As is the case with all of the breeds of dogs, Bichons have some hereditary diseases as well as a number of often occurring conditions that can damage their health, or even be fatal. Luckily for them and their owners, most of these conditions are not lethal and the frequency with which they appear is not staggering. However, it is still a prudent move to get acquainted with some of the more common conditions that might afflict your furry friend as that might enable you to recognize the symptoms on time, and either save the life or your dog, or at least, spare him some discomfort.
First thing you should now is that if you are buying a Bichon you should buy one from a reputable breeder, as such breeders consider the medical history of the dogs they intend to pair up in order to minimize the possibilities of hereditary disorders in their progeny. This is very important as careless pairing up of dogs who share the same genetic faults significantly increases the chances of the faults being present in their puppies.
Cancers are the most common cause of death in Bichons (apart from old age, naturally). Most common types are prostate cancer in male Bichons and mammary gland cancer in females, luckily, neutering or spaying your pet reduces the chances that these types of cancer will develop.
Less serious and much more manageable problem with Bichons, but also much more frequently appearing, are dental problems. Gingivitis is particularly problematic as it can cause bladder and kidney infections. Also, germs that mouth is full of, can get in the bloodstream if the mouth hygiene is not adequate. This is why it is vital to take good care of your Bichon’s oral hygiene; you should take him to the vet at least once a year for scaling and try to keep his teeth as clean as you can. Teeth loss can also lead to problems with digestion.
Bichons offer suffer from different allergies, but they are almost never a serious problem, in the vast majority of cases all that they cause is slight discomfort and nothing more. If you notice that your dog is often suffering from them try to find the cause, it might be something he inhaled, such as pollen or some molds, or it might be a reaction to the shampoo you are using when bathing the dog.
One condition you need to keep a lookout for is primary ciliary dyskinesia, it is a hereditary problem which affects the dog’s respiratory system. If you notice that your dog’s nose is constantly runny and that the dog is often showing signs of respiratory problems, don’t sign this off as a prolonged cold, but consult your vet as soon as possible. It is important to do this quickly as this condition increases the chances that the pneumonia will develop.
Also, make sure that your dog always has access to a lot of fresh water as that is the best way to prevent onset of kidney and bladder diseases which can be fairly common in this breed.