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Husky Health Problems: Risks, Prevention, & What Owners Should Know

The Siberian Husky is overall a healthy dog breed. Huskies are resilient dogs that have a life expectancy of twelve to fourteen years. However, due to certain health problems, their life expectancy may be cut short. While these husky health issues are more common with older Huskies, several of them are also common in Husky puppies.

As with all the other animals, it is essential to be aware of common health problems that affect Siberian Huskies. Knowing about these health problems is vital to keeping your Husky healthy for the long run. By knowing what husky health problems to look for (And how to prevent them!), you can keep your Husky healthy and happy!

Knowing Husky Health Problems

As an owner, your number one job is to care for the health and happiness of your Husky. To help you do this, I have summarized various Husky health issues that you must keep an eye on as your Husky grows. With any health problem, it is better to take care of an issue right as it comes up rather than waiting for it to become a bigger problem. Catching health issues early is the key to making sure it does not harm your Husky too much.

Many illnesses and health issues are genetic, which means they are linked to the Huskies specifically. This does not mean, however, that you will certainly face these Husky health problems. In short, there are certain health issues that Huskies are more susceptible to than other breeds. 

husky health problems issues

Cancer in your Husky

One of the biggest causes of death in older Husky dogs is cancer. Your Husky is expected to live longer than most other breeds, and therefore during his golden years, he is more likely to get cancer. In general, most cancers can either be solved with chemotherapy. In more extreme cases, however, surgery will be the only way to cure your Husky of its cancer.

Early detection is very important to treat cancer in Huskies. Get your Husky examined by performing periodic diagnostic tests and look for bumps or lumps to detect any signs of cancer. In addition, your Husky should get yearly checkups by a veterinarian, and your veterinarian should check for cancer during this checkups. In general, these checkups will help to catch major Husky health problems.

Husky Hip Dysplasia

Husky Hip Dysplasia is potentially one of the scariest Husky health problems for any Husky owner to worry about. Hip Dysplasia can potentially cause changes in the hip joint’s inner workings. This is not only an expensive problem to treat, but for the Huskies affected by it, it is also extremely painful. It is also important to know that both hips are affected by dysplasia in many cases, which, means more pain for the dog and a higher cost of treatment.

One of the many worst things about Husky Hip Dysplasia is that it can affect Huskies of any age. Most often, it will occur in early adulthood (10 months – 2 years old). When and how Hip Dysplasia will develop is depended on the Husky’s genetics.

Prevention & Treatment of Husky Hip Dysplasia

Prevention:
1) Ensure your Husky gets plenty of protein, calcium, and phosphorus during their early years. While they are growing, these vitamins help your Husky’s bones and muscles develop properly, reducing the risk of Husky hip dysplasia.
2) Help your Husky to maintain a healthy weight. If your Husky is overweight, more stress is being put on their joints, which increases the risk of Husky hip dysplasia.
Treatment:
In most cases, the only way to treat Husky hip dysplasia is surgery. If this issue is minor, your vet may recommend physical therapy for your Husky. However, if the issue is more severe, surgery may be your only option.

Follicular Dysplasia

Follicular Dysplasia, which can lead to either an abnormal hair loss or abnormal hair growth, is another major Husky health issue that you should be aware of. It will also cause patchy skin and secondary infections which can cause a skin odor in your Husky.

These effect generally start between three to four months after your Husky has developed Follicular Dysplasia. The risk of being affected by follicular dysplasia is higher for Siberian huskies than most other breeds. Unfortunately, there is not cure for this disease.

Treatment:

While there is no cure for Follicular Dysplasia, owners are able to treat this husky health problem. Several different supplements, topical applications, antimicrobials, and shampoos can be used to deal with the effects of this disease. Your vet will be able to recommend specific products, and can give you a prescription if necessary.

husky health problems issues

Husky Hypothyroidism

Another common Husky health problem is a genetic disease known as Hypothyroidism. It decreases the function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland plays a vital role in your Husky’s body, and primarily controls your Husky’s ability to get energy from the food they eat. Therefore, an issue with the thyroid gland can have rippling affects on your Husky’s body.

Huskies suffering from Hypothyroidism exhibit hair loss, coat dullness, lethargy, and weight gain. Hypothyroidism is a terrible disease for a Husky to have, as it causes your Husky to lose many of the core traits of the breed. Most Huskies are dynamic and energetic, and will have a beautiful and luscious coat. If your Husky is suffering from hypothyroidism, however, these distinct qualities may become less apparent in your Husky.

Husky Eye Problems

One of the biggest health issues that your Husky may face has to do with their eyes. There are many different health problems that can affect a Husky’s eyes, especially as your Husky ages. If your Husky is 8+ years old, the odds of developing one of these Husky eye problems goes of dramatically. Fortunately, most of these issues will not affect Husky’s that are relatively young.

