Vizsla Health, Care & Health Problems
Vizslas are medium- to high-maintenance dogs that require a lot of attention, exercise, and mental stimulation. A misbehaving Vizsla is invariably a bored and/or inactive Vizsla. A Vizsla's need for human companionship is strong; thus your Vizsla's emotional well being would be best served by housing it indoors. Vizslas are robust hunting dogs, but there are a number of hereditary illnesses for which a given Vizsla and its sire and dam should be tested before you assume ownership of it. If healthy and properly cared for, your Vizsla should enjoy a lifespan of anywhere from 10 to 15 years.
Vizslas are generally healthy and long-lived, and possess an energy level that will more than match your own. However, there are several health conditions of varying seriousness that are known to afflict the Vizsla breed. Before you purchase an adult or puppy, you may wish to have tests conducted and/or certificates provided for the following Vizsla health problems (in cases where certification is not available, a Vizsla breeder may provide a guarantee against inherited conditions):
According to hip dysplasia statistics from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), the Vizsla ranks 108th among breeds that have had at least 100 evaluations between January 1974 and December 2008. Just over 11,600 Vizslas have been evaluated in that time, and 7.2% of them were found to be dysplastic. The high number of evaluations is one proof of how seriously Vizsla breeders have taken this problem. An OFA certification of the parents of your Vizsla puppy means that their hips were x-rayed and evaluated for abnormal results and found to be in excellent, good, or fair condition.
Epileptic seizures are another Vizsla health problem. No certification is available for this condition. However, if a Vizsla has epilepsy, it's often evident by the time it's about two or three years old, and sometimes not until its fourth or fifth year. Responsible Vizsla breeders will provide guarantees against inherited epilepsy. Even if your Vizsla is diagnosed with epilepsy, it can be treated and controlled with appropriate medication.
An underactive thyroid reduces a Vizsla's metabolism level, resulting in a wide variety of possible symptoms. This condition may be caused by allergies, air pollution, or an improper diet. Thyroid problems can be diagnosed via full thyroid testing, including FT4, cTSH, and TgAA.
Sebaceous adenitis is a skin disease in which the sebaceous glands become inflamed. A Vizsla with this condition will display mild scaling and a moth-eaten appearance. SA is usually found in young adult dogs. It can be diagnosed via a skin-punch biopsy.
Entropion and retinal atrophy are two eye conditions that can affect Vizslas. Eye health can be certified annually through the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF).
Other medical conditions to which Vizslas may be susceptible include hemophilia, heart defects, von Willebrand disease, and cancer. Vizsla dogs are sometimes allergic or sensitive to vaccines, chemicals, and common anesthetics. Food or skin allergies may also occur.
The Vizsla Club of America's (VCA) code of ethics regarding breeding states the following: "VCA members shall breed only those dogs who have a DNA number and are free of serious hereditary defects (including epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, Von Willebrands, entropion and cranial muscular atrophy), and are over two years of age and have been x-rayed and OFA-certified as free from hip dysplasia."