PBGV HEALTH ISSUES
On the whole, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a fairly healthy breed. However, just as any
other breed, they are subject to a number of health problems, some of which are known to be, or
strongly suspected of being inherited.
This is a brief overview of the more common health problems that may effect PBGVs. It does not
mean that your dog will get this problem nor is it meant to replace a vet's diagnosis,but more to act
as a guide to prospective puppy owners for questions to ask their breeders.
PBGV Pain Syndrome (Auto-Immune Related Illness)
PBGV pain syndrome is a condition that affects adolescent dogs 6 to 18 months of age. It is
characterized by bouts of pain, fever, and/or listlessness. The intensity of the pain varies greatly,
from very mild in some dogs to quite severe in others. Some dogs suffer only a single episode but
most affected dogs have several. One of the more severe forms affects the cervical area of the
neck, giving the problem its common names: "the neck thing" and, more formally,
"steroid-responsive meningitis." Affected dogs eventually outgrow the problem, although a few
have suffered permanent complications or have been euthanatized as a result of this condition.
Inherited epilepsy is a condition that causes dogs to experience seizures for no apparent reason.
There is a great deal of variation in the number, frequency, and severity of the seizures. Some
affected dogs experience only one or a few seizures during their whole life, while others have them
on a regular basis. When necessary, this condition can usually be managed successfully with
medication. Some dogs, however, fail to respond to medication or are so severely affected that
they have to be euthanatized.
Glaucoma and Lens Luxation
Glaucoma and lens luxation are eye problems that have been identified in PBGVs only recently,
and this explains why many people are still unaware of them. In glaucoma, the pressure inside the
eyeball rises and eventually damages the optic nerve, causing blindness. In lens luxation, the lens
tilts out if its normal position, again causing blindness. Both eyes are usually affected. These
conditions affect dogs around 5 years of age and generally occur together, although it is not yet
clear how they are related.
Allergies (Auto-Immune Related Illness)
In PBGVs, allergies manifest themselves primarily as chronic inflammation of the ears or as redness
of the feet or armpits. In addition to these non-specific allergies, cases of food allergy, flea-bite
allergy, hay fever, vaccine reactions, and others have been recorded. These are generally no more
than an annoyance, but severely affected dogs can suffer quite a bit of discomfort. Of greater
concern are a few cases of anaphylactic shock caused by vaccines, although it is possible that the
vaccines themselves were the culprits in these cases. Both traditional and alternative therapies are
available to assist the allergic dog.
Inguinal and Umbilical Hernias
Inguinal and umbilical hernias are congenital defects of the muscles of the abdomen. A weakness in
the muscles allows the internal organs to protrude and form a "bubble" under the skin on the belly
(umbilical hernia) or in the groin (inguinal hernia.) The condition sometimes corrects itself as the
puppy grows, but surgery can be required. Prior to corrective surgery, life-threatening
complications are possible but uncommon.
Patellar Luxation and Hip Dysplasia
Patellar luxation ("trick knee") and hip dysplasia are orthopedic problems caused by the abnormal
development of the knee and hip joints, respectively. Patellar luxation is the more common of the
two disorders. Both occur in relatively mild form in the PBGV, resulting in a "hopping" gait,
lameness and occasionally leading to arthritis in old age. The problem generally occurs only on one
side, and surgical intervention is rarely required.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce a sufficient amount of
thyroid hormones. Symptoms include obesity, lethargy, poor coat quality, dry, scaly skin,
intolerance to cold, and, some suggest, irritability or aggression. This condition usually becomes
noticeable in middle-aged or older dogs, but seriously affected individuals can show symptoms at
any age. Hypothyroidism can be treated effectively through daily administration of inexpensive
Persistent Pupillary Membranes and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia
Persistent pupillary membranes (PPMs) and multifocal retinal dysplasia (retinal folds) are congenital
eye defects that are considered by some to be cosmetic. The dog's vision is usually unaffected and
the defects often become less detectable as the dog gets older.