The Basset hound is an iconic breed, with its droopy ears and face, stocky legs and almost unbelievable capacity to follow scents. Bassets originated in France, where they were bred to hunt rabbits; they are mid- to large-sized dogs, averaging around 60 pounds (27 kg) with short, white, brown and/or black fur. Though they can be strong-willed, these dogs love people and with proper training make great family pets, and they can be expected to make their feelings known with a wide range of vocalizations from yips to howls.
Should You Purchase Insurance for Your Basset Hound?
Basset hounds have an average lifespan of 10 to 11 years, about par for a purebred of this size. They are susceptible to a number of canine illnesses, some related to their distinctive physical traits:
- Bloat (gastric dilation volvulus, stomach torsion): the stomachs of these dogs may become distended and actually twist within their bodies as a consequence of excess intestinal gas; symptoms include a bloated abdomen, drooling and unproductive vomiting. Without immediate treatment, usually surgery, a dog stands a good chance of dying.
- Canine epilepsy: this disease of the nervous system causes tremors and seizures. Diagnosis can be confirmed by electroencephalography (EEG), MRI and/or CT scans. Various drugs, and even surgery, may allow an affected dog to live a fairly normal life.
- Dysplasia of the hip and/or elbow: these dogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis, or where the bones of the legs connect poorly. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery.
- Otitis externa: the long, floppy ears of Cocker spaniels impede the circulation of air and give rise to conditions that support the growth of bacteria and other parasites. Owners need to give careful, daily attention to keeping the ears clean and treating any infections immediately. Dogs with ear problems scratch and shake their heads and may emit a foul odor. Treatment involves deep cleaning of the infected area and administration of antibiotics.
Even if your Basset never develops any of these conditions, visits to the vet for accidents, problems that arise with age and regular healthy maintenance like teeth cleaning and toe trimming can add up quickly. The right pet health insurance plan will help you to plan for your dog’s lifelong medical care and to avoid needless financial worries.