The Vizsla, also known as the Hungarian Pointer after its country of origin, is a shorthaired, medium-sized dog that, at an average of around 50 pounds (23 kg), is in fact the smallest pointer-type breed. These dogs are superb at hunting and guarding, but they also make great family pets, since they are affectionate and energetic. Just don’t leave your Vizsla alone for too long or you may find your yard or house rearranged.
Should you Purchase Insurance for your Vizsla?
Vizslas have a relatively short average lifespan of less than 10 years. They are known to be particularly susceptible to a number of health problems:
- 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.
- Hip dysplasia: thesedogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis. 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. Owners are urged to ask breeders for confirmation that the hips of the parents are not affected, though this does not guarantee that puppies will not develop dysplasia.
- Hypothyroidism: this condition occurs when a 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.
- Lymphosarcoma: this is one of the most common canine cancers; it attacks the lymph nodes, bone marrow and other tissues. Affected dogs develop tumors under the skin and display a variety of pathologies; diagnosis is confirmed through blood analysis and/or biopsy. Fortunately, more than three quarters of cases can be treated successfully with chemotherapy if the disease is detected early enough.
- 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.
- Sebaceous adenitis (SA): this disease occurs when the immune system attacks the oil-producing glands in a dog’s own skin; it may or may not be inherited. Symptoms include a dingy coat, hair loss and lesions on the skin. SA can be difficult to diagnose, usually requiring multiple biopsies, and may be masked by secondary infections. There is no known cure; treatment involves soothing the skin, treating secondary infections and lifelong administration of immunosuppressive drugs.
Most breeders are responsible and do their best to screen the puppies they sell. But the fact is that Vizslas are genetically predisposed to suffer from these and other common canine medical conditions. Responsible owners will therefore prepare themselves in advance, emotionally and financially, for problems that may arise, and many find that a pet health insurance plan is a key part of planning for their dogs’ wellbeing.