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What You Need to Know About Havanese Health

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Stay away from any breeder who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.


The Havanese has the potential to develop a number of health problems.

They include Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, luxating patellas, various eye problems, deafness, hypothyroidism, and heart problems.


Here’s a brief rundown on a few of the more common conditions you should know about.


Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease affects a wide range of small breeds, including Havanese. The blood supply to the head of the femur (the ball in the ball and socket joint of the hip) is inadequate, which causes the head of the femur to degrade. It's unclear what causes legg-perthes, but it’s been said to be possibly inherited or injury related.


Patellar luxation happens when the knee cap pops out of normal position. It can range in severity from mild (causing very little problem for the dog except for increased risk of knee injury and arthritis later in life) to severe (which may require surgery).


Cataracts are an opacity that forms in the lens of the eye, and either clouds or blocks vision. Sometimes, surgical treatment is recommended. However, if the cataract isn't causing pain or other medical issues, understand that most dogs, including Havanese, get around just fine when they're blind.


Congenital deafness is screened for with the BAER test, but there is no treatment. However, dogs adapt better to deafness than people do. They can be trained to respond to hand signals.



Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and sometimes a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices.  However, advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life.

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