Cataracts

 One of the most common eye problems seen in Siberian Huskies is cataracts, which can be seen in around 10 percent of the total Husky breed. Cataracts typically grow within the first six to twelve months of the life of a dog but can lead to blindness as they start to age. For this reason, it is extremely important to get your Siberian Husky’s eyes periodically checked out by the vet. The chances of developing blindness can be minimized by early detection.

Uveodermatologic Syndrome

Uveodermatologic syndrome with Siberian Husky is another commonly diagnosed eye problem. In addition to harming your Husky’s eyes, this syndrome affects the skin and nervous system as well. Generally, Uvedoermatoligic syndrome is not harmful to your Husky, and is seen as a cosmetic health issue. In extreme cases, however, it has been shown to lead to blindness.

It is difficult to diagnose the Uveodermatologic syndrome, but it is possible to notice symptoms in your Husky. Visual impairment (Bumping into things, not being able to catch a ball, etc) a lack of depth perception, and a constant redness of the eyes are the easiest symptoms to notice.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is another eye problem which is commonly observed in Siberian Huskies and often contributes to blindness. The retina of a Husky’s eye begins to deteriorate with PRA. Both progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts are expensive health problems, so you should try to detect them at the early stages.  This disease will also lead to blindness in the Huskies.

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is an inherited disease that affects the Siberian Huskies’ cornea. You’ll find tiny white spots in his cornea if the Husky is dealing with this disease. Husky dogs with this health problem can suffer from opaqueness or even hazy vision sometimes. Unfortunately, there is still no proven treatment to fix corneal dystrophy.

Because Corneal Dystrophy is an inherited disease, it is important to work with your breeder to know if your Husky has an increased risk of this disease. Reputable Husky breeders will be able to provide a family tree for their pups, and you can use this to figure out if corneal dystrophy runs in the family.

How To Prevent These Common Husky Health Issues

In general, the best way to prevent your husky from developing these various health problems is to simply care for your Husky’s health overall.  This includes feeding them a healthy diet, ensuring they get plenty of exercise, maintain his dental hygiene, brush his coat daily (See: Grooming a husky at home), and call a pet emergency hospital immediately if something looks wrong. In addition, make sure to stick to the examination and vaccine schedule that your vet suggests for your Husky.     

It is essential to be aware of proper diet, exercise needs, and basic grooming requirements of your Husky to prevent him from developing these diseases and conditions.

Prevent Husky Health Problems with Proper Nutrition

Through the different stages of his life, feed your Siberian Husky the food that will appeal to  special digestive needs. While any old dog food brand will provide nutrients for your Husky, a breed-specific dog food brand will ensure that they get 100% of the nutrients that they need. As mentioned before, protein, calcium, and phosphorous are vital for a Husky’s development. Most breed-specific Husky food will include these ingredients.

Remember, the quality and the amount of food you feed to your Husky will have the biggest effect on your Husky’s overall health. Just like humans, Huskies are what they eat!

husky health problems issues

Properly Exercising your Husky

Compared to other breeds, Huskies can be territorial, so you should always monitor them if they are with other smaller pets. As they were raised to run the whole day long dragging a sled, if you keep their leash loose, they can run away.

Use a fenced yard and a leash while walking with your Husky.

In addition, never leave your Husky unattended. 

Since they are such an active breed, daily exercise is essential for huskies. This breed was (Literally) made to run, and so they require regular, intense exercise to stay healthy.

For the complete development of a Husky, adequate exercise is required. Huskies are a breed that are adaptable and can survive in any environment. However, during the hottest time of the day, you must be careful when exercising. Because Huskies are built for the cold, they can overheat quickly. In the Summer, only exercise your Husky in the early morning or late evening.

Taking Care of Your Husky’s Grooming Needs

Brush your Husky’s thick coat daily during their shedding months and at least one time a week otherwise.

Aside from the brushing, give your Husky a bath every 6 months to 1 year to maintain good hygiene. Not only does good hygiene make for a happier Husky, but it also goes a long way to preventing diseases and supporting the overall health of your Husky.

Huskies have solid and fast-growing nails. Trim their nails with a good nail clipper on a regular basis. In this way you can avoid overgrowing, cracking, and splitting of nails. This will help keep your Husky from accidentally scratching you, but will also reduce the risks of infection and other Husky health issues.

Examine their ears daily to prevent the accumulation of wax and debris that can lead to ear infections.

Lastly, you will want to check your Husky’s eyes regularly. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, especially one of the symptoms listed above, it is important to take immediate action and call your vet.

How To Deal With Husky Health Problems

As frustrating as it is, nothing can guarantee that your Husky will not develop one of these health problems. However, as an owner, there are many steps you can take to reduce the risks for your Husky. By making sure that you can for their overall health, your Husky will stand the best chance at keeping these Husky health problems at bay.

As mentioned earlier, early detection is key to making sure these health problems do not turn into bigger issues. By knowing the risks and the symptoms, you can make do everything possible to keep your Husky healthy and happy!

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