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Generally speaking, Corgis are a relatively healthy dog breed though sometimes their small size puts them at a disadvantage especially if you factor in their genetics. Corgis are classified as a dwarf breed which means that they have the head and body of a standard - sized breed but have short legs. Unfortunately, their short body type – particularly their short legs and long spine – makes them susceptible to various canine health issues. On average, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Like other dog breeds, they also have a couple of health issues but most of which are non-life threatening especially if they are properly taken care of. This article will provide you with information about what could threaten the lifespan of the Corgi dog breed.

Corgi Health Problems

Pembroke Welsh Corgis’ lifespan or life – expectancy are pretty average in dog years but just like all other dog breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Don’t worry though because it doesn’t necessarily mean that every Corgi will develop any of the health conditions you will learn in this article, but just keep in mind that their breed has a history of developing them. This is very important so that you can help prevent or manage such health issue if ever.

Whenever you are considering getting a Corgi from a breeder, you should always ask the breeder if your dog’s lineage has a history of any health conditions. Reputable breeders will usually have their dogs tested and cleared for health conditions before they can be used for breeding. If you are considering a Corgi, below are some of the potential health issues that could threaten your dog’s lifespan:

Hip Dysplasia

This is a very common musculoskeletal problem among dogs. In a normal hip, the head of the femur (thigh bone) sits snugly within the groove of the hip joint and it rotates freely within the grove as the dog moves. Hip dysplasia occurs when the femoral head becomes separated from the hip joint – this is called subluxation. This could occur as a result of abnormal joint structure or laxity in the muscles and ligaments supporting the joint. This condition can present in puppies as young as 5 months of age or in older dogs. Genetics are the largest risk factor for hip dysplasia, though nutrition and exercise are factors as well. Diagnosis for hip dysplasia is made through a combination of clinical signs, physical exam, and x-rays.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia

The most common symptoms of hip dysplasia include pain or discomfort, limping, hopping, or unwillingness to move. As the condition progresses, the dog’s pain will increase and he may develop osteoarthritis. The dog may begin to lose muscle tone and might even become completely lame in the affected joint.  Surgical treatments for hip dysplasia are very common and generally highly effective. Medical treatments may also be helpful to reduce osteoarthritis and to manage pain.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease which affects the spinal cord in older dogs. This disease typically manifests between 8 and 14 years of age, beginning with loss of coordination in the dog’s hind limbs.

Diagnosis of Degenerative Myelopathy

This disease is caused by degeneration of the white matter in the dog’s spinal cord. This degeneration may or may not be caused by the mutation of a certain gene. In order to diagnose your Corgi with degenerative myelopathy your veterinarian will perform tests to rule out other causes of the weakness. These tests may include MRI, myelography, and biopsy of the spinach cord. In many cases, however, the diagnosis cannot be completely confirmed except with an autopsy (necropsy).

No Treatment

At first the dog will wobble when walking or drag the feet – this might occur in one limb or both. As the disease progresses, the limbs become increasingly weak and the dog might have difficulty standing. Eventually, the weakness will worsen to the point of paralysis and the dog will be unable to walk. Unfortunately, there are no treatments available to slow or stop the progression of degenerative myelopathy. The best treatment is to manage the dog’s symptoms and to keep him as comfortable as possible. The use of harnesses and carts is common for dogs that have lost the use of their hind limbs.

Glaucoma 

The Corgi breed is prone to several eye-related conditions including glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very common condition in which the fluid inside the dog’s eye builds and creates intraocular pressure that is too high. When the pressure inside the eye increases, it can lead to damage of the internal structures within the eye. If this condition is not treated promptly, it can lead to permanent loss of vision or total blindness for the dog. Glaucoma can sometimes be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, but common signs include dilated pupil, cloudiness of the eye, and rubbing the eye. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate treatment. Treatment options include topical solutions to reduce pressure, increase drainage, and to provide pain relief.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is another musculoskeletal issue common in Corgi. This condition causes a wide variety of different symptoms ranging from mild pain to completely paralysis – it can also mimic the presentation of other musculoskeletal problems which can delay diagnosis. IVDD can occur in any breed, though it is more common in certain breeds including the Corgi. The symptoms of IVDD are highly variable and may include neck pain or stiffness, back pain or stiffness, abdominal tenderness, arched back, lameness, sensitivity to touch, stilted gait, reluctance to rise, loss of coordination, tremors, collapse, and paralysis. These symptoms most commonly present after strenuous activity of physical trauma. The most common cause of this condition is related to a disorder of cartilage formation called chondrodystrophy and it usually presents in dogs aged 3 to 6 years old.

Treatments

There are both medical and surgical treatment options available for intervertebral disk disease. Medical treatments may involve corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories aimed to treat pain and control inflammation. Surgical treatments may help to decompress the spinal cord or to inject enzymes to help stabilize the affected disks and extend your Corgi lifespan.

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