Beagles are small to mid-sized hounds, weighing in at around 22 pounds (10 kg), with coats that are a mix of brown, white and black. The breed was standardized in England in the nineteenth century. They are excellent hunting and service dogs, with one of the best senses of smell in the canine world, and they also make great family pets, being gentle and easygoing. Beagles also feature prominently in popular culture, from Charles Darwin’s ship to Snoopy and Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Should You Purchase Insurance for Your Beagle?
Beagles can be expected to live about as long as similar-sized breeds, around 13 years. They are known to be subject to a number of health issues:
- 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.
- Hypothyroidism: this condition occurs when the dog’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in a lack of the necessary hormones that the thyroid produces. Symptoms include hair loss, skin problems, weight gain and lethargy. Blood analysis is used to confirm the presence of the disease; treatment involves daily administration of an artificial hormone to replace what the thyroid no longer produces.
- Otitis externa: the long, floppy ears of beagles 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.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): as the name suggests, this disease occurs when the cells of a dog’s retinas degenerate. A single gene mutation is responsible for the problem, though as yet no genetic test has been developed. It is therefore imperative to know the breeding history before acquiring a puppyin order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, though affected dogs can almost always live full lives if kept indoors (a lot of space would, however, be required for a Miniature Pinscher).
- Cherry eye: some dogs develop an inflammation of a gland associated with the eyelids, which can become distended and inflamed and considerable discomfort. The condition can usually be treated successfully with medication or, in more severe cases, surgery.
Bringing a beagle into your life is an investment of time, energy and love—not to mention money, since puppies generally run from $200 to $1000. One way to protect your investment is to select a pet health insurance plan that will cover the kinds of diseases to which they are susceptible as well as accidents and the increased care that becomes necessary as dogs age.