Before we get down to brass tacks, some bichon frise trivia is in order. Did you know that the bichon frise is an old breed? In the 14th century, Spanish sailors brought them along while they traveled far and wide in search of trade and treasure. This helped to expand the breed’s presence around the world. In the 19th century, bichon frises were popular entertainers in circuses and fairs.
Given that the bichon frise has been around since antiquity, you’re probably thinking he’s a hardy, disease-free breed. Although the bichon frise is generally a healthy dog, there are health conditions that you need to be on the lookout for.
A cataract is an opacity in the lens of a dog’s eye that affects vision. If your bichon’s eyes look cloudy or bluish-grey, take him to your vet for an exam.
Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease that is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment. Symptoms include itching, scratching, hair loss, greasy or flaky skin with a foul odor.
Patellar Luxation is a condition that causes your pooch’s kneecap to move loosely, become dislocated or slightly out of position. Although it is a hereditary condition that bichons often suffer from, trauma and injury can also cause Patellar Luxation. If the condition is very severe, a vet would recommend surgery.
When the kneecap is sliding out of place, you will see your dog limping or running with the affected leg held off the ground. He will also often stretch the affected leg out behind him in an effort to put the cartilage back into place.
Sarcoptic mange, also called dog scabies, is a contagious skin disease in dogs caused by parasitic mites. These parasites can move to other pets and even humans in the household.
Scabies mites target areas of the skin where there is less fur. Signs include excessive itching, hair loss, and red, crusty, raised lesions on the face, ears, elbows, armpits, hocks, chest and abdomen.
Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease is the overproduction of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. This results in the suppression of your bichon’s immune system, which in turn increases his chances of getting sick.
The disease is difficult to detect because some of the symptoms can be linked to a wide number of different ailments. Some symptoms include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite and weight gain, lack of energy, thin skin that bruises easily, panting and recurrence of infections.