Your Corgi is a friendly, intelligent working dog that was bred to herd cattle. Corgis originated in Wales. They were cultivated by shepherds who needed help controlling large herds. Corgis’ intelligence and social skills were perfect for the task of herding larger animals in a group. Those same traits—intelligence and sociability—are why Corgis are such popular and beloved family pets. So are their short legs, fluffy coats, big ears, and friendly faces.
Like all dog breeds, Corgis are more likely to be afflicted by certain health problems and disabilities than other dogs. Corgis are more likely than other dogs to develop:
- Back problems
- Canine cancer
- Complications from pregnancy
- Eye disease and disability
Back Problems in Corgis
Corgis are prone to back problems, particularly herniated discs. Corgis have long bodies and short legs, which can cause stress on their spine. As Corgis age, accumulated pressure on the spine can cause dogs to develop painful disabilities.
Dogs’ spines are very similar to humans’. Like us, dogs have disc-shaped cushions, made of cartilage, that separate their vertebra from each other and absorb shocks. When those cushions become inflamed or slide out of place in a dog’s spine, they cause pain and put pressure on the spinal cord. The condition, Intervertebral Disc Disease, can even cause nerve damage. Because of Corgis’ long bodies, short legs, and differences in the composition of their cartilage discs, they are susceptible to this disability.
If a corgi suffers nerve damage as a result of a slipped disc, they can suffer from diminished motor function or even become paralyzed. If your Corgi becomes partially paralyzed, it would probably benefit from a wheelchair. K9 Carts makes custom-designed wheelchairs for dogs.
Degenerative Myelopathy in Corgis
Corgis are one of the breeds that are most likely to develop degenerative myelopathy, a nerve condition. Degenerative myelopathy begins in a dog’s spinal cord, and eventually results in severe nerve damage and loss of motor function. Corgis with degenerative myelopathy will struggle to move and stand, and may eventually suffer partial or total paralysis.
Your Corgi can still have a good quality of life with degenerative myelopathy if the disease progresses slowly. A dog with degenerative myelopathy of any severity will need to rest a lot, so get them a comfortable bed. You should also wash, comb, and trim their coat often so that they do not develop abscesses or bedsores.
A custom-built dog wheelchair can also help. By removing stress on the joints and allowing more mobility and exercise, a dog wheelchair can help to slow down the progression of degenerative myelopathy. Both stress and lack of exercise can contribute greatly to the progression of the disease. At K9 Carts, we custom-build wheelchairs for dogs based on their unique size and measurements.
Complications in Corgi Pregnancies
Corgis are at risk of complicated pregnancies; according to the UK Kennel Club, complications due to pregnancy are one of the primary causes of premature death in Corgis.
If you breed Corgis, you undoubtedly have your dogs frequently checked by a veterinarian. Constant monitoring should be the rule if one of your dogs becomes pregnant.
However, the easiest way to avoid complications for your animal is by having her spayed. Spaying your dog will extend her lifespan and make her less prone to a number of diseases and health risks. And, since she won’t be able to conceive a litter, she won’t run the risk of developing complications during a pregnancy.
Eye Trouble, Blindness, and Loss of Vision in Corgis
Many Corgis suffer from some form of eye disease or disability, especially as they age. Their eyes deteriorate in the same way that humans’ do—older Corgis often develop cataracts.
Corgis are particularly susceptible to infection from irritants, which can result in blocked tear ducts and corneal ulcers. They are also at risk of developing conjunctivitis, which is also known as pink eye.
Cataracts and gradual loss of vision are genetic. However, you can help your Corgi avoid bacterial infection by bathing them often and checking their eyes frequently for signs of irritation or inflammation. If their eyes are infected or irritated, take them to your veterinarian.
Consult Your Vet
This guide isn’t meant to cover all of the health issues that could affect your Corgi, but it can give you a sense of what is causing your pet discomfort and distress. And remember—if your dog has any of these health problems, they should be treated by a veterinarian.
Learn More About Your Corgi’s Health
Cancer in the dog — Canine Health Foundation
Summary results of the Purebred Dog Health Survey for the Welsh Corgi Pembroke breed — UK Kennel Club
Summary results of the Purebred Dog Health Survey for the Welsh Corgi Cardigan breed — UK Kennel Club
Red Eye in Dogs — petMD
Welsh Corgi — Wikipedia
Eye Defects (Congenital) in Dogs — petMD
Osteosarcoma and Amputation: myths and facts — Dog Cancer Blog