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Do mutt dogs have hereditary health problems?

August 15th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Hey all, my sister and I adopted 4 mutts about 10 years ago when they were puppies that we found on the side of the road. Anyway, I'll give a brief description of them b/c I think they may have had different fathers..

Eddie (male) short, thick, course black hair with the markings of a Rotty.
BH (male) short, thin, soft hair. Has a black spot on his tongue.
Molly (female) (no longer with us) had short, thin, course, kind of rusy colored hair.
Elgie (female) (my sister adopted her) Long, thick, black hair, also has a black spot on her tongue.

Would you think they have different father b/c of the differences in all of them, although they are all about the same size, in the 50 pound range?

My main question is this....Do mutts in the same litter usually have the same health problems, as in hereditary problems? Molly developed cancer about 2 years ago on her spleen, had that tumor removed, but about 6 months later had to put her down b/c the cancer had spread to her brain. She was 8.

Now that the other's are 10, I'm curious as to if I should be watching for cancer in them? Eddie recently developed a cyst of some sort on his back leg around the knee joint. The lump is kinda spongy feeling, it rolls around under the skin, and it doesn't seem to be causing him any pain. I'm thinking it's just a fatty cyst, but I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow to get it checked out.

August 15th, 2005, 01:43 PM
First off - Bless you for taking those lost souls in!

As you don't know the history of the parents, it's kind of a shot in the dark as to what they could possibly have, or what their genetics are going to give them.

I'd say, and I'm by far NO expert on hereditary traits, that it's possible for one or more of the siblings to get cancer, as one died from it. The same genetics play for dogs & cats as they do for people. I'd have a higher chance of getting cancer if my parents had/have it. Same for animals.

I'm of the same thinking you are - it could be a fatty cyst. Perhaps your vet can do a needle biopsy to determine what it is?

Please keep up posted!

(moved to health forum to increase chances of replies)

August 15th, 2005, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the response and moving my thread to the appropriate section.

I do know that pure breeds have hereditary health problems, I'm just not sure if the same applies to mix's.....I'm assuming they didn't come from 2 purebreeds, but 2 mix breeds, b/c of how different their coats are. (long hair, short hair, different color hair). I left this out about Eddie, His hair is strange, it's black on the tips, but underneath the top coat of hair, it's tan. You can only see the tan if if you run your hand across his coat in the opposite way that it is growing.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on what the vet finds.


August 15th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Yes, the dogs could have any number of genetic history behind them. Just because it looks like a Lab, swims like a Lab, doesn't mean it's 100% Lab!

With mutts, you can get some of the good traits and some of the bad ones. If you mix a large dog, prone to hip displasia, with a slightly smaller dog that's not prone to HD, you run a risk of the offspring developing HD, albeit a lesser chance.

Please do keep us updated!

August 15th, 2005, 02:33 PM
I do know that pure breeds have hereditary health problems, I'm just not sure if the same applies to mix's.....I'm assuming they didn't come from 2 purebreeds, but 2 mix breeds
Yes, mixed breed dogs do have the same hereditary health problems as purebreds. At one time it was thought that mixed breed dogs were healthier than purebreds and that they weren't as prone to the same hereditary illnesses that plagues the purebreds, but that has all been proven wrong. If the parents of the mixed puppies are carrying the genes for a hereditary illness that they obtained from their parents, then they will pass it on to some of their offspring. You will now find mixed breeds with hip & elbow dysplasia, congenital heart defects, etc.

It's good that you are getting that lump looked at. All lumps should be examined by a vet. Our beagle just had a lump examined and it turned out to be nothing to worry about. Hopefully you will have the same outcome.

August 15th, 2005, 02:45 PM
As with purebreds, crosses take traits from their parents. It is possible that they could have inherited heath issues but it doesn't mean all would have the same. The problem with a cross that you don't know the history which makes it difficult.

August 16th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Well, I took Eddie to the vet this morning. The good news is that the spot on his leg is just a fatty cyst, nothing to worry about. The bad news is that they found a mass in his abdomen about the size of an orange. They tried to get a sample of it with a needle, but couldn't get to it, so right now they don't know if it's cancerous or not. The x-ray's didn't show any other masses anywhere else, like the lungs or liver, so if it is cancer, they don't think it's spreading yet, unless it's just getting started and too small to see. So hopefully it's been caught in time if it is cancerous. They did say his heart is enlarged a little, but he is 10 and they told me that's not uncommon in older dogs (is that true by the way?).

When Molly was diagnosed with cancer (on her spleen), the x-rays showed spots all over her lungs and liver. We had the main tumor removed to give her some more time, but that was only about 6 months, it spread to her brain. The good news is that these spots didn't show up on Eddie's x-ray.

