Pit Bull Health Issues – What to Watch Out For
Happy Pit Bull Awareness Month! As we celebrate this muscular, good-natured dog breed in October, we want to shed light on some of the most common Pit Bull health issues. Like all dog breeds, Pit Bulls are predisposed to certain conditions, and it’s wise to keep watch for these more typical Pit Bull health issues.
The actual breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the American Pit Bull Terrier. The more commonly used “Pit Bull” actually refers to mixed breed dogs with certain physical traits (muscular build, broad head, etc.) In this article, we're addressing health issues that may affect American Pitt Bull Terriers and Pit Bull mixes.
Common Pit Bull Health Issues
Hypothyroidism and Obesity
Pit Bulls are prone to hypothyroidism, which is a condition that causes their bodies to create too little of their thyroid-stimulating hormone. This can lead to weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, behavioral changes, and other skin diseases.
If you notice these signs, reach out to your vet! Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a blood screening test and can usually be treated with a hormone replacement pill.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that occurs when the hip joints function incorrectly, resulting in arthritis. Hip dysplasia can cause difficulty standing up or lameness in the hind legs. Pit Bulls should have regular hip evaluations to screen for this. (1)
Skin Irritation and Infections
Pit Bulls are particularly prone to different forms of skin irritation, whether this is from allergies, ichthyosis, or other infections.
Like humans, Pit Bulls can be allergic to pollen, dust, or mold. A Pit Bull affected by allergies may rub their paws and face together, have frequent ear infections, and suffer from dry skin.
Ichthyosis is a severe flaky skin condition, which usually shows up in dogs as puppies. Ichthyosis is highly noticeable because massive, scaly flakes will come off their skin. Pit Bulls may also develop skin infections, usually due to a zinc deficiency or inability to absorb zinc properly. (2)
Skin irritations and infections typically result in noticeable symptoms and can usually be treated by your vet to relieve your dog’s discomfort.
Another common Pit Bull health issue is a luxating patella, which occurs when a Pit Bull’s kneecap, their patella, slides out of place. This can cause the dog to suddenly hop or pick up their hind leg until their kneecap slips back into place.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to realign the kneecap to prevent it from slipping. (2)
Beyond these specific Pit Bull health issues, it’s essential to have your vet check your Pit Bull for other common canine health issues regularly.
Many dogs suffer from periodontal disease, a painful infection of the tissues holding their teeth in place, which can largely be prevented with regular dental care. Check out our piece on dog teeth cleaning and costs and our pet dental insurance page for more information.
As with all dog breeds, Pit Bulls should also have their ears checked and regular vet appointments to keep them in the best health!
Get a free SPOT Pet Insurance quote today to get support providing the best health care for your Pit Bull!