Generally, the Bull Arab is a hardy and healthy breed; this hardiness is, in part, due to its various crossbreed ancestors. However, all dog breeds are susceptible to some medical illnesses and issues, and the Bull Arab is no exception. Here are the most common medical conditions and diseases in this breed.
One form of bloat is gastric dilatation, which occurs when gas fills the dog’s stomach. The other type of bloat is gastric dilatation and volvulus, where the stomach, filled with gas, twists on itself. Both these types of bloat are dangerous and potentially life-threatening because they obstruct blood flow. These conditions can be resolved through surgery; gastric dilatation requires pumping of the stomach, and gastric dilatation-volvulus involves emergency surgery. Without treatment for bloat, a dog is likely to die.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by repeated, sudden and uncontrollable seizures. These fits are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures typically occur while the dog is sleeping at night, although they can occur when the dog is fully conscious as well. Most seizures last for anywhere between 10 to 60 seconds, although some seizures, called grand mal, can last several minutes. Epilepsy is often a side effect of other medical conditions, such as stroke, cancer, and liver disease, although some seizures, known as idiomatic, occur without explanation. There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can be controlled with medications.
During a seizure, a dog will usually fall on his side, chew at his mouth, salivate, paddle its limbs, release its bladder or bowels, and yelp in pain. Post-seizure, a dog can appear to be disoriented and confused.
Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
PLL is an eye disorder wherein the lens of the eye is dislocated due to weakened or broken supportive ligaments called the zonular fibres. This is a highly painful condition, and in some cases, can result in blindness. Dogs between the ages of 3 and 6 are more likely to develop this condition. Because PLL is hereditary in Bull Terriers, a significant part of the Bull Arab breed, Bull Arabs are also prone to this issue.
Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of a dog’s testicles fail to fall to the scrotum. The testes usually develop near the kidneys and descend to the scrotum at some point between the age of 2 – 6 months. With cryptorchidism, the testicles are retained in the inguinal region or the abdomen. If the testicles do not descend, infertility could result. Another related medical complication is spermatic cord tension, where it twists, causing sudden abdominal pain. In rare cases, testicular cancer may occur inside the retained testicles. The best approach to addressing this condition is neutering and removing the retained testicles immediately.
Cataracts are partial or complete cloudiness or opacity in the eye’s lenses; they typically occur in both eyes. Dogs who have more than 60% lens opacity can suffer from partial or complete blindness. This condition is progressive; without treatment, a dog will go blind. Cataracts are usually hereditary, but some instances can be triggered by toxins or infections while a puppy is in utero. Surgery is the best treatment for this condition.
A common skeletal condition often found in large to giant breed dogs is hip dysplasia. This disease affects the hip joint, specifically the ball and socket. With hip dysplasia, the ball and socket don’t develop or fit properly. Over time, this joint rubs and wears down instead of sliding smoothly. The result is a loss of function in the hip joint.
A genetic condition, hip dysplasia and the degree of its severity are dependent on factors such as improper nutrition or weight, excessive growth rate, athletic activities, and types of exercise. Hip dysplasia may also occur in conjunction with the onset of osteoarthritis. This condition can be managed with a variety of approaches, including physical therapy, joint supplements, anti-inflammatory medications, water therapy, cutting back on exercise on hard surfaces, and weight reduction/diet. With treatment, a dog with hip dysplasia can live a long life