When considering any breed, it is important to take into account some of the health issues that occur more commonly. If you know what can go wrong, you will be able to prepare for it. So, what health problems do Aussiedoodles have?
Aussiedoodles can inherit health issues from both their Poodle and Australian Shepherd parents. From the Australian Shepherd side, Aussiedoodles are prone to drug sensitivity, eye issues, and color-related problems. From the Poodle they may inherit hip dysplasia, glaucoma, thyroid issues, and cancers, amongst other things.
Some people think hybrid breeds are less prone to genetic issues, but that’s not always true. Aussiepoos are very healthy dogs in general, but there are still some issues that are more common in the breed and should be considered.
Whether you are adopting your Aussiedoodle or getting it from a breeder, it is important to know what may go wrong. This means that you can prepare in terms of cost, and catch these problems a lot earlier. So, let’s look at some of the common health issues in Aussiedoodles.
Common Health Issues Aussiedoodles Inherited from Poodles
This can be a debilitating disease. It occurs when the socket and the joint of the hip no longer fit well together due to various reasons. It may cause your Aussiedoodle an incredible amount of pain, and prevent this very active breed from exercising.
The origins of hip dysplasia are largely genetic. However, exercising your Aussiedoodle too much as a puppy, or injuries to the joints as they form, may increase the prevalence and severity of hip dysplasia.
Treatment can include costly surgery. However, hip dysplasia usually occurs in older dogs that may not be able to undergo such a procedure. Alternatively, medication is used to treat pain and inflammation.
Glaucoma in your Aussiedoodle can not be reversed. Glaucoma can be a variety of conditions that affect the optic nerve of a dog. If your Aussiedoodle inherits this genetic condition it may be completely blind by the time it reaches maturity.
Sometimes Glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery, but more often than not this is ineffective. Symptoms include anything from visible eye discomfort, to simply a cloudy appearance of the eyes.
This is a largely genetic skin disease. It may result in your Aussiedoodle losing its hair completely, but may just affect hair texture or color. Although this is not deadly, it can cause other issues such as sunburn or bacterial infection.
Treatment for your Aussiepoo includes sulfur-containing shampoo and changes in diet that encourage the growth of a healthy coat as the hair returns.
This occurs when your Aussiedoodle’s adrenal glands are not functioning properly. This can be due to tumors or previous medication. They will overproduce cortisol, a stress hormone.
This is not deadly by itself, but cortisol can cause kidney damage and other conditions if the overproduction is not treated. Symptoms include hair loss, lack of appetite, and thinning skin. In later stages, symptoms of diabetes such as thirst increased urination, and more may occur.
Treatment includes medication to control hormone levels. If the adrenal gland issues are due to a tumor, surgery may be required to benefit your Aussiepoo in the long term.
Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, occurs in many breeds, including Poodles and Aussiedoodles. This can also be referred to as a turned or flipped stomach. This is when the dog’s stomach fills with gas, which results in it twisting.
This is an emergency situation that often results in the death of a dog. Some symptoms include a swollen abdomen that’s obviously painful and retching or vomiting with nothing coming out.
This condition cannot be treated except through surgery. Rather, prevention is recommended. Don’t feed your Aussiedoodle large meals, and avoid exercising an Aussiedoodle soon after it has eaten. If your puppy is very food driven, then you may want to encourage it to eat slower through the use of a slow feeder bowl.
In many cases, good breeding can prevent genetic conditions. Bloating is not one of those instances. Almost every Aussiepoo will be at risk.
Von Willebrand Disease
The Von Willebrand factor is a protein involved in platelets and clotting. Von Willebrand disease refers to a lack of this factor or a malfunction in it. Poodles and Aussiepoos with Von Willebrand disease will struggle with blood clotting, meaning that even the smallest injuries can become life-threatening issues.
Even something as simple as bruises, which are bleeding under the skin, can cause serious blood loss and anemia. Because of the thick coat of Aussiedoodles, picking up small injuries can be quite difficult.
Treatment is very expensive and usually consists of transfusions. This can be platelet transfusions to encourage clotting. It can also be plasma transfusion to transfer the Von Willebrand factor and temporarily encourage platelet activity.
There is no definite cure for Von Willebrand disease though. Rather, there are only temporary treatments for your Aussiepoo.
Hemangiosarcoma is a deadly, fast-spreading cancer that starts in the epithelial cells. These are cells that make up the skin, as well as the lining of the liver, spleen, lungs, heart, and more.
Symptoms vary depending on where the cancer starts but may include a swollen abdomen, or very pale mucous membranes.
If you get lucky, surgery will be enough to remove cancer, but because it spreads so quickly, chemotherapy and radiation are often required. The earlier you can identify this cancer, the better.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system. This means that it spreads throughout the body very quickly. Surgery in these areas is very difficult because the lymph system is essential for white blood cell production.
