In bringing a corgi into your home, you should be aware of the two varieties of corgis currently recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club). The Cardigan Welsh corgi is the oldest type and is a herding dog. This breed has existed for over a thousand years and has worked alongside humans during that time.
A separate breed called the Pembroke Welsh corgi likely descended from herding dogs and can be differentiated from the Cardigan by its ears, tail, and general size. The smaller of the two is the Pembroke, which has pointed ears instead of round. This breed is also the shorter of the two, while the Cardigan is taller with a longer, more fox-like tail. Though these corgi breeds differ, they do share common Corgi health complications that every corgi owner should know to better understand these dogs.
Common Corgi Health and Mobility Problems
Hip Dysplasia in Corgis
One of the most common issues with corgis is hip dysplasia. This condition affects hip joint development and can cause loss of joint function. Hip dysplasia in corgis usually takes awhile to develop and present symptoms. Telltale signs of hip dysplasia include decreased range of motion, issues standing and jumping, obvious pain or stiffness, and a change in the way the dog walks. Swaying is also an indication that hip dysplasia is occurring.
Depending on the severity of this condition, there are options for treatment your veterinarian can fill you in on such as anti-inflammatory medication for comfort, physical therapy, surgery, and support equipment. Walkin’ Pets offers a variety of slings, harnesses, and pet wheelchairs for sale aid for easing hip dysplasia discomfort as well as sustaining mobility for permanent changes that affect corgis. A wheelchair can allow the dog to utilize the strength in their front legs while not adding pressure to the affected hind quarters.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative condition that affects a dog’s photoreceptors in the eyes. Although PRA occurs in many different breeds, the rcd3 type is a specific form of PRA impacting the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Over time their vision will degrade, eventually leading to blindness. Though PRA isn’t painful, it certainly could contribute to a dog’s declined quality of life. Warning signs can include: nervousness about being in the dark, bumping into things when lighting is dim, abnormally dilated eyes, or a very reflective appearance to the eyes when light shines on them.
Luckily cases of PRA in corgis are going down. Through responsible breed practices, monitoring of genetic carriers, and testing future corgi owners may not have to worry about PRA.
Degenerative myelopathy is a serious nerve and spine condition commonly developed in corgis. It affects the central nervous system, spine, and brain stem, causing problems such as posture issues or muscle atrophy.
A corgi with degenerative myelopathy may experience partial or full limb paralysis or a decrease in muscle mass. There’s no treatment available to reverse DM, but the condition can be managed with medication and use of a pet wheelchair. The use of a corgi wheelchair will promote mobility and slow down the progression of degenerative myelopathy in your corgi.
Due to a corgi’s build and long back they are prone to spinal and back problems. Intervertebral Disk Disease or IVDD is a prevalent spinal condition impacting the corgi breed. According to Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM the IVDD in corgi’s may be more common than you might think, “Approximately 15% of corgis will develop intervertebral disc disease in their lifetime.”
There are two types of IVDD your corgi may experience. Type I IVDD causes disk ruptures that can leave a corgi suddenly paralyzed for hours to days. Usually impacting younger, active dogs. It’s not uncommon for IVDD to leave a corgi permanently paralyzed. The second IVDD variation is Type II. Type II IVDD is age-related disk degeneration impacting senior corgi mobility. Symptoms of Type II IVDD may be occur gradually with the corgi showing few signs of pain.
Dr. Burch says that, “corgis paralyzed from IVDD have an 80 to 90% chance of walking again if deep pain is present at the time of surgery. Patients with no evidence of deep pain within 48 hours of injury have a 50% chance of walking again. With no evidence of deep pain for more than 48 hours after injury, dogs have a 5% chance of walking again.”
Surgery and crate rest can be key to IVDD recovery, however many corgis with IVDD will need the support of a corgi wheelchair or corgi back brace for the rest of their life.
Helping Your Corgi Live Their Best Life
When it comes to common corgi health complications, it seems that the things that make them so cute –such as their build and leg height—are unfortunately also things that cause them pain. Staying vigilant in watching for warning signs will help you aid your corgi immediately if these problems should arise. The better corgi health problems are managed, the greater their quality of life your corgi will have.