercise intolerance, fainting and sudden death. Mildly affected puppies have about 1% greater chance of sudden death while moderate disease increases the risk by nearly 15%. Affected puppies can have their lifespan extended with medication. If left untreated, severely affected puppies have a life expectancy of under three years.
OTHER HEART CONDITIONS;
Some other conditions recorded in the Newfoundlands are Pulmonic Stenosis (narrowing of the Pulmonic valve), Patent Ductus Arteriusus (PDA-in which a blood vessel to by-pass the non-breathing lungs while the puppy is still in the uterus does not shut off after the puppy is born), and Tricuspid Valvular Dysplasia (similar to "blue babies" in humans). These conditions do not occur with great frequency, but are serious and should be managed under the directions of a cardiologist. Veterinary treatment is now considered to be very advanced and much can be done to enrich the quality of life of a well-loved pet, although breeding from an affected dog would be extremely unwise.
Heatstroke, at its most extreme, causes difficulty with breathing and the dog may collapse do to intense heat or vigorous exercise. Prevention is the best course of action; as well as careful exercise routine in the summer. Owners must ensure that their dogs have adequate shade on sunny days, wading pools and plenty of fresh drinking water daily. A dog should never be left in a vehicle on even a moderately warm day. If you should suspect heatstroke, hosing him down or immersing him in water may provide a little relief before the vet arrives. Ice cold water should not be used as the dog could go into shock.
This is an emergency, life threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and may twist back on itself cutting off the blood supply. A dog with bloat may act distressed and may try, unsuccessfully, to vomit. This disease requires immediate veterinary attention in order to save the dog's life. Out come of the surgery is dependent on the dog's general condition and the damage done to the stomach and other internal organs during bloat. Some course of prevention would be to feed two or three meals a day, feed soaked rather than dry foods, avoid high-cereal content foods and do not allow strenuous exercise immediately before or after feeding.
HIP/ ELBOW DYSPLASIA;
In dogs affected with hip dysplasia the hip joints and/or elbows joints do not form correctly as the puppy grows. Affected dogs range from mildly to severely affected. Those who are mildly affected often do not need much treatment when young, but will develop arthritis as they age. Usually anti-inflammatory medications and joint support supplements are effective. If young dogs are more severely affected they may require medications and possible surgery, including total hip replacement, at a younger age to enable the dog to live pain free. Dogs must be x-rayed in order to diagnose hip and elbow dysplasia; a positive diagnosis can not be made simply by watching the dog move. The OFA requires dogs to be two years of age before hip/elbow certification. Penn Hip is another procedure used by many breeders. Dogs free of dysplasia receive a rating of excellent, good or fair and elbows receive a normal certification. The certification rates only the individual dog and does NOT guarantee that dog will not produce a dysplastic puppy. The likelihood of producing this disease can be minimized by considering both depth (number of ancestors) and breath (number of clear littermates and parents littermates) in the pedigree, as well as any offspring prior to selecting a mate.
This is a painful inflammatory bone disease of the young, rapidly growing dogs. Pano causes lameness in the affected limb and the lameness may "rotate" among all four legs. It is usually a self-limiting condition that most dogs outgrow. The dog may require some limitation of activity; no free play, and anti-inflammatory medication if the pup is very painful. Pano commonly occurs between 6-18 months, but is known to occur in older dogs and tends to run in families.
RUPTURED CRUCIATE LIGAMENT;
This ligament stabilizes the dogs knee or stifle joint. A sudden rupture of the ligament causes lameness in the rear (holding up one rear leg or a severe limp) while a partial tear may be subtle, with only mild lameness and muscle wasting apparent on the affected side. This problem may have some genetic basis, frequently occurs in middle age dogs, but is also a common twisting injury. Strains and partial tears may respond to rest, medication and rehab while more severe damage will require surgical repair. The newer TPLO or TWO repairs give good to excellent results.
Affected dogs have an abnormal absorption of cystine (an amino acid) by the kidney that results in the formation of crystals and/or stones in the urine. This can lead to recurrent or frequent urinary tract infections and causes painful urination especially in males. Males, because of the anatomy of their urinary tracts, are at risk for blockage by a stone. This is an emergency that often requires surgery to remove the stones. Some cases may be managed by restrictive diet. This is an inherited disease in Newf's and is caused when a puppy inherits two copies of a recessive gene, one from each parent. Dogs that only carry one copy of the defective gene are called "carriers" and do not have the disease or show any symptoms of the disease. However, if two carrier dogs are bred together, approximately 25% of their offspring will have the disease. DNA testing is available to determine the clear (no copies of the gene) or carrier (one copy of he gene) status of unaffected animals. Additionally, a dog may be determined clear by pedigree since it must be clear if both its parents are clear.
A hypothyroid dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Some of the more common signs are lethargy, poor coat and weight gain. However, some dogs do not show any distinct signs. It is usually a disease of middle age or older dogs, but occasionally young dogs are affected. Blood testing is the only method of diagnosis. Daily medication can manage the disease.
ECZEMA ("HOT SPOTS");
These are the most common complaints reported by Newfie owners. In rare cases, they are due to food allergies or some minor trauma. Moisture underneath the coat may lead to infection. In most cases, the owner may treat at home by shaving the infected area, scrubbing lightly with a mild dishsoap and applying an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.
FRAGMENTED CHRORONOID PROCESS (FCP);
Bony process of upper radius fragment which causes lameness in the front legs that usually requires surgery. Inheritance is polygenic.