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Pets with achondroplasia, commonly called dwarfism, have a mutation in the gene for the fibroblast growth factor receptor. This mutation can cause stunted limbs and other bone growth abnormalities. In some breeds, such as the munchkin, dachshund, Welsh corgi and Skye terrier, this mutation has been selected for by breeders. In other pet breeds, it is considered a genetic disease.

How Achondroplasia Affects Your Pet

Dogs and cats born with the defective fibroblast growth factor receptor gene cannot form bone from cartilage in a normal manner. While some of these animals appear unremarkable at birth, they usually develop abnormalities in the first few months of life. When compared to normal littermates and other animals of the same breed and age, dogs and cats with this pet disease have shortened limbs and other bone malformations. The specific bones that are affected and the severity of the disease vary from pet to pet. Dogs and cats with mild achondroplasia can expect normal lives with few restrictions. Pets with moderate to severe disease may have significant impairments, and those with very severe disease may only survive for a few days after birth.

Common Symptoms of Achondroplasia

Common symptoms of canine and feline achondroplasia include the following: Short Limbs. Deviated Spine. Bowed Limbs. Underbite. Crooked teeth. Dental Crowding. Poor Growth. Abnormally Shaped Bones. Short Nose. Enlarged Joints.

Treatments for Achondroplasia

Recommended treatment for this pet health condition depends on the symptoms. Many animals with achondroplasia require no treatment and live normal lives. Animals with pain from bone deformities require pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Pets with crowded teeth and other dental abnormalities may require extractions or other oral surgery procedures. Pets with severe limb deformities may require one or more corrective surgical procedures. Because this pet disease is genetic, affected animals should not be bred. Another important component of achondroplasia treatment is weight management. Because affected animals are smaller and less active than their normal counterparts, they are at increased risk of pet obesity. Extra weight puts added stress on their bones and compounds their problems, so a proper diet is essential. In addition, pets with achondroplasia have an increased chance of developing arthritis, and obesity significantly increases this risk.

Breeds Affected

There are some dog breeds that are more prone to Achondroplasia than other breeds: the Bulldog, Bassett hound, German shepherd, Pekingese, Boston terrier, Pug, Shih-tzu, Japanese spaniel, Beagle, Scottish terrier, English pointer, and Cocker spaniel.

Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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