Anyway, he's having surgery in the morning to try to remove the mass to find out exactly what it is...I'm praying that it's not cancerous......

Eddie is my boy. I paisted his picture below. He can't live without that ball, he alway's holds it down like that. I've seen him multiple times with both paws crossed over the ball and he'll lay there with his head resting on his paws.

August 16th, 2005, 03:15 PM
When Molly was diagnosed with cancer (on her spleen), the x-rays showed spots all over her lungs and liver. We had the main tumor removed to give her some more time, but that was only about 6 months, it spread to her brain.
Unfortunately, growths on the spleen are almost always cancerous. These spread very quickly. By the time they are found, it has usually spread. I know the pain of losing a beloved pet to cancer. We recently lost our maltese x a few months ago to this horrible disease.

I'm glad that you are having Eddie's lump removed. It is a good idea to have it taken out before it spreads. He is a beautiful boy and lucky to have you.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you and Eddie. Good luck and please keep us updated.

August 16th, 2005, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the kind words Beaglemom. Cancer is a terrible disease, and I'm praying that this lump is a harmless one.

I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

doggy lover
August 16th, 2005, 04:03 PM
I use to have a BMDXGSD and he had osteocronindosis, bloat and died of bone cancer, all these could have been inherited from one or the other of his parents. Mutts can still pick up any on the inherited breeds health issues, but when you have a purebred it is just more likely to happen if both parents carry the gene that causes the health problem.

August 17th, 2005, 12:11 AM
If one parent of one breed has a huge chance of having a certain genetic defect and the other parent of a different has a huge chance of having a certain OTHER genetic disease, the mutt will have a big chance of inheriting both diseases.

If both parents have the same chance of having the same genetic disease, then the offspring's chance of having that disease skyrockets.

It really all depends on how well you know the diseases of the parents and the information contained in the rest of the pedigree.

In the old days when mutts were better, genetic diseases were rampant and two different breed dogs sometimes complimented each other's weaker spots in the DNA. So if one had healthy hips and one had hip dysplasia, sometimes the babies fared better because the healthier dog covered the weak spots...

Does that make sense or was that overly complicated for nothing? :o

I hope your doggy just has a cyst or a fatty tumor and it's nothing serious. :fingerscr :grouphug:

August 18th, 2005, 10:20 AM
Well, I've got bad news....Eddie's mass was cancerous and was tangled up in his intestines, so it couldn't be removed. The vet called me, told me that, and also said he had hundred's of other tumors. There was nothing they could do, so I had to make the dreaded decision of having him put down yesterday. They said that with all the cancer in him, he wouldn't have recovered very well from the surgery and would have never been the same again. I had to make the decision based on the fact I didn't want him to suffer from the terrible disease, I think I did the right thing for him...

The thing that got me was that he showed no signs of it....acted fine, played with his ball, ran around like he always did, never lost weight or quit eating. I'm still shocked over it, I didn't see it coming.

Thanks for all of the support you all have given me, it means a lot.


R.I.P. Eddie! You'll be missed buddy!!

August 18th, 2005, 10:25 AM
I'm so very sorry. I know the heartache and pain associated with losing a beloved pet so suddenly. :grouphug:

August 18th, 2005, 10:27 AM
I am so sorry for your loss, no words can express what you must be feeling, but always remember you allowed him to pass away with his dignity. I respect you for that.

August 18th, 2005, 10:48 AM
Thanks everyone, the sympathy means a lot......Gotta tell ya, it's affecting Eddie's brother BH pretty hard. I first took Eddie in on Tuesday morning and BH quit eating. I finally got him to eat about half a bowl of food this morning (thursday). They did the same thing when Molly passed. It amazes me how dogs know these things and grieve the way we do.

Here's a pic of BH....I love this pic of him b/c if you look closely, he's smiling....

doggy lover
August 23rd, 2005, 02:51 PM
Sorry to here of Eddie's passing, it is a hard choice but you made the right one, no animal should suffer the effects of cancer. My thoughts are with you.

August 23rd, 2005, 03:19 PM
JFRICK :sorry:

Its such a trrible thing to go through. But to think what kind of life this doggy would have if you never saved him from the side of the road. He had a good run, certainly not long enough but he was happy!. Its hard to make a decision like that and you have to have guts to do it! Im glad you had him checked out. And now he will never have to go through any more pain or struggle with cancer. He is free to run in the fields of Heaven.

God Bless your soul Eddie!

I hope you are feeling ok. You came to the right place as we have almost all experienced the loss of pet. Its aweful and most non owners dont understand. Take solace in knowing we understand and are here if you need us!
Again :sorry: