Corgi puppies are the cutest. They are not only loved by the Queen of Great Britain but are also popular among Americans—they are the 11th most popular dog breed in the U.S. However, their short legs and long body, for which they are loved the most, make them susceptible to many serious health issues. Therefore, before bringing home a purebred corgi or one of the many corgi mixes, like Cowboy Corgi, you should know the health issues that your Corgi might experience during their lifetime.
Corgi Breed Overview
Corgis are small dogs. They were originally bred for working with farmers. However, they became a popular pet breed after a while because of their appealing looks and lively nature. Corgis are basically of two types: the Pembroke Welsh Corgis and the Cardigan Welsh Corgis, with slight differences between the two. Corgi mixes have also been developed, which combine the traits of other desirable breeds as well.
Corgi mixes inherit the most popular bodily and mental characteristics from their parents. Breeding Corgis with any other dog breed, in fact, produces offspring that looks just like the former impersonating the latter.
The Average Lifespan of Corgi
Corgi is an overall healthy dog breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years. The lifespan of each dog depends upon certain factors, such as diet, size, the availability of healthcare, inbreeding issues, and whether it is spayed or not, and lastly, whether its exercise requirements are met or not.
14 Most Common Corgi Health Problems
Before we dive into the details of each Corgi health issue, take a quick look at the overview of the most common Corgi health issues in the table given below.
|Hypothyroidism||Weight Gain, Hair Loss, Weakness, and Change of Color||Dysfunctional Thyroid Gland||Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy|
|Intervertebral Disc Disease||Incontinence, Weakness, Paralysis, and Behavioral Changes||Hardened Disks in Vertebrae||Surgery|
|Dysplasia||Swelling of Joints||Unwanted Cells Growth||Surgical Replacement of Entire Joint|
|Degenerative Myelopathy||Paralysis and Incontinence||Genetic Mutations||Rehabilitation and Workout|
|Epilepsy||Seizures||Genetics||Therapy and Medication|
|Progressive Retinal Atrophy||Gradual Loss of Vision||Degeneration of Photoreceptors||None|
|Von Willebrand’s Disease||No Blood Clotting||Deficiency of von Willebrand Protein||None|
|Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis||Improper Functioning of Central Nervous System||Heredity||None|
|Cutaneous Asthenia||Saggy Skin||Deficiency of Collagens||None|
|Cystinuria||Crystals in Renal System||Excess Cysteine in Renal System||Surgical and Non-Surgical Removal of Stones|
|Dental Problems||Smell, Plaque, and Bleeding Gums||Infections||Various Treatments|
|Infections and Parasites||Various Symptoms||Infestation and Infectious Diseases||Medication|
|Obesity and Overweight||More Than Normal Mass||Fat and Calories Surplus||Workout|
|Reproductive Issues||Difficulty in Delivery||Small Pelvis||C-Section|
In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland of the dog is rendered partially or completely dysfunctional, thus depriving the body of the required thyroid hormone, which is vital for the proper functioning of the body. Hence, its deficiency can cause different processes in a dog’s body to slow down, the top hit being metabolism and heartbeat. Any disease or infection related to the thyroid gland can lead to this condition; however, idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy and lymphocytic thyroiditis are the primary causes.
If left untreated for a long time, it can be fatal. The major signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs are:
- Weight gain due to improper metabolism
- excessive hair loss
- Lethargy and inability to do hard work
- Pigmentation of the skin
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD hardens the discs of your dog’s vertebrae, thus putting immense duress on the spinal cord and back, impacting the nervous and coordination system severely. In an extreme case, the spinal cord may fracture altogether, which can cause permanent impairments. The pressure on the spinal cord exacerbates if your dog does jumping and intense physical activities. Though IVDD is most prevalent in older dogs, younger dogs are not immune to it. The disease can make simple activities like walking excruciatingly painful for your dog.
The most common symptoms of IVDD in Corgis are:
- Inability to hold pee
- Weak and clumsy movement
- Paralysis of more than one body parts
- Behavioral changes due to pain and suffering
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia occurs when unwanted cells growth occurs in the elbow joints of your dog. Similarly, hip dysplasia occurs when such cell growth occurs in the hip and leg joints. Consequently, the joints may swell, and the bones might not fit together perfectly, which makes walking or even standing on legs extremely painful. Genetics, unsuitable diet and exercise, obesity, and rapid growth are usually the source of this condition.
