The Kishu Ken is a generally healthy breed that does not currently appear to be severely affected by many of the more common issues in some purebred dogs - especially in regard to structural soundness. However, there are some observable health concerns, and one that is quite pervasive among all Kishu Ken. Bolded conditions are those which may need immediate treatment, complicated diagnostics, or have a more serious impact on a dog's longevity and quality of life. I encourage owners familiarize themselves with these illnesses ONLY to know the signs and symptoms should their dog need medical intervention.
Known Health Conditions
- More commonly seen in older dogs, reproductive cancers (testicular, prostate, and mammary cancers in dogs left intact for long periods) and lymphoma are the cancers in Kishu Ken. Neutering before old age is not entirely preventative but can significantly decrease the risk of reproductive cancers. Lymphoma has some evidence of being both genetic and environmental so knowing family history and environmental risk factors is important. Cancer in young dogs is rare, but may be seen in some family lines.
- Food intolerance
- Some Kishu Ken are intolerant to overly starchy kibbles, chicken, beef, and/or pork. Some Kishu do not have these intolerances but common signs of issues include chronic soft stool, itching, and yeast build up in the ears. There is no strict test for food intolerances or allergies in breeding dogs. Diagnostic work can be done in individuals who suffer from intolerances but the reliability of such tests is debated.
- Environmental allergies
- Another more commonly seen health condition is environmental allergies. Flea and mite allergies are not terribly uncommon. Grass appears to be another common allergy for those dogs which suffer. Chronic itching, chewing, and licking are common signs for environmental allergies. There is no strict test for food intolerances or allergies in breeding dogs. Diagnostic work can be done in individuals who suffer from environmental allergies. Skin reaction testing is more widely used and accepted by veterinary specialists.
- The most common form of hypothyroidism in Kishu Ken is known as autoimmune thyroiditis, a condition where the body begins to attack the thyroid. This form of hypothyroidism is more easily seen by the blood value of TgAA rather than T4, as some dogs may have normal levels of T4 or T3 while their TgAA is high (abnormal.) Thus, in both breeding and pet dogs, tests which include TgAA may be more effective at capturing dogs who will become or are becoming hypothyroid than only testing T4 and T3 values. Hypothyroidism is treatable via daily medication once diagnosed.
Uncommon to rare Health Conditions
- Addison's Disease
- Fragmented Coronoid Process
- Hip Dysplasia
- Missing Dentition
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Persistent Pupillary Membranes
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Ventricular Septal Defect