We try to keep our members informed of any health issues we feel they might find useful. These include articles in our news letters and any seminars that will inform and keep us up to date with any developments. Past club news letters have included articles on Dermoid Sinus (Journal of Small Animal Practice (1993) 34, 356-358), Hereditary Skeletal Conditions of RR's (Hip Dysplasia), False or Pseudo Pregnancy in the Bitch, OCD & Vitamin C it's role in Stress Management, Bone Metabolization, HD, and Skin Diseases & Coat Condition.


Dermoid Sinus

The dermoid sinus is a genetic skin related disorder and is present from birth in the puppies DNA. The Dermoid Sinus is a tube of skin that joins the outer surface of the skin (not always present) to the spinal cord (not always that deep, 4 levels of depth). It may or may not contain hair follicles or be lined with hair. As the hair sheds on the outer coat of the pup, so does the hair inside this tube. The body's natural response to dead material is to flush it out and thus the serum builds up and expels the debris. Not all of the dermoid sinuses are true tubes. Some are not hollow and the serum and debris cannot drain. In these cases an abscess forms and the resulting swelling that accompanies can rupture the skin. This results in a very painful situation for the pup. At its worst it is life threatening.

The Sinus is generally found on the midline of the neck, back, and tail along the spinal column. Although rarely found in the ridge there have been several cases noted.

The Sinus is a congenital condition, meaning that it is present at birth. The affected pups can be operated on to remove the Sinus which should be performed before sending them to their new homes. The affected pups are pet stock only and should not be considered as breeding material.

It is recommended that two experienced breeders examine any litter before sale.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a condition which can occur in any breed, especially the larger breeds. It is thought to be partly hereditary but many other factors need to be considered. Hip scoring of parents and ancestors is desirable. How puppies are reared may have an impact on the state of their hips as an adult. Puppies should not be allowed too much free play, especially with mature dogs.  A good nutritious diet which doesn't promote too rapid a growth should be fed to puppies and they should not be allowed to become fat.

Bloat/Gastric Dilation

This is a serious emergency condition that Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be susceptible to, and it is a killer. It is worth taking the time and trouble to educate yourself, and if nothing else learn how to recognise the symptoms so should the situation arise you can get your dog prompt veterinary treatment and hopefully avoid a disaster.
For more information on the condition:-
For information for about feeding bowls which encourage slower eating

Canine Herpes Virus (CHV)

Canine Herpes Virus (CHV) can cause fading puppy syndrome, upper respiratory disease (kennel cough) and abortion and stillbirths in dogs. There is a vaccine available which cannot prevent infection but if given during pregnancy can significantly improve fertility rates and reduce puppy death. Even bitches that already have the virus can be successfully vaccinated
More information at


Canine Epilepsy

The Phyllis Croft Foundation for Canine Epilepsy
Mrs M James, Secretary PCFCE
77 Upland Road
CM12 0LD
Tel: 01277 630145
email pcfce@btopenworld.com
Web Site http://www.pcfce.org.uk/


Canine Leishmaniasis

This is a serious condition spread from dog to dog by sand fly bites during the warmer summer months. The disease is prevalent in the Mediterranean but the problem is now spreading to the UK.
For more information:-


Xylitol  Poisoning (Chewing Gum)

Xylitol (Perfect Sweet) is a sugar alternative present in sugar free chewing gum, some sweets especially mints, and some baked goods. Although a healthy option for human consumption it is extremely toxic to dogs and if ingested can be fatal.
For more information:-


Grape And Raisin Poisoning

Not many owners are aware that grapes and raisins are harmful to their dog. Most dogs adore grapes but they are in fact toxic to them and should never be offered, or left in a bowl where a dog can help itself to them.
For more information:-

Canine Lungworm

There has been a recent rise in the number of cases of canine lungworm. It is one of the many types of worms that can be easily prevented. Not all worming preparations successfully treat lungworm infection so seek advice from your veterinary surgeon to ensure you use an effective product.
For more information:-

Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland)

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormone. The main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate the body’s metabolism. When the gland is under active many of the body’s functions slow down.
For more information:-

Chocolate And Cocoa Bean Mulch Poisoning

Chocolate contains theobromine which can be extremely toxic to dogs. Toxic doses vary according to the size of the dog and the cocoa solid content of the chocolate.

Cocoa bean mulch, a by-product of chocolate manufacture, is made from cocoa beans shells. It is a favourite with gardeners but just like chocolate it contains theobromine. Dogs are attracted to it’s sweet chocolate smell but if ingested it can be fatal.
For more information on chocolate poisoning
For more information on the dangers of cocoa bean mulch

Poisonous Plants

Many plants are poisonous to dogs, and puppies are especially inquisitive and want to “taste” everything they can get in their mouths so are particularly vulnerable.
For more information on poisonous plants:-


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