Instantly recognizable due to its big, heavy body, short legs and
long ears, the Basset Hound has proven itself to be a multi-purpose dog
that excels in conformation, obedience, tracking, field trialing and
pack hunting. The breed is known for its strong hunting instinct and,
if given the opportunity, will chase or follow a scent willingly.
Because of its gentle, non-confrontational nature, the Basset can be
used for hunting in packs or alone. The Basset can be any hound color,
which includes combinations of black, tan, white, red and other colors.
Right Breed for You?
Basset's sweet, gentle disposition makes him a great companion and his
short coat requires minimal grooming. New owners should be prepared
for a dog that actively follows scent while outside or on walks. Not
usually advisable to be allowed off leash in an unfenced area.
Known Health Problems
Known Health Problems
What is it? Glaucoma
is increased pressure within the eye. Cells inside the eye produce a
clear fluid ("aqueous humor") that maintains the shape of the
eye and nourishes the tissues inside the eye. The balance of fluid production
and drainage is responsible for maintaining normal pressure within the
eye. In glaucoma, the drain becomes clogged but the eye keeps producing
fluid. Therefore, the pressure in the eye increases. The increased pressure
in the eye actually can cause the eye to stretch and enlarge.
There are actually two types of glaucoma; the hereditary type, Primary
Glaucoma, is primarily the type that affects the Basset Hound. Primary
Glaucoma usually begins in one eye, but almost always eventually involves
both eyes, leading to complete blindness. It is extremely painful.
This discomfort can result in decreased activity, less desire to
play, irritability, or decreased appetite, and is often not apparent
What are the signs?
The only way to know for sure if your pet has glaucoma is to have the intraocular
pressures measured by a veterinarian. Signs of glaucoma can include a red or
bloodshot eye and/or cloudy cornea. The 'third eyelid' - looking like a pink
membrane, may be seen. Vision loss is also characteristic of glaucoma. However,
loss of vision in one eye
with their remaining eye. Eventually, the increased pressure will cause the eye
to stretch and become enlarged. Unfortunately, eyes are usually permanently blind
by the time they become enlarged.
If you suspect your Basset Hound has any eye
problem, he or she needs to see a veterinarian immediately. There is
a very small window for treatment time to try to save the sight. Any basset
hound should have regular ophthalmic examinations. Glaucoma can cause blindness
our best efforts. A high level of commitment to treatment and regular ophthalmic
examinations is required to have the best chance of preserving vision. If your
basset is diagnosed with primary glaucoma, please notify the dog's breeder
so it is no longer spread through the lines.
If your basset has already lost one eye to Primary Glaucoma and the other eye
is at risk of developing glaucoma: The median time until an attack occurs
in the other eye is 8 months. Prophylactic medical therapy for the remaining
onset of glaucoma from a median of 8 months to a median of 31 months.
Von Willebrand's Disease
What is it? Von Willebrand’s
disease (vWD) is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs.
Although dogs of any breed (even mixed breeds) can have vWD, certain
breeds are more prone to it than others, including the Basset Hound.
In a healthy dog, when a blood vessel is damaged, blood platelets or
thrombocytes quickly adhere to the damaged blood-vessel lining (endothelium),
creating a temporary plug and slowing blood loss. Simultaneously, the
endothelium releases an enzyme that activates clotting factors circulating
in the blood, which, in turn, form fibrin - a strand-like material that
wraps around the platelet plug to produce a sturdy and permanent clot.
Von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a protein that helps platelets adhere
to the endothelium and may also improve clot formation. Dogs with vWD
have abnormally low levels of vWF, so the initial plug is slow to form.
A vWD puppy’s gums may bleed while it’s teething, and a vWD
dog may have spontaneous nosebleeds and blood in its stool. Affected
dogs may also have prolonged bleeding from small or superficial wounds
like excessive bleeding when a nail is cut too short. Excessive bleeding
can lead to anemia, shock, and (if untreated) death.
If you suspect your basset may have this, veterinarians have a new blood
test that measures very small and very large amounts of vWF with greater
accuracy (and in less time) than the old test. Accurately measuring vWF
helps predict if a dog will be affected by vWD or will merely be a carrier
- unaffected by the disease but with the potential to pass along the
defect to its offspring.
The technical name is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
(GDV) and it is prevalent in deep chested breeds, like the basset hound.
It is the second leading killer in dogs next to cancer. It is life
threatening, comes on quickly, and requires immediate veterinary
treatment, often emergency surgery, to save the hound. Call ahead and
let them know you are bringing in a bloat case so they can be fully ready
What is it? Bloating of the stomach is often related
to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present). It usually
happens when there's an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or
foam in the stomach ("gastric dilatation"). Stress
can be a contributing factor also. Bloat can occur with or without "volvulus" (twisting). As
the stomach swells, it may rotate 90Â° to 360Â°, twisting between
its fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum
(the upper intestine). The twisting stomach traps air, food,
and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins
in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to
internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.
Symptoms: If you even suspect your basset may be bloating -
get to an emergency vet immediately
to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-20 minutes (One
of the most common symptoms)
Doesn't act like usual self
(Perhaps the earliest warning sign & may be the
only sign that almost always occurs)
Significant anxiety and restlessness
(One of the earliest warning signs and seems fairly
Hunched up" or "roached up" appearance
(This seems to occur fairly frequently)
Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)
(Despite the term "bloat," many times this
symptom never occurs or is not apparent)
(Dark red in early stages, white or blue in later
Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy
(Many dog owners report this after putting their
ear to their dog's tummy)
Heavy salivating or drooling
Foamy mucous around the lips, or vomiting foamy mucous
Licking the air
Seeking a hiding place
Looking at their side or other evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort
May refuse to lie down
May attempt to eat small stones and twigs
Heavy or rapid panting
Cold mouth membranes
Apparent weakness; unable to stand or has a spread-legged stance
Especially in advanced stage
Heart rate increases as bloating progresses
referred to as "growing pains" or "pano",
occurs as a rotating lameness, usually in puppies up to 18 months. Many
veterinarians are not aware that this is prevalent in basset hounds and
will sometimes misdiagnose it, often with costly and unneeded surgery
options. Pano IS prevalent in basset hounds as we've seen many, many of our
members' hounds diagnosed with this over the years.
The following is from the Basset Hound Faq by Judy Trenck:
is an elusive ailment occasionally seen in young Bassets. It is also
known as wandering or transient lameness. Attacks are usually brought
on by stress and aggravated by activity,and up to now, the cause and
the cure are unknown. This mysteriousdisease causes sudden lameness,
but its greatest potential danger may lie in false diagnosis, resulting
in unnecessary surgery. A puppy will typically outgrow it by the age of
two with no long term problems. It can be quite minor, or so bad that
the dog will not put any weight on the leg. Symptoms may be confused
with "elbow displasia", "hip displasia", "patellar luxation" and other
more serious disorders. The most definite way to diagnose paneosteitis
is radiographically. Even with this, signs can be quite minimal and
easily missed. As to treatment, no cure was found in experimental tests
and the only helpful thing found was relief for pain (aspirin,
cortisone, etc.) However, using these, the dog tends to exercise more
and thereby aggravate the condition. Note again: A GREAT MANY VETS ARE
UNAWARE OF THIS DISEASE IN THE BASSET .
In diagnosing the cause of a Basset's lameness, a radiograph of the
forelimbs may indicate a condition called elbow incongruity. (Elbow
incongruity is a poor fit between the 3 bones which comprise the elbow
joint.) Studies to date indicate that elbow incongruity is
normal in the Basset and is not the cause of the lameness. It is also
suspected that many of the previously mentioned unnecessary
(panosteitis) surgeries have been performed on Basset Pups just because
radiographs that were taken showed elbow incongruity. A
study on forelimb lameness in the Basset is currently underway at the
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. As
previously mentioned they have determined that elbow incongruity occurs
in the Basset but suspect that incongruity rarely causes the
lameness. During the course of the study, conservative therapy will be
recommended for all cases in which panosteitis appears to be the
cause of the lameness. In cases with severe growth deformities or elbow
pain associated with elbow incongruity, surgery may be
recommended. If your Basset develops lameness and is diagnosed with an "elbow
problem", discuss with your veterinarian the possibility