One of the best things about Jack Russell health is that the breed presents a lesser number of serious health problems in comparison with other dogs. It must be because the breed was developed to be a working terrier and, thus, physical health was very critical in its development over the last 200 years of its existence.
This does not mean, however, that minor and major health problems are not part of the Jack Russell’s life. Every dog is subject to health issues ranging from skin diseases to cancers in various parts of the body and Jack Russell terriers are no exceptions. Here then, are the things that should be known about the health issues and the ways to protect the health of your beloved Jack Russell.
Potential Health Issues
The level of health care provided by both the owner and the veterinarian plays a significant role in the prevention of the development of the following potential health issues. We must emphasize that sensible prevention is much better than expensive treatments but if the illness cannot be helped, as is the case with hereditary disorders, then the most important thing in Jack Russell health is to ensure that appropriate treatment is provided.
- Allergies are usually caused by dog food, fleas and certain dog-toxic substances like poison ivy, chocolate and paint thinner. Keep in mind that allergies can lead to infections and then death so it is best to seek veterinary attention for the Jack Russell as soon as possible.
- Infections can happen just about anywhere on a dog. Skin, bones and internal organs are all susceptible to infections coming from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.
- Diabetes, obesity and arthritis are also common in many older Jack Russells, which are most often the result of a combination of age, unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise. In many ways, Jack Russell health problems mirror those found in humans.
- Cataracts may attack any Jack Russell. The eye disease is characterized by the crushed ice appearance of the eyes, this condition can be caused in a number of ways including things such as sharp objects and events like car hits as well as through heredity. Of a more disturbing matter is the development of lens luxation that can cause sudden blindness and extreme pain in Jack Russells when left untreated.
- Cryptorchidism refers to the presence of one (unilateral) or two (bilateral) testicles that have not fully descended. Fertility is highly affected.
Other possible disorders and diseases include Legg-Calve Perthes (femoral head’s partial disintegration), ataxia (muscle disorder leading to uncoordinated gait) and myasthenia gravis (affliction of the motor nerves causing weak hindquarters). Indeed, taking care of Jack Russell health issues requires a lifetime commitment.
Proven Methods for Caring
The first thing to do when bringing home a Jack Russell is to ensure full vaccination. Ask the breeder or the pet shop staff about the vaccines already provided to the puppy and then work out a vaccination schedule with the veterinarian. Basically, the vaccination schedule should look like this:
- At 6-8 weeks, vaccines for distemper, tracheobronchitis, parvovirus, hepatitis, leptospirosis are given.
- At 10-12 weeks, second vaccinations plus Lymne’s disease and rabies. While Lyme’s disease may be optional depending on the area, rabies is required by the law.
- At 14-16 weeks, third vaccinations for every vaccine provided at 6-8 weeks and at 10-12 weeks as well as second vaccinations for Lyme’s disease and rabies.
After these almost rapid-fire rounds of vaccinations, yearly schedules can then be set. Again, you must work with the veterinarian to ensure that your Jack Russell is provided with vaccines as the need arises. Additionally, always make sure that your pet has reliable veterinary care the whole year-round.
A balanced diet is also an integral part of Jack Russell health since the right kinds of food provided in the right amounts and at the right time provide for the macro and micronutrients necessary for proper functioning. We recommend providing for dog food formulated for the right age instead of giving food scraps, fruits and vegetables and other potentially dog-toxic human foods.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of exercise in good health for a Jack Russell. Jack Russell’s require high levels of physical exercise and mental stimulation because of their innate lively, frisky and intelligent nature.
Add in regular and proper grooming and you have ensured Jack Russell health in every way possible. Even when old age and, consequently, diseases strike your pet, its good health in youth will hold it up in good stead.