Although the Norwegian Lundehund is a very healthy dog, there are some diseases you can find in the breed. The diseases that are typical for this breed are partly attributable to the fact that all current Lundies descended from a small number of related individuals and thus originate from inbreeding.
Because of the small gene pool, it's important to be alert on possible health issues. They can be easily spread to a large part of the population.
Health testing is not an option, it is a responsibility!
PL isn't common in the breed, it is advised NOT to check patellas for this breed, as we need to use as much dogs as possible for breeding. But because I want to know what I'm breeding with, I will always check the patellas.
A luxating patella is the term used for a slipping knee cap. It may be a result from a traumatic injury or congenital deformities. The patella protects the large tendon of the thigh muscle as it rides over the front of the femur while the quadriceps is straighten. Patella luxation may develop soon after birth or will generally be seen after four months of age. Sometimes only one knee is involved, but the disease can become bilateral. Dislocation can occur on either the inside surface or outside surface of the knee.
Signs of Patella Luxation: Pain, skipping gait, lameness, stiffness of the hind leg.
Grading of Patella Luxation:
Grade 0 The patella can't be luxated.
Grade I The patella can be manually luxated, but easily comes back into normal position. The dog may or may not occasionally carry the affected leg.
Grade II The patella luxates on flexion of the knee joint and remains out of place until manually replaced or the dog extends and rotates the joint. The dog intermittently carries the affected limb with the knee joint flexed.
Grade III The patella remains luxated most of the time but can be manually placed back into position. Flexion and extension of the knee joint reluxates the patella. The dog transfers most of the body weight to the front legs, bunny hops or carries the affected legs, and appears bowlegged or knock-kneed.
Grade IV The patella is permanently luxated and cannot be manually repositioned. The quadriceps muscle group starts to shorten, making it difficult to extend the leg fully. The dog transfers most of the body weight to the front legs, bunny hops or carries the affected legs, and appears bowlegged or knock-kneed.
Cataracts also isn't common in the breed, also for Cataracts it is advised NOT to check for in this breed.
A cataract is an opacity in the lens of a dog’s eye, causing him to have blurry vision. If the cataract is small, it won’t likely disturb the dog’s vision too much, but cataracts must be monitored because the thicker and denser they become, the more likely it is they will lead to blindness. Cataracts can develop from disease, old age and trauma to the eye, but inherited conditions are the most common cause. Cataracts may be present at birth or develop when a dog is very young-between one and three years of age. A high-incidence of cataracts is also often attributed to diabetes. An untreated cataract may “luxate” or slip from the tissue that holds it in place, freeing it to float around in the eye where it may settle and block natural fluid drainage. This can lead to glaucoma, which can cause permanent blindness. Cataracts may also begin to dissolve after some time, causing deep, painful inflammation in the eye. In most cases, cataracts cannot be prevented, but there are steps to take to ensure that your dog’s vision can be preserved, especially if they are caused by a medical condition like diabetes.
(Persistent pupillary membranes)
PPM's are very common in the Lundehund. In some breeds PPM is a problem, but in the Lundehund it isn't. It CAN become a problem when it is iris to lens PPM.
Persistent pupillary membranes, or PPMs as they are often called are common findings on CERF examinations. They may or may not be a problem in a breed and/or individual dogs. PPMs are remnants of a fetal structure called the pupillary membrane. This membrane covers the pupil before an animal is born. It is part of the blood supply to the developing lens (the structure in the eye that focuses light on the retina). Normally the pupillary membrane completely absorbs before birth in foals and calves but is partially present and continues to disappear in neonatal dogs. Absorption may not be complete in puppies when the eyes first open and small strands or a web-like structure may be seen across the pupil. These strands normally disappear by four to five weeks of age. In some dogs these strands do not disappear and become PPMs.
