Bichon frise dogs make great companions and love to please their owners. Popular among pet lovers, bichons have beautiful white coats that make them staples in the dog show world.
While bichons are a generally healthy breed, they are prone to certain health problems, however. Those who are thinking about adding bichons to their family should be aware of the potential problems they may incur.
Bichon frise dogs commonly have allergies. These allergies may cause scratching, ear infections and skin problems. They can cause the dog to be very uncomfortable and can even lead to self-mutilation from the constant chewing and scratching.
Many allergies can be cleared up by the use of antihistamines, although steriods may be required in more severe cases. In addition, some bichons need to receive allergy injections or may need to eat hypoallergenic diets. Fortunately, allergies are not life-threatening and while they may be stubborn, they are usually resolved.
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All dogs are at risk to developing dental disease if proper dental hygiene is not instilled. However, bichons, like other small dogs, seem to develop dental disease quite often. Many bichons begin to lose teeth around seven years of age and commonly have gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. This inflammation can lead to infection, which can effect the bichon systemically, as the bacteria can enter the blood stream and ultimately effect the animal’s organs.
One of the treatments for gingivitis in bichons is pulse therapy, in which antibiotics are administered for five days a month to control and prevent further infection. To prevent dental disease, brush your dog’s teeth once a day and have dental cleanings performed as needed.
As with a lot of small breeds, bichons are supceptible to patellar luxation, or knee caps that can pop out of place. Patellar luxation occurs because of loose or strained ligaments around the knee that can become torn.
Symptoms of patellar luxation include skipping, limping, favoring one leg over another and unstableness when walking. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, take him to a veterinarian for an examination. The doctor may be able to palpate the luxating patella. If this condition becomes a problem for your bichon, he may require surgery.
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Bichon frise dogs are a breed that seem to have a predisposition to forming urinary stones, although it is not clear why. Bladder stones are formed by crystals in the urine that bind together and create the stones. Bichons typically have struvite or calcium oxolate stones.
Surgery is often performed to remove larger stones that may be in the bladder or urinary tract. Some smaller stones may pass through the dog on their own. Bichons who have histories of bladder stones or who are prone to developing them should have constant access to water, as it can help to flush out the system.
Additionally, these bichons should also eat special foods that are created for the prevention of stones, such as Royal Canine’s Urinary S/O, which is available at veterinary offices.
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