Symptoms in your Aussiedoodle may include fevers and enlarged lymph nodes. Sometimes chemotherapy and radiation can be used to try to minimize cancer but it is often too late for serious remissions by the time cancer has been identified.
Common Health Issues Inherited from Australian Shepherds
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Like the Poodle, Australian Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia. Australian Shepherds are also at risk of elbow dysplasia though. This condition can easily be passed on to your Aussiedoodle if you are not careful.
Treatment for hip and elbow dysplasia are identical.
Multiple Drug Resistance
Australian Shepherds may carry the MDR1 gene. This is a multiple drug resistance gene. Drugs that should be avoided if your Aussiepoo may have this gene include most of those used in anti-parasitic medications, such as Ivermectin. Some of the drugs that should be avoided also include those used in oral tick and flea medications and anesthetics.
There is no treatment for this condition. If your Aussiedoodle has a bad reaction to medication it may result in seizures, and even death. The only way to know if your Aussiedoodle has the MDR1 gene is to have it tested or to know that the parents were tested and completely clear.
This problem causes clouding in the lens of the Aussiedoodle’s eye. It can be mild, in which case it can be treated with eye drops. If it is severe then it may need to be treated surgically. They can appear within the first two years of the Aussiepoo’s life.
Symptoms usually start with clouding on the surface of the eyes. Your Aussiedoodle may also show signs of discomfort or irritation, such as rubbing at the eye.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This condition can be caused by a variety of diseases. It causes degeneration in the photoreceptor cells. This causes night blindness, and eventually complete blindness by as young as two years old.
This is a recessive gene, which means even if one parent has it, your puppy may be fine. However, a dog may be a carrier without showing any symptoms, leading to blindness in future generations. For this reason, it is important to have the parents tested even if there is no immediate history of progressive retinal atrophy.
Genetic epilepsy in Aussiedoodles can display itself in two forms. It can be a lifelong condition, which can only be treated with medication but never cured. It can also be something that your Aussiepoo grows out of by a year or two.
Epilepsy may not seem too bad, but it can cause permanent brain damage. This brain damage, or a series of strong episodes, can kill your Aussiedoodle.
Lipomas are a kind of fatty tumor that forms under the skin. Usually, they are not deadly but can cause your dog some discomfort.
The only way to make sure that it is not something to be concerned about is to consult your vet. Aussiedoodles with one lipoma usually develops several over the course of their lifetime, which can get expensive. In many cases, the vet will recommend surgical removal if they are concerned about cancer spreading which can also result in a more serious situation.
Double Merle/ Lethal White Genes
The merle coat pattern is very popular in Australian Shepherds as well as Aussiepoos. Unfortunately, many uneducated breeders will breed two merle dogs together in an effort to get more merle puppies. This results in what is known as a double merle, or lethal white gene.
The genes in a double merle Aussiedoodle are such that the puppy is far more likely to have hearing and vision problems, or experience severe seizures. For this reason, you should be very careful when buying a second or third-generation Aussiedoodle.
Whether two Aussiedoodles with merle genes are bred together, or a merle Aussiedoodle with a merle Australian Shepherd is irrelevant. Both combinations result in some double merle puppies.
It may seem very easy to pick up on a possible double-merle puppy by looking at the coats of the parents, but there is also something known as a cryptic merle. This is where a dog is genetically merle, but for some reason, its coat looks like a non-merle dog’s.
Sometimes only a small patch of the dog appears merle and is missed. If only the tail appears merle and your Aussiedoodle or Australian Shepherd is docked, then no amount of searching will find any physical indications of the merle gene.
These are very rare, but still possible. The breeder of my current Australian Shepherd has had two in the last five years. For this reason, the parents should always be tested for the merle gene before breeding second-generation Aussiedoodles.
Do Aussiedoodle Generations Affect Their Health?
The short answer to whether or not the Aussiedoodle’s generation affects its health is, yes. If you have an Aussiedoodle that is half Australian Shepherd, half Poodle, it will have 50% of each parent breed’s genetics.
If a first-generation Aussiepoo is mixed with a Poodle again, it would have 75% Poodle genetics. The opposite is true if it is mixed with an Australian Shepherd again.
If there is more of one breed than another in your Aussiedoodle, the likelihood of it inheriting any issues from that breed increases.
How to Ensure your Aussiedoodle Puppy is Healthy
Choose a Reputable and Registered Breeder
If you use a reputable breeder who has tested the parent dogs of the litter, you will know immediately what your Aussiepoo would be at risk for. Likewise, you will know what you should not have to worry about.
This is especially true for conditions such as the MDR1 gene and Glaucoma.
Do Your Research
You may not necessarily want to purchase an Aussiedoodle from a breeder. If you want to adopt, the history of the puppy may not be clear. In cases like this, doing your research on the breed is very important.
If you find out what health problems Aussiepoos have, then you will be more likely to pick up signs of a problem in the early stages. This could mean the difference between short-term treatment, and a lifelong condition. It may even help you identify issues in the Aussiedoodle before you bring it into your family.
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