Pet Wellness Guides > Catahoula Leopard Dog Health IssuesD - Pet Insurance Review

Catahoula Leopard Dog Health IssuesD

Posted: 07/17/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a powerful dog that is all business while working but incredibly silly and playful at home. Well-muscled and agile, these pups make wonderful companion pets as well as loyal working dogs on the farm. But as with any breed, these pups come with their own set of health issues. Keep reading to learn about the most common Catahoula Leopard Dog health issues.

Key Points

  • Catahoula dogs are strong in mind and spirit and require proper training early on.
  • The breed is prone to eye issues, some of which can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Catahoula Leopard dogs can develop several musculoskeletal issues concerning the hip joints and spine.
  • The breed is prone to diabetes, which can be a serious condition if not detected and treated in time.

catahoula leopard dog health issues

Catahoula Leopard Dog Facts

The Catahoula is a medium to large dog that has a short coat that comes in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns. The word Catahoula is of Choctaw origin and means “sacred lake.” 

Something else pretty cool and unique about the Catahoula is it’s the only dog breed to have historically originated in the state of Louisiana. 

Before we get to their specific health issues, we need to mention some things about the breed to be aware of. First, they can be a bit… independent. And by this we mean pigheaded. Because of this, the Catahoula requires firm guidance and early socialization. 

Once properly trained and recognizing their place in the family unit, these pups make incredibly loyal and affectionate companions.

Specific Health Issues of the Catahoula Leopard Dog

You want to take the very best care of your pup, which is why it’s so important to recognize potential health conditions early. The earlier you catch something, the sooner you can treat it and get the best health outcomes. 

With this in mind, the following are some of the most common Catahoula Leopard Dog health issues:

Bone and Joint Problems

It is quite common for this breed to develop different musculoskeletal problems. One of the most common conditions is called hip dysplasia. This is an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly, leading to an early onset of painful arthritis.

Mild cases of hip dysplasia may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and/or joint supplements, while more severe cases may require surgery.

Young Catahoula pups can sometimes also suffer from a condition called eosinophilic panosteitis, pano or eo-pan, which refers to painful inflammation of the long bones in the front legs. It usually develops at age 6 to 10 months. The condition usually does not lead to any permanent damage but may require pin medication.

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Catahoula Leopard dogs are also more prone to be born with spinal deformities, which sadly can lead to spinal cord damage or disabilities. If your pup shows any physical symptoms (issues with their gate, etc.) your vet will need to take some X-rays to rule out any other possible spinal issues going on (slipped disc or arthritis). 


While diabetes is commonly seen in many dog breeds, Catahoula dogs have an above average incidence. Dogs with diabetes are unable to regulate the metabolism of sugars and require daily insulin injections. 

Diabetes is a very serious medical condition and one that requires early detection and treatment for the best health outcomes. Symptoms include increased drinking and urination and weight loss. If you suspect your pup may have diabetes, it’s important to bring them into the vet to get a blood test and to discuss treatment options.

Thyroid Problems

Catahoulas are prone to hypothyroidism, a condition where the body does not make enough thyroid hormone. Signs of hypothyroidism are weight gain, aggression, behavioral changes, hair loss, and dry skin and coat.

Dogs with hypothyroidism can live a long life and usually require daily medication.

Bugaflee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eye Problems

Sadly, Catahoulas can inherit or develop a number of various eye conditions, some of which may even lead to complete vision loss. It’s important to have your dog’s eyes checked thoroughly during each vet appointment. 


It can look adorable, but an underbite, also called prognathism, affects Catahoulas more than other breeds. When the lower jaw sticks out further from the upper jaw, the teeth can dig into parts of the mouth and it can be very painful. Depending on the severity, tooth extractions and other orthodontic work may be required.

Pet Insurance Can Help Offset the Cost of Care

As you can see, Catahoulas are prone to a variety of health issues, some not-so-serious, others quite serious. And most of these conditions all come with a hefty price tag to treat. Can you afford to take the best care of your pup should the unthinkable happen?

A pet insurance plan can help you pay for the cost of care associated with accidents or illness. And sometimes reimburse you for up to 90% of the vet bills. Talk about peace of mind!

If you’ve been thinking about enrolling your fur baby into a pet insurance plan but weren’t sure which provider was the best, here are the top providers based on reviews from pet parents just like you:

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,497
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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