Leonberger Health Concerns

Like many giant breeds, Leonbergers are prone to diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat and certain cancers

Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease is a condition where the body does not produce enough specific hormones critical to many physiologic functions of inflammation. Due to testing and careful breeding choices it has basically been eradicated. It is more common in young to middle aged adult females. Signs may include generalized muscle weakness, collapse, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, excessive drinking and/or urinating. Diagnosis is made with blood tests and it can be controlled with medication.

Autoimmune Thyroiditis: The thyroid gland is a critical organ present in all mammals and controls the metabolism in most systems of the body. It can stop working in Leos due to a gradual loss of functional gland over time with age, or due to immune stimulated inflammation and replacement of the gland with scar tissue. W eight gain, poor coat (dry or thin), mental dullness, changes in behavior, skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, weakness and decreased exercise intolerance are the most common signs. Thyroid results are from an AKC approved lab.

Bloat: An acute condition in which the stomach can torque and traps gas inside, causing extreme pain. Irreversible damage to the stomach, intestine or spleen can occur due to the torque. Unless treated very quickly, death may result. This is an article on the most current bloat study: http://breedingbetterdogs.com/pdfFiles/articles/bloat-what.you.need.to.know.oct.5.2012.pdf Congenital Cardiac Disease: Gathering data regarding congenital heart disease, to identify dogs which are phenotypically normal prior to use in a breeding program. “Normal” being defined as: One without a cardiac murmur, or one with an innocent heart murmur that is found to be otherwise normal thru an echocardiographic examination.

Elbow Dysplasia: Is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease (inherited by several genes) in the elbow of the dog.

Eye problems: Eye examinations performed by an AVCO (American College of Veterinary Opthalmology) screen for a number of eye conditions including cataracts, corneal ulcers, distichiasis entropion and ectropion. Some eye conditions are serious and some are not. Some are also “breeders options” due to lack of information on the possibility of heredity.

Hip Dysplasia (HD): Due to the conscientious efforts of LCA breeders over the years in not breeding dysplastic dogs and requiring three generations free of hip dysplasia on all breeding animals, the Leonberger has maintained a better than average standing in the disease with other large breeds. Although it can be a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis which can lead to pain and debilitation, puppy buyers can help prevent that by requiring the puppies they buy are from three generation free pedigrees and bred by the OFA’s Recommended Breeding Principals.” All LCA registered Leonbergers used for breeding in the US must have passing hip x-rays, which means fair or better.

Leonberger Polyneuropathy: A disease which affects the peripheral nervous system and thus secondarily the muscles which are controlled by those nerves. The longest nerves of the body are those affected first and most profoundly. The earliest signs usually appear in the hind limbs as exercise intolerance or abnormal gait, or the larynx (voice box) with the upper airway becoming compromised resulting in noisy breathing or a change in bark. More information on Leonberger inherited polyneuropathy and on the LPN1 mutation which has been found and implicated in causing one severe, early form of the disease can be found at http://www.vdl.umn.edu/ourservices/canineneuromuscular/leonberger/ Please ask your breeder to provide LPN1 results for both parents of your prospective puppy.

Pano: An inflammation of the long bones (legs) is sometimes seen in Leos from about 5-18 months of age. It’s more of a nuisance condition as it does not create any permanent physical damage. However, it’s definitely painful and can leave a vigorous Leo pup frustrated because it hurts to play, walk, etc.

<Back to Latest News