Cystinuria

Affected dogs have an abnormal absorption of cystine (an amino acid) by the kidney that results in the formation of crystals and/or stones in the urine.  This can lead to recurrent or frequent urinary tract infections and causes painful urination especially in males.  Males, because of the anatomy of their urinary tracts, are at risk for a blockage by a stone.  This is an emergency that often requires surgery to remove the stones.  Some cases may be managed by restrictive diet.   This is an inherited disease in Newfs and is caused when a puppy inherits two copies of a recessive gene, one from each parent.  Dogs that only carry one copy of the defective gene are called “carriers” and do not have the disease or show any symptoms of the disease.  However, if two carrier dogs are bred together, approximately 25% of their offspring will have the disease.  DNA testing is available to determine the clear (no copies of the gene) or carrier (one copy of the gene) status of unaffected animals.  Additionally, a dog may be determined clear by pedigree since it must be clear if both its parents are clear.  

Allergies

Newfoundlands, as will as most other breeds of dogs may have allergies to food, fleas, pollen or other environmental allergens.  Typically allergies cause skin problems, recurring ear infections or digestive problems.  Medications, proper parasite control, and sometimes diet changes can effectively manage many allergies.

Hypothyroidism

A hypothyroid dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Some of the more common signs are lethargy, poor coat and weight gain.  However, some dogs do not show any distinct signs.  It is usually a disease of middle age or older dogs, but occasionally young dogs are affected.  Blood testing is the only method for diagnoses.  Daily medication can manage the disease.

Bloat

This is an emergency, life threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and may twist back on itself cutting off the blood supply.  A dog with bloat may act distressed and may try, unsuccessfully, to vomit.  This disease requires immediate veterinary attention in order to save the dog’s life.  Outcome of the surgery is dependent on the dog’s general condition and the damage done to the stomach and other internal organs during the bloat.