PPMs may be found in several configurations in the anterior chamber. They may span across the pupil (iris to iris), from the iris to the lens, from the iris to the cornea, or they may float free on one end, only connected to the iris. In general, iris to iris PPMs cause no problems. They may be single strands or a forked structure. These PPMs may break and become less prominent as the puppy gets older, but they usually do not disappear completely. Iris to lens PPMs are more problematical. These PPMs cause opacities (cataracts) at the point where they are attached to the lens capsule. The cataracts do not usually progress and cause only minor visual deficits. Iris to cornea PPMs cause opacities on the cornea due to their ability to damage the corneal endothelium (the inner lining of the cornea). These opacities may be small or may be severe due to the development of corneal edema (fluid in the cornea). Severely affected puppies (with numerous strands) may be blind (they may improve as they get older). The strands may regress but do not disappear.
PPMs are found in many breeds of dog. In most of these breeds, iris to iris PPMs are classified by CERF as a "breeder option" problem. This means that most of the PPMs which have been reported in these breeds have been small and are probably sporadically occurring and not hereditary defects. Dogs with these small iris to iris PPMs who have been bred have not been reported to have puppies with vision problems. This does not mean that problems will never occur in these breeds. Owners with dogs diagnosed with PPMs should be aware of the situation and should probably either not breed affected dogs or should breed the affected dogs only to unaffected dogs.
IL is the most serious illness in this breed, when you're considering adding a Lundehund to your family, you need to make sure you know how to recognize this diseases.
Lundehund Intestinal Syndrome is a combination of stomach and intestinal diseases:
Intestinal Lymphangiectasia (IL)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE)
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
Low serum protein, especially albumin (sometimes that is the only sign)
Weight loss, especially loss of muscle mass
Loss of appetite
Swollen abdomen (looks pregnant) and/or swollen legs
Onset: any age, dogs from 6 months to 10 years have gotten it.
At this point, the cause is totally unknown. Certainly there is a genetic predisposition to the disease, and then something sets it off. Intestinal infections (viral, parasitic, and bacterial) have been implicated. Periods of stress (boarding, estrus, pregnancy, dog shows) seem to bring on episodes. The Lymphangiectasia component can be either a congenital blockage of lymph vessels or an adult blockage of the lymphatics by inflammatory cells. The IBD component is likely a hypersensitivity/allergy to protein antigens (either from food or bacteria) that are in or pass through their GI tract. In IBD the normal protective mechanisms of the intestines are reduced, allowing increasing leakage in the intestinal wall so that the intestines are exposed to substances they would not normally see.
I have no experience with IL, because my Lundehunds never got ill (yet). I think this is partly because of the food I give my dogs. I give them raw food, based on the prey model, this is a very natural way of feeding. Try to feed as much kind of proteins as possible, and no chemical additions or wheats.
The most important for the dog is a good and stable life with very few stress. The dog has to live in the house with the people he/she is living with. Neutering is strongly discouraged, as the procedure might trigger IL.
Some Lundies adapt difficult, so it's very important to get your Lundehund at a breeder who puts lots of time and effort in socializing the puppies, but of course the new owner has to continue socializing it's puppy.
SA quite common in the breed.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) is a hereditary skin disease in which the sebaceous glands become inflamed, often leading to progressive loss of hair. The disease is primarily seen in Standard Poodles, Akitas, and Samoyeds, although there have been reported cases in a number of other breeds and mixed breeds as well. The disease can develop in a wide age range, with age of onset documented as early as 1 year and as late as 12 years. Males and females appear to be affected equally. The exact mode of inheritance is unknown.
SA can be difficult as the symptoms vary by breed, the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases such as hypothyroidism or allergies, and the disease can vary greatly in its severity. Visible symptoms include excessive dandruff or scaling, hair loss, lesions, a musty odor, and even secondary skin infections. On the other hand, dogs affected with SA can be subclinical and show no outward signs of the disease.
There is no DNA test available to genotypically detect SA. Currently, diagnosis is based on skin biopsy samples, and unfortunately the current screening method may result in false negatives.