Dalillu Dalmatians
 

Health & Diet

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 If you are thinking about bringing a Dalmatian into your home, there are certain health issues to be aware of.  Most Dalmatians are robust, healthy dogs, free of many of the concerns of other breeds such as cardiac and ocular ailments.

 The primary health issue in Dalmatians is deafness.  Deafness and the merle gene (of which spotting is) unfortunately go hand in hand.  Roughly about 8% of Dalmatians are born deaf, with another 20% born unilaterally deaf, meaning the loss of hearing in one ear.  Unilateral deaf Dalmatians make fine pets, as many people are unaware their pet is afflicted. 

Hearing is tested using BAER - Brainsteam Auditory Evoked Response.  This can usually only be done at certain facilities as not all veterinarians have the specialised equipment to perform such testing.  All Dalmatians intended for breeding should be BAER tested, as well as having the puppies tested also as deafness is hereditary.   

 Of another concern is stone formation in the kidneys.  Dalmatians cannot digest a protein called purine, found in high amounts in red meat, offal, sardines and some vegetables.  These purines have the potential to form crystals and stones in the urinary tract, causing discomfort, pain and sometimes in extreme cases, blockages.  Males are more at risk from blockages than females due to their urinary tract anatomy.  

Signs your Dalmatian may be suffering from stones are difficultly urinating, blood in the urine, frequently licking their genital area, increased water intake and generally feeling unwell.  Urinary blockages are an emergency situation, so vet care without delay is essential for a positive outcome.  Treatments for stones range from medications to dissolve the stones, to surgical removal, to the extreme of a scrotal urethrostomy.

Here are some links and information on stones that every potential and current Dalmatian owner should read and research:

http://www.britishdalmatianclub.org.uk/health/index.php?action=urinary_stones_detailed

http://www.britishdalmatianclub.org.uk/downloads/CarrollWeissStones.pdf

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=1683 


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