Pet Wellness Guides > Common Akita Dog Health Issues - Pet Insurance Review

Common Akita Dog Health Issues

Posted: 05/25/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Hailing from Japan, Akitas are undeniably gorgeous with their thick coats and impressive stature. Their loyalty is legendary, which is likely why the breed was saved from near extinction. However, these are large dogs, often exceeding 100 pounds, and like many large breeds, they are prone to certain health issues and injuries. In this article we’ll share some of the most common Akita dog health issues so you’ll know how to take the very best care of your pup.

Top 7 Akita Dog Health Issues All Pup Parents Should Know

The following are some of the most common health problems the Akita breed faces:

1. Cancer

Cancer affects all dog breeds, but Akitas are among the breeds that seem to be more prone. Of all the cancers, Osteosarcoma tends to affect medium and large-breed dogs, with Akitas being one. Some pups may show signs of pain through limping and wanting to play and go on walks less often. Others present with a fracture of the affected bone.

2. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is commonly seen in Akitas. This disease occurs when there is a malformation of the hip’s ball and socket joint. Instead of a smooth socket there are irregularities. While dogs of any age can be affected by hip dysplasia, the real painful issues usually begin as the dog ages and begins to develop arthritis in the joint.

There are a few options for hip dysplasia. Mild cases may be effectively managed with pain medications, supplements, and weight management. More severe cases typically require surgery.

3. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

Gastric dilatation volvulus, more commonly referred to as bloat, describes a condition where the stomach fills with gas and then flips or twists. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that cuts off the blood supply to the stomach and spleen. It requires emergency surgery.

4. Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is responsible for a lot of bodily functions, so when it goes haywire, it can cause a lot of changes in our dogs. Hypothyroidism refers to an underperforming thyroid that can cause the following in your pup:

  • Hair thinning
  • Dry coat and skin
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Behavior changes (including aggression, fearful and withdrawn)

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test and managed with daily medication.

5. Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a condition that can either be inherited or acquired, and Akitas are one breed predisposed to developing it. The condition affects the nerves and muscles, causing them to not communicate effectively, causing the dog weakness.

Symptoms of myasthenia gravis include:

  • Barking changes
  • Drooling
  • Heavier breathing
  • Decreased blink reflexes

Some dogs with myasthenia gravis may develop megaesophagus, a condition where the esophagus dilates and pups can’t swallow correctly. Dogs with megaesophagus may have to eat out of elevated bowls to reduce the risk of aspirating. Treatment usually involves use of anti-acetylcholinesterase medications. M

6. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

PRA is an inherited eye disease that slowly steals a dog’s vision. Though born with normal sight, affected dogs experience retinal degeneration over time, leading to blindness. Early signs might be difficulty seeing in dim light, like at night or dusk. During an examination, your veterinarian might also notice dilated pupils that don’t constrict properly in response to light.

Unfortunately, PRA is incurable. However, veterinarians can use tests to diagnose the condition and help you navigate caring for your visually impaired dog.

7. Von Willebrand Disease

In both people and pets, there are several clotting factors and proteins that are essential to stop bleeding. Some dog breeds, such as Akitas, are at a higher risk for having reduced amounts of one of these necessary proteins called von Willebrand factor protein. Without adequate levels of this protein, Akitas are at higher risk of having uncontrollable bleeding after an injury or during surgery.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. However, if your dog requires surgery, your vet can administer blood and plasma products to help control the bleeding during the procedure. 

Since Von Willebrand disease is genetic, you’ll want to work with a reputable breeder who screens for the disease.

Can Pet Insurance Help You Pay for Treatments?

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of Akita dog health issues, it gives you a good idea of what may be in your future should you decide to bring one of these fur babies into your life. For instance, the cost for total hip replacement in dogs with hip dysplasia can cost as much as $5,000 – $6,000 per hip. Emergency surgery for bloat can cost as much as $7,500.

Are you financially prepared to handle vet bills like these? A pet insurance plan can relieve some of the financial burden that comes with unexpected accidents and illnesses, as well as with chronic diseases. 

Take the very best care of your Akita and gain some peace of mind by getting a free quote from some of the top providers in the country.

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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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