Since the unwanted growth of cells has the potential to form cancer, the disease can be life-threatening if ignored. Likewise, the inability of your dog to move will deprive him of various healthy activities, such as walking and running.
So if you observe the following symptoms in your Corgi, you should take him to a vet:
- Reduced scope and range of activities
- Unwillingness to exercise or workout
- Movement by jumping, instead of walking
- Elbows forming a peculiar angle
Degenerative Myelopathy (D.M.)
Degenerative myelopathy impacts the spinal cord of your dog due to genetic mutations. It progresses steadily and causes various paralysis. At first, the affected Corgi would lose his ability to walk, but later, he might not be able to control other functions as well, such as bowel movement. The disease can reduce the lifespan of your dog because it has similar consequences as those of IVDD.
Likewise, there is no reliable cure available except for rehabilitation and regular workout. It generally occurs in 4 to 14 years old dogs.
A Corgi suffering from degenerative myelopathy would exhibit the following symptoms:
- The back appears to be vibrating
- Falling even with little force
- Not getting up quickly when sitting
- Inability to control pee and poo
Epilepsy hits the brain and can cause normal to severe seizures. Though the brain appears to be normal and functioning properly, it does not. Genetics is the main reason for epilepsy in both types of Corgis. Other causes include stroke, tumor, or infection. Though it is rarely fatal, it can affect your dog’s life and well-being very negatively. Moreover, he may harm himself during a seizure. The treatments available are therapies and anti-seizure medications.
Following are the signs that your Corgi may have epilepsy:
- Sudden unconsciousness due to seizure attack
- Sudden falling on the floor or the loss of balance
- Drooling uncontrollably
- Unpredictable behavior
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
It is a degenerative disease that causes decay of the photoreceptor cells present in your dog’s eye. It can render your Corgi’s eyes useless—partially or completely. The disease affects the puppies of two to three months and adult dogs of three to nine years, according to the VCA hospital. With the onset of PRA, the night vision of your dog is usually impacted first and, if left untreated, the daytime vision starts deteriorating as well.
Unfortunately, currently, there is no cure for it. The disease has the potential to completely blind your dog within two years. It has no immediate signs and symptoms, but over time following signs would be exhibited by a Corgi suffering from PRA:
- Loss of nighttime vision, followed by the daytime vision
- Hazy eyeballs
- Eyes turn greyish
- Enlarged pupil
Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD)
VWD arises when your dog’s blood does not have enough von Willebrand protein, which is crucial for blood clotting. Consequently, when an injury occurs, the blood does not clot. It can thus result in excessive blood loss and can be fatal in case of severe injury. It is an inherited blood disorder and is common among 30 different dog breeds, including Doberman Pinschers and Scottish Terriers.
VWD has no cure; nonetheless, blood transfusion and synthetic hormones can be used as a temporary treatment. Your dog will exhibit the following signs if he suffers from VWD:
- Prolonged and uncontrolled bleeding
- Oral bleeding
- Bloody poo and pee
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL)
It is a progressive degenerative disease that impacts the central nervous system of dogs. Its signs show up at the age of about one to two years of age, and with time it keeps getting worse. There is no reliable treatment available for this disease. Besides, due to hereditary transmission, dogs with NCL should not reproduce further.
The following signs indicate that your dog might have contracted NCL:
- Behavioral changes
- Weakness in all four legs
- Tremors and coordination disturbances
Cutaneous asthenia is a genetic disease caused by a mutation and passed on by parents to their offspring. This condition is caused by the deficiency of collagen—a protein providing elasticity to the skin. As a result, the skin of your dog may become extra stretchy and saggy. Cutaneous asthenia is especially painful when your dog moves his joints. In general, the younger population of dogs is more prone to this disease. A dog suffering from it can easily be injured.
