1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – This disease is most often genetic and cannot be prevented. It is most common in Dachshund dogs due to a genetic problem with the disc. You can minimize the chance of this problem by preventing your dog from jumping off the bed or furniture. Provide a ramp if needed to assist your dog getting off and on furniture.
2. Gastric Torsion (Bloat) – This is a life-threatening condition resulting from a distended stomach that rotates into an abnormal position (torsion). Untreated, it results in death. It is most common in large breed, deep-chested dogs (such as the Great Dane). Many veterinarians will prophylactically “pexy” or stabilize the stomach to prevent it from occurring in susceptible breeds. If you own a Great Dane, standard Poodle, Saint Bernard, Gordon setter, Irish setter, Doberman pinscher, Old English sheepdog, or Weimaraner, you may want to discuss this with your veterinarian. Another thing you can do to help prevent this condition is to divide meals into 2 or 3 meals per day rather than one large meal. Feed a mixture of canned food and dry food. Avoid elevated feeders. Any diet changes should be made gradually over a period of 3 to 5 days. Feed susceptible dogs individually and if possible, in a quiet location. When buying a dog, ask about family history of bloat and stay away from breed lines with a prominent history.
3. Foreign Body Ingestion (Small Intestine) – This condition is entirely preventable. A foreign body is caused by the ingestion of an object that can’t pass through the intestine. Common objects include underwear, socks, pantyhose, coins and toys. How can you prevent it? Closely supervise your dog to ensure that he doesn’t ingest household items. Provide durable toys such as the Kong®. If your dog chews and ingests anything – call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately.
4. Cruciate Rupture – This condition is due to a rupture of a ligament in the knee. It is difficult to prevent, as you cannot predict how or when it will happen. It can occur to any dog at any time when running or playing. You may minimize the changes by resting your dog when he is tired. Don’t over exercise him.
5. Foreign Body Ingestion (Stomach) – This condition is also preventable. This is similar to condition #4 but the foreign object is caught in the stomach rather than the intestine. Keep all items that your dog might ingest out of his reach. Observe his behavior when playing with toys to ensure he doesn’t try to “eat” them.
6. Pin in Broken Limb – This condition is a fracture or broken bone, which is treated with a surgical pin to stabilize the bone. Broken bones can be preventable. Many broken bones in dogs occur from being hit by a car. You can prevent this by ensuring your dog is on a leash and does not run free. In small or toy dogs, broken bones can result from being dropped or stepped on. Take special care with small dogs.