Know Your Dog Better: Beagle Health Problems

Clarisse was clearly upset, when her best friend’s pet beagle died suddenly. She started feeling very low and always was under the fear that something terrible like that may happen to her dog as well. It took us around a month to convince and assure her that nothing like would happen. But deep inside my heart, I knew that I had given my daughter false assurance. Every day at the vet clinic, I come across so many cute little beagles suffering from severe health problems. And I must say that we are not always successful in curing them. I had always wished that the owners are a little bit more cautious and that they understand the symptoms of bad health, so that the beagle’s treatment can be started at an early stage. Clarisse’s panic and fear actually made me come across the next topic that I would like to discuss with my readers; those proud owners of the beagles. And this time, the issue is important because it will give you information on Beagle health problems.

In this regard, there is one thing I would love to assure my readers with. Beagles are basically a healthy breed of the dog. So, you must not worry before having one of these small little packages of adventure that you will have to constantly worry about him getting sick. But, as everybody does, they too have certain health related problems, and these problems we are going to discuss in our next segment. So, if you love your pet, then remain glued to us for the next couple of minutes.

The common health problems that the beagles face are as follows:

a) Cherry Eye
b) Glaucoma
c) Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy
d) Hypothyroidism
e) Dwarfism
f) Elongated Palate
g) Ear Infection
h) Heart Diseases
i) Invertebral Disk Disease
j) Epilepsy
k) Umbilical Hernia

We will discuss each of them one by one, so that the next time your dog is suffering from any health disturbances, you will know about it at the very beginning.

Cherry Eye

The most common health problem that a beagle faces is that of Cherry Eye. This condition is also known by the names of “nictitans gland prolapse” where the gland of the third eyelid emerges out of the normal position and gets red and swollen. This has the appearance like that of a cherry and hence the name. The symptoms are as follows:

  •  A pink or red mass protrudes from the corner of the eye at a close proximity to the nose.
  •  Mucous discharge from the eye.
  •  Reddening of the lining of the eyelid.
  •  Scratching at the affected area.

Treat this problem of the beagle with a surgery where the gland gets repositioned.


In case of the glaucoma, the fluid pressure increases within the eye. And if this pressure is not given enough consideration to reduce in time, then permanent damage to the retina or optic nerve may cause visual disability. This condition may be inherited or developed because of injury, displacement of the lens, or cataracts. Beagles get more affected by open eye glaucoma where iridocorneal angle at which the cornea is joined with the iris is wide. Glaucoma causes a lot of headache or pain in the form of migraine. Thus, the symptoms are:

  • Sluggishness or unwillingness of the animal to perform any activity
  • Poor appetite
  • Behavioral change

In order to save your dog’s eyesight, try to understand the symptoms as early as possible so that treatment can be started quickly.

Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This eye condition of the beagle develops when he is a bit older. Here, deterioration can be witnessed in the rods and cones of the retina with the growing age of the beagle. Central vision of the dog is lost in this respect. This condition is often diagnosed at an early age of 2 years, although peripheral vision remains intact till further ageing happens.


Beagles are perhaps that dog breed that are most affected by hypothyroidism. In this condition, the dog’s system fails to produce thyroid hormone in sufficient amounts due to certain hormonal condition. This happens either due to weak immune system or due to certain toxins, medications or even lack of exercise. Hypothyroidism directly affects the metabolism of the dog, henceforth the symptoms are:

  •  Weight gain
  •  Lethargy
  •  Hair loss
  •  Mental dullness
  •  Dry skin

Get your dog to perform certain activity or give him some new training because this can help the condition to remain suppressed.


Dwarfism is a physical problem, which is related to the short size of the dogs. Often the mini-beagles or pocket beagles that you come across are affected with this problem. There might be certain physical anomalies with the dog suffering from dwarfism. Therefore, it would be better that you thoroughly check the dog before bringing it home.

Elongated Palate

In this health condition of the beagles, the palate gets elongated which causes a barrier in the otherwise smooth passage of the air. You will find your dog snorting or snoring or even making loud breathing noise. When the dog will exercise, this breathing noise will increase manifold. This condition is either present at birth or develops with age.

Ear Infection

Since they have long ears, therefore the beagles are very much affected by ear infections. Symptoms are:

  •  Non-stop scratching of the infected ear
  •  Shaking of the head due to irritation of the infection
  •  Emission of foul odor from the infected ear.

Heart Diseases

Pulmonic stenosis is one of the common heart diseases witnessed in beagles. It happens when the connection between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery narrows down due to any pulmonic valve malformation. Blood flow from the right side of the valve is obstructed in this condition as the right ventricle finds it difficult to pump blood. Now that the right ventricle has to work harder, therefore it becomes bigger in size. Eventually, the heart gets damaged and the situation deteriorates with age. Your beagle will experience low cardiac output which is sometimes accompanied by right-sided heart failure. There will be respiratory troubles, tiring, abnormal cardiac rhythms, fainting and even sometimes death. But thankfully, surgery can treat both moderate and severe pulmonic stenosis.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

The intervertebral disk resides in between the vertebrae in the spine and acts as the shock absorber to disperse any force placed on the spine. But sometimes this disk gets damaged and goes through the vertebral canal to press on the spinal canal. This condition is called intervertebral disk disease or IVDD. In mild cases, back and neck pain will be faced by your pet but in severe cases, even paralysis may happen. There will be less control on the bladder and bowel control. In mild cases, the beagle is confined in a cage for at least two weeks to heal the disk. Further diagnosis and surgery will be required if signs are not improved after the confinement.


Epilepsy is another disease with which beagles are frequently affected. This disease is characterized by recurrent seizures. Either it is hereditary or it is caused by poisoning, thyroid problems, vaccinations, low blood sugar, liver or kidney disease heat strokes. Symptoms include:

  •  Foams at the mouth
  •  Always chewing of imaginary food
  •  Loss of bladder or bowel control
  •  Fainting
  •  Violent muscle contraction

Umbilical Hernia

Beagles are also often affected by umbilical hernia disorder. It is characterized by bowel/ fat protruding through an opening in the abdominal wall. This condition is primarily observed if the abdominal wall does not close during the pre-natal period. Some beagles are genetically oriented to delay in the closing of the abdominal wall; then this condition is observed as the dog reaches 6 months of age.
These are in general, the various beagle health problems that you needed to know. It is necessary that you observe your pet very accurately so that any symptom-be that mild or severe, does not escape your notice. The early your dog is diagnosed, the better are his chances of regaining his good health. Consult a vet at the very onset, so that you can have a clear idea if he is affected by anything serious or not. It is said that a dog is man’s best friend. Keep no stones unturned to keep your best friend in the best of his health.

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