The Eurasier tends to be a reasonably healthy breed, with few very serious health conditions that are relatively uncommon. The typical lifespan is 12-14 years, depending on lines, but it is not unusual for Eurasiers to live longer than this, with many reaching 15 or 16. A few Eurasiers have even lived to be 18 years of age!
That said, they are not completely free of health concerns. Many of the most common health conditions can be screened for in breeding dogs. While this will not guarantee that a puppy will not have those health issues, it reduces the likelihood of those conditions occurring. There are a few other issues that may occur in the breed that do not have a screening test available, however these are typically uncommon. The only tool against these conditions is pedigree research and conscientious breeding practices. A reputable breeder will complete the available screening exams and certifications prior to breeding their dogs, and will study pedigrees to avoid confounding on known issues in the various lines.
Eurasier Club of Canada breeder members should at minimum be following the health testing recommendations described in the Eurasier Club of Canada Breeder Code of Ethics. Here at Cerasi Eurasiers, we adhere to these recommendations, as well as test our breeding dogs for other issues present in the breed that are not currently required by the Eurasier Club of Canada. Copies of health testing on our dogs are available by request.
Hip dysplasia is not common in the Eurasier. According to OFA, only 3.6% of those dogs who have been evaluated had abnormal results. Breeding dogs should have their hips x-rayed prior to breeding.
Only dogs with passing scores of Excellent, Good or Fair should be bred. Dogs rated Fair should only be bred with mates that are rated Excellent or Good.
Mildly affected dogs typically lead fairly normal lives with reasonable quality of life. Severe cases may require surgery.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease, however it can be influenced by environmental factors, such as poor traction in the whelping box, being overweight, poor diet or overly strenuous activity while the dog is very young and still growing.
Patellar luxation is somewhat common in Eurasiers. According to OFA, 6.8% of those dogs tested had abnormal results.
Only dogs with a rating of Normal should be used for breeding, however sometimes in special circumstances, a dog with Grade 1 luxation may be used carefully for breeding.
Mildly affected dogs typically lead normal lives. More severe grades of luxation may require surgery.
Inherited Eye Conditions
Distichiasis: Extra eyelashes growing in atypical locations. This may or may not cause discomfort to the dog. Mildly affected dogs may be bred with unaffected mates. Surgery is sometimes required in severely affected dogs. Extra eyelashes are fairly common, but severe cases of distichiasis with irritation are not.
Entropion: The eyelid rolls inward towards the eye, causing irritation to the eye. Affected dogs should not be used for breeding. Surgery usually required. Entropion is not common.
Ectropion: The eyelid rolls outward, exposing the flesh around the eye, causing irritation. Affected dogs should not be used for breeding. Surgery usually required. Ectropion is not common.
At minimum, breeding dogs should have a veterinary examination indicating that the dog is free of these 3 issues. However, a full OFA CAER eye exam with dilation would be preferable.
Dandy-Walker-Like Malformation (DWLM) is a form of cerebellar hypoplasia, which results in dogs with impaired motor function and balance issues.
Thanks to genetic research, it was discovered that DWLM is inherited as a simple recessive disease, meaning there is a genetic screening test available and it is simple to avoid producing affected offspring. Dogs require two copies of the faulty gene in order to be affected. Carriers with one copy are not affected. Therefore, carrier dogs may be bred, but never with another carrier.
Elbow dysplasia is not common in the Eurasier. According to OFA, only 5.2% of those dogs who have been evaluated had abnormal results. Breeding dogs should have their elbows x-rayed prior to breeding.
Only dogs with a rating of Normal should be used for breeding.
Mildly affected dogs may lead relatively normal lives, however because the front end of the dog bears more weight than the rear, elbow dysplasia can often cause pain, which requires surgery to correct.
Elbow dysplasia is a genetic disease, however it can be influenced by environmental factors, such as being overweight, poor diet or overly strenuous activity while the dog is very young and still growing, particularly activities where jumping is involved.
Autoimmune Thyroiditis, which eventually results in hypothyroidism, is the most common health issue in Eurasiers. According to OFA, 14.4% of Eurasiers tested had abnormal results (positive TGAA anti-thyroid antibodies, with or without clinically reduced thyroid function), and 15.9% had equivocal results (typically this means elevated TGAA, but not within the positive range).
Only dogs with normal thyroid function, with negative TGAA should be used for breeding.
Eurasiers used for breeding should be tested annually for thyroiditis, as it can occur at any time. The breeder should have proof of current thyroid testing on their dogs, whether through OFA, Hemopet or other reputable labs (IDEXX, MSU, etc.).
Fortunately, autoimmune thyroiditis is very easy and inexpensive to treat. Thyroid hormone supplement will treat the issue and the dog's quality of life and lifespan should not be affected. It is important to treat elevated TGAA as soon as it is discovered, and not wait for clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism to begin.
Autoimmune thyroiditis has both genetic and environmental causes. A well documented environmental trigger of thyroiditis is rabies vaccination. In fact, rabies vaccination can temporarily elevate TGAA levels in unaffected dogs. Other vaccinations, as well as some flea and tick medications may also act as environmental triggers.
These conditions are not common, but can occur in some lines. These diseases do not have screening exams or certifications and have unpredictable or unclear inheritance. Dogs affected by these conditions should not be used for breeding.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency