Potential Skin & Eye Health Concerns Of The Poodle

Well-bred Poodles are hardy, long-lived dogs who enjoy good health all their days. However, Poodles can be subject to certain health conditions, and the wise Poodle puppy buyer should be aware of these problems and avoid them whenever possible.

As with humans, Poodles have many health concerns that are hereditary in nature. Many of these can be avoided by careful investigation on the new owner's part by asking the breeder about the health background of the puppy's parents. For example, have the parents been tested for such conditions as cataracts that can cause blindness? Does either of the parents have epilepsy and, if so, how is it controlled? Has either parent experienced orthopedic problems and, if so, how serious were they?

Here we take a closer look at some health conditions that have been found in Poodles as well as many other breeds of dog. Please note that not all Poodles experience these conditions. However, it behooves the puppy buyer to be well informed regarding potential health concerns of the breed under consideration. Also note that responsible breeders do not breed from any dog that is known to have or carry any hereditary problems.

Poodle Eye Problems: A cataract is a cloudiness or film over the lens of the eye, categorized by age of onset, location on the eye and stage of the cloudiness. This condition is hereditary, and parents should be tested before breeding takes place to prevent this condition from being passed on.

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, is caused by an increase in fluid pressure within the eye. It can be hereditary, and parents should be tested prior to breeding. Miniature Poodles are prone to narrow-angle glaucoma, which produces pain and redness in the eyes. The treatment is medical and/or surgical.

Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, refers to inherited disorders affecting the retina of the eye. Visual impairment is slow but progressive. Night blindness can be the first signal of trouble, and there is no known way to stop onset.

Poodle Skin Problems: Atopic dermatitis refers to an unusual or atypical condition of the derma or skin. It can be difficult to diagnose.

Sebaceous adenitis is inflammatory damage to hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is most often seen in Standard Poodles but also seen in Toys and Miniatures. It is a hereditary condition. There is no known cure, but treatment to control it includes frequent bathing
to reduce surface scale and to increase moisture to the skin.

Color dilution alopecia is an anomaly that usually occurs in dogs bred for unusual coat colors, such as those described as "blue," which is a diluted form of black. The condition, when it occurs, is not curable. Moisturizers and frequent shampooing can lessen the incidence of dry, scaly skin.

Seborrhea is an abnormal and excessive discharge from the sebaceous glands in the skin; it must be treated medically.

Step By Step Instructions For Bathing Your Poodle

1. Only after completing the brushing should you move on to the bath. This is so because if the Poodle's coat is not tangle-free, the accumulated dirt will not shampoo out and any mats will be even harder to remove.

2. Secure a hose to the bathtub faucet so that ample free-flowing water is available at all times.

3. Have all your necessary supplies close at hand, for once you have started the bath you should remain by the Poodle's side to reassure him and to make sure he does not jump out of the tub. A dog shampoo (preferably "tearless"), sponge, brush, and towel will be needed.

4. Until you are adept at giving proper baths to your pet, place cotton plugs in your dog's ears to avoid any water getting into the ear canal.

5. The dog must be thoroughly soaked with warm water before he is soaped. Once you have worked the water down to his skin, soap and cleanse the coat along the spine; move next to the legs and the underside.

6. Be especially careful when cleaning the head and ears to avoid direct contact with the sensitive areas. Unless you have a special "no tear" shampoo, it would be wise to apply several drops of mineral oil into the dog's eyes to avoid stinging.

7. Since a dog's coat naturally repels water, you must actively massage the shampoo down through the layers to the skin. Rub vigorously and work the shampoo into a lather. Depending on the condition of the coat, you may have to shampoo the dog twice to get out all accumulated dirt and oil.

8. It is imperative that all traces of soap be removed from the coat after the bath. Several rinses with warm water, again working your fingers down to the skin, will ensure that no soapy residue will remain on the skin to cause irritation.

9. Once you are satisfied that all soap has been washed out, rinse him once more for good measure!

10. Squeeze as much water as possible from the coat before you lift him out of the tub. This will considerably shorten the drying time. Rub him briskly with a towel to blot up as much excess water as possible and to prevent him from getting a chill. If you have an enclosed area such as a drying cage, put him in and direct your hot air blower over him. You can leave him in the cage until he is dry, and then brush him to make sure he is dry down to the skin. However, if you have a show dog you can leave him in the cage only until he is partially dry, and then proceed to "fluff" dry him by brushing the coat while having the stream of air directed at your work area. This produces the powder puff look needed for competition...

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