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Determining Your Portuguese Water Dog Puppy’s Health

Before you bring a Portuguese Water Dog puppy into your household, you need to take a close look at the dog's vaccination records, test results for genetic disorders, and visual signs of the pup's good health.

Select a veterinarian before you choose a puppy. Your vet may provide insight into Portuguese Water Dogs. After you pick out your puppy, the breeder you select should supply records of any shots the dog has received. As part of the puppy's physical exam, your vet will discuss what further vaccinations your pet needs.

When you work with a Portuguese Water Dog breeder, you'll probably meet several puppies that are available for purchase. Look for these signs that a young dog is healthy:

  • Clear, bright eyes, with no discharge

  • A nose free of discharge; neither hot nor dry to the touch

  • A healthy coat; no bald spots

  • Ears clean and free of odor

Starting with a healthy puppy is important. Portuguese Water Dog breeders who are members of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America are required to have their puppies tested for specific diseases that may be hereditary in the breed.

Before you buy your puppy, ask the breeder for written test the test results for the following genetic disorders:

  • Dysplasia in hips and elbows. Portuguese Water Dog breeders test sires and dams for abnormal development of certain joints, particularly the hips.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Portuguese Water Dog breeders have all puppies tested by a veterinary ophthalmologist. They check to make sure they are free of Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can result in blindness.

  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or ( JDCM). A puppy's parents can be tested for the recessive gene that both must carry to produce JDCM, a condition that causes sudden death in puppies between the ages of 5 weeks to 7 months of age. Both parents must carry this recessive gene for it to affect a puppy. Ask the breeder if the parents have been tested.

  • GM1 Storage Disease, or GM1. Responsible breeders test their dogs and will not breed dogs that carry the genetic marker for this fatal disease. GM1 is a recessive, genetic disorder that is caused by a lack of a specific enzyme that allows the build up of toxic substances in the nerve cells.

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