The Basset Hound has many unique traits and distinct physical characteristics. From their drooping eyes to their elongated ears, this breed of hound has found its way into the hearts of dog enthusiasts across the globe. For individuals wanting to acquire a Basset, you need to look beyond the "adorable factor" and also consider some of the more common health issues related to this breed.
Each year, Basset Hounds succumb to ear infections that can be prevented. Those long droopy ears give this dog personality but they also require routine care to prevent infections. Not only will the Basset's ears drag on the ground but their shape prevents air circulation causing moisture to retain inside the ear. When this occurs, the ears become infected leading to yeast infections.
Another troublesome problem with the ears is ground dragging. Every time a Basset leans his nose to the ground or in his food bowl, the ears touch the ground and are subject to dirt and debris. Preventative measures should be taken to prevent the inside and outside of the ears from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. The ears need properly cleaned on a routine basis. Should the ears have a brown discharge or emit a foul odor, your Basset should be seen by a veterinarian.
Some of the more common eye disorders in Basset Hounds include entropion, ectropion, glaucoma, and conjunctivitis. Glaucoma is caused when there is a defect in the eye's drainage system which can impair vision. This disorder can either be hereditary or caused from an injury to the eye. Glaucoma requires medical treatment which can include prescribed medications or surgery.
Entropion is a common eye disorder found in dog breeds with loose facial skin like that seen with the Basset Hound. This condition can occur in either the upper or lower eyelids but is more common in the lower lid. The eyelid will roll inward which allows the lashes to come into contact with the surface of the eye. As the lashes scrape on the eye, irritation and ulcerations and occur. Surgery may be required to prevent permanent damage to the eye.
Ectropion is also a problem commonly seen in Basset Hounds. The lower eyelid will sag exposing the eye surface which can lead to eye irritation, infections, and conjunctivitis. Mild cases can be treated with prescribed medications but severe and repeated bouts may require surgical treatment to repair the eyelid.
Degenerative disk disease, herniated discs, and obesity are all concerns for Basset Hound owners. Dog breeds with elongated bodies and short legs are generally prone to these disorders. These disorders can either be inherited or caused from injuries. A Basset Hound should be prevented from jumping from high places and handling should be done with care.
Approximately 15 percent of all Bassets are born with a genetic blood disorder known as Von Willebrand's Disease. This disease can cause a Basset Hound to bleed which can be life-threatening. Seek veterinary care immediately should your dog show any signs of unusual bleeding such as nosebleeds or bleeding of the gums.
Before purchasing a Basset Hound, individuals should research preventative care. Some of the problems associated with this breed can be averted by providing attentive care especially to the ears and eyes. With proper nutrition, routine grooming, regular vet checks, and proper handling, a Basset Hound can live a long and healthy life.
BASSET HOUND: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO OWNING AND CARING FOR YOUR DOG, by Betty A. Stenmark, copyright 2003.