Moreover, the disease is incurable; however, the use of vitamin C can be beneficial to manage this condition. The symptoms include:
- Droopy skin
- Folds on skin
- Very thin and fragile skin
Cystinuria is an inherited metabolic disorder that affects the renal function of dogs. In this condition dog’s kidney is unable to reabsorb cystine. Consequently, cystine crystals are formed in his kidney, urinary tract, or bladder.
Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available for the removal of the crystals, depending on the condition of your dog. However, it can be a recurring condition and stones may form again after removal. The presence of such blockage in the urinary tract of a canine can be hazardous to his overall health.
If you suspect cystinuria in your dog, look for the following symptoms:
- Frequent pee sessions
- Crying while peeing
- Bloody or smelly pee
- Too much licking of the genital area
Dental issues in dogs might not seem serious, but dental issues not only affect the quality of your dog’s life but also reduce his lifespan. If dental diseases are not treated at the right time, they can affect other organs as well, such as kidneys, hearts, and the liver. Dental diseases usually start from a simple tartar buildup and end up causing infections. Most dental issues can be easily avoided by brushing a dog’s teeth regularly and using dog toothpaste.
Your dog might have any dental disease if he exhibits the following signs:
- Smelly breath
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Unusually high plaque in teeth
- Difficulty in eating
Obesity and Overweight
Being overweight and obese is hazardous for the well-being of your dog, just as it is for you. Though it is not problematic in itself, it can cause other chronic diseases such as arthritis, renal troubles, diabetes, liver issues, and heart problems. At worst, it can cause various types of cancers.
You can tell if your dog is in the initial stages of obesity by looking at the following conditions:
- You have a hard time finding the ribs of your dog
- Bigger abdominal area
- Rounder face
- Your dog gets tired very easily
Infections and Parasites
Various bacterial and viral infections can occur in Corgis and their hybrids. Rabies, ear and eye infections, and distemper are the most common among them. However, they can be prevented by effective and timely vaccinations. Similarly, your dog is also vulnerable to several worms and bugs infestations.
For instance, hookworms in a dog’s stomach are common, which can deprive his body of essential nutrients. The main cause of infections and parasite infestation is unclean water, food, and the environment.
Female Corgis might have a small pelvis which might hinder the normal birthing process. To overcome this, C-section is often required.
Avoiding Common Corgi Health Problems
You can avoid health concerns in your Corgi hybrid by sticking to the following recommendations:
Physical activities keep your dog healthy and reduce the chance of unnecessary fat accumulation, which can cause several harmful diseases. Regular exercise is great for a healthy heart as well. Exercising does not let your dog get bored, which can lead to behavioral changes and mental problems.
Maintaining a healthy diet can guarantee the balance of nutrients in your pooch’s body. Furthermore, a diet that is free of any sort of additives also reduces several health risks. It can help your dog in daily nourishing requirements as well as overall growth. It is also a way to improve dogs’ life expectancy.
You should be a cautious onlooker for your dog whenever he does routine jobs. For instance, thoroughly examine your dog’s food to make sure that it does not contain any unwanted material or debris. Moreover, always be on the lookout for signs of sickness in dogs. If your dog is not behaving normally, you should take your cue and get a vet appointment.
Bad dental hygiene can cause several other diseases such as heart, liver, and kidney issues. A study shows that full dental cleaning annually can reduce the risk of death in dogs by 20%. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily or at least two to three times a week would help keep most dental issues at bay. Moreover, healthy and clean gums will not bleed and can help your dog in case he suffers from VWD.
Lack of mental stimulation can impact your dog’s behavior negatively. As a result, he might develop behavioral issues. Hence, the chances of injury and consequent infestation or infection can increase. In addition, good mental training can make your dog cognizant of different threats, which can help him be conscious of and prepared for any danger. You can provide your dog with food puzzles and interactive dog toys for mental stimulation.
You should take your dog for a complete body checkup once every year. In this way, any undetected disease or abnormality can be identified easily before it is too late. Regular checkups can especially be helpful if your dog suffers from cancer which usually props up symptoms during the last stages.
Several health issues, which are not too different from those in Corgis, can affect Corgi mixes as well. If left untreated, most diseases can become life-threatening. Since, luckily, solutions do exist, you need to be vigilant of these threats and their symptoms if you want your dog to remain healthy and fit.