Owning an AmStaff means you should be aware of American Staffordshire Terrier health problems. It’s vital that you know what to look out for to keep your dog in optimal health.
Despite their fearsome appearance, American Staffordshire Terriers are typically not an aggressive dog breed.
They are intelligent, energetic dogs who typically get along exceptionally well with people. Their short, multicoloured, pattern-filled coat is simple to maintain; just a brush down once a week is sufficient.
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Although the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and American Staffordshire Terrier are closely related, the two breeds have developed independently through time.
Amstaffs are large, powerful dogs. Walking them on a leash may be difficult if you don’t train this breed properly. Pulling can develop into a significant problem.
It could be a good idea to put your Amstaff’s energy into a dog activity like weight-pulling or nose work if you struggle to control them.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic and related to your dog’s breed. According to veterinary practitioners, some health conditions severely impact certain breeds, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier.
American Staffordshire Terrier health problems vary and they can develop the following health issues, which may have a genetic component:
Most Common Amstaff Health Problems
The patella (knee cap) on your AmStaff could occasionally move out of position; this is called patellar luxation.
You might see a Staffy running normally, then stopping abruptly to pick up a back leg and hop or skip for a few steps. After popping their kneecap back into position with a sideways leg kick, the Staffy is okay to carry on running normally.
Staffies might require arthritis medication if the issue is modest and only affects one leg. Surgery to realign the kneecap may be necessary if symptoms are severe to prevent it from continually popping out of position.
Knee Ligament Tears
One of four strong tissue bands holding each knee together is the cranial cruciate ligament.
Active dogs, like an AmStaff, are prone to cranial cruciate ligament tears. The knee is typically corrected surgically to stabilize it and prevent debilitating arthritis.
For optimum results, physical therapy and pain management are necessary. The key to preventing this severe injury is keeping a Staffy at the proper weight, feeding a high-quality diet, and avoiding excessive knee twisting (such as when playing catch).
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
The elbow and the hip are susceptible to dysplasia, a hereditary condition leading to arthritic joint development. Staffies may experience stiffness in the elbows or hips, especially as they age.
Staffies might start to exhibit limb lameness or have trouble standing up after lying down, for example. Vets can treat arthritis to lessen discomfort and pain; the sooner, the better.
Vets X-ray the dog’s bones to attempt to spot problems before they become significant. In severe and life-threatening conditions, surgery is occasionally a wise choice. Remember that overweight AmStaffs may experience unnecessary pain and suffer from arthritis years before Staffies of average weight!
Allergies in Staffies cause their skin to itch. AmStaffs frequently have a skin allergy that we refer to as “atopy.”
Most frequently, the feet, abdomen, skin folds, and ears are the most affected. Symptoms show up between the ages of one and three and can worsen annually.
Typical symptoms are paw licking, scratching the face, and frequent ear infections. The good news is that this illness has a wide range of potential treatments.
Avoiding the allergen and its cause is the best way to treat an allergy. It might not always be able to do this. However, your dog’s allergy will determine the course of treatment. Killing the fleas is the best approach to treating flea allergy dermatitis. Changing the dog’s diet is the best way to handle a food allergy or intolerance. You might consider putting your Staffy on a hypoallergenic dog food diet.
Vets may also recommend an allergy relief medicine to help control the allergic reaction. You will likely have to make lifestyle adjustments.
Staffies are prone to hypothyroidism, a common illness when the dog’s body doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Dry skin and coat, hair loss, a predisposition to other skin conditions, weight gain, fearfulness, anger, and other behavioural changes are some of the symptoms.
Your vet should conduct a yearly blood test to check for the disease. Your vet can prescribe replacement hormones as pills as a straightforward treatment.
American Staffordshire Terriers commonly pass away from heart failure in their senior years. Weakened heart valves bring on the majority of heart disease cases.
A heart valve gradually deteriorates, losing its ability to seal tightly, causing blood to leak around the valve. Heart murmurs are present in animals with heart valve disease, also known as mitral valve disease.
Heart examinations should be part of a regular vet’s check-up to assess any signs or the severity of the condition.
AmStaffs can inherit or develop several different eye conditions:
- Cataracts – are common in older Staffies and can cause blindness.
- Entropion – causes the dog’s eyelid to roll inwards.
- Distichiasis – is a disorder brought on by additional hairs that develop inside the eyelid and rub against the eye’s surface.
The above conditions may cause blindness if you don’t get treatment as soon as possible, and they can also be painful for your dog.