Health Issues of The Bouvier de Flanders

Knowing about the health concerns and possible conditions which may affect your bouvier des flandres is something you must know, understand and be able to identify. Being aware of these conditions not only empower you to be selective when choosing breeders to deal with – understanding these ailments and symptoms of such gives you a better advantage of avoiding what needs to be avoided.

The most typical health related ailments which plague the bouvier des flanders are the outcome of the improper breeding practices early in the breed’s existence, although it was deemed important to preserve the breed’s other traits. Make sure that you are one who will champion the advocacy of keeping the bouvier breed healthy

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

One of the more common medical conditions of the very active and utterly hardworking bouvier is hip dysplasia. This condition could eventually lead to the canine having to endure arthritic pain later in its life if not given the proper treatments. A proper diet rich in all the needs of a bouvier would also help it along in the management of hip dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia can be recognized as the dog having difficulty in getting up, a reluctance to play, hardship climbing up a flight of steps, hopping and trotting are some of the more obvious symptoms of this. Elbow dysplasia exhibits as lameness in the forelimbs of the dog a diminished ability to flex, extend and hyperextend the front legs. A bouvier suffering from this may not put any weight at all on its front legs.   

Subaortic Stenosis

Subaortic stenosis is a problem that affects dogs and can usually be detected early in the life of a afflicted bouvier. Most commonly occurring in large-breed dogs, subaortic stenosis appears to autosomal recessive in these dogs; the first signs of it may be present at birth (moderate or severe cases) or the usually milder cases may become apparent in the first year. It is around the 12 month age of the bouvier when the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals provides a certification clearing the bouvier of subaortic stenosis


This is a condition that affects the sight of the dog, wherein pressure is put upon the eye, resulting in inadequate drainage of fluids from the eyes. Should the condition becomes chronic or persist without treatment; it will cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, resulting in blindness. Glaucoma was noted to be more common in Bouviers from the Netherlands noting the commonality of feature affecting the left eye of the dog. Dogs with poor drainage angles are the ones most susceptible to the condition which is thought to be polygenic.

Symptoms are not to be ignored and these come forth as behavioural changes in the canine. Eyes are glassy during early stages, excessive “weepy” eye, redness of the blood vessels in the upper whites of the  eyes, cloudy appearance of the eye, sensitivity to light, wanting to sleep all the time, behaviour indicating pain, dilated pupil – or when the pupil does not respond to light, vision impairment or total loss of vision.


When the immune system attacks the thyroid gland of the animal, destruction of the thyroid happens. It is a disease of the metabolism which results from the deficiency of two thyroid gland hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Primary Hypothyroidism results from the atrophy of the thyroid gland. Secondary hypothyroidism is a lack of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone – this could be congenital or acquired. In the case of adult dogs it is usually apparent with a tumor of the pituitary gland.

Symptoms include hair loss, weight gain, and rough skin. The affected dog can develop facial folds, accompanied by reduced mental alertness, gives it a sad, tragic look. The dog may seem cold to the touch, its rectal temp may read lower than usual. Bowel functions change in consistency and regularity from dry feces to occasional diarrhea. Other endocrine and hormonal diseases reportedly developed or manifested by bouviers is Cushing’s disease as well as Addison’s disease.


This is the number one disease that kills dogs each year. Cancer appears when cells subdivide and grow when not needed, turning them into tumors. Tumors are able to travel through the blood and find its way to other parts of the body. A spreading cancer is called metastasis. Cancer is diagnosed through a battery of tests including the collection and study of the sample tissue and checked by a pathologist. Early detection is the key to survival. Behavioral changes can become apparent from a once healthy bouvier. An affected one could show loss of appetite, persistent coughing and wheezing, abnormal swelling in parts of the body, sores that do not heal. The affected dog may find it difficult to chew and/or swallow, may have difficulty breathing, and moving bowel/passing urine.

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