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Health

Bassets are in general a long lived healthy breed, although somewhat lazy in later years. Bassets should be fit for function another words be fit for the purpose for which it is bred and therefore should lead a fit ,active life.

Please note that The Basset Hound Club of Northern Ireland publish this information as guidance , if your Basset is displaying any symptoms please consult your veterinary surgeon.

Malassezia Pachydermatis

(Itchy red skin with a distinct mousy,mushroom smell)

What is it?
Malassezia pachydermatitis is a common, vigorous yeast organism that is found on healthy, normal and abnormal canine skin and in ears.  All dogs have this.
 
It is a yeast that is present on all dogs’skin and on normal healthy skin it causes no problems.  However, when changes in the skin allow it, the organism can multiply and cause inflammation of the skin.  As the yeast  cannot be eliminated – it will always be present.  The challenge is to provide treatment to control it.
 
Dermatitis caused by Malassezia Pachydermatis is not really a “primary” condition or infection, that is, an illness on its own.  It is really an overgrowth of normal flora which has arisen because “something” in the environment of the skin or ear canal has changed.  It is what causes this change which is the primary condition.  As a result the yeast multiplies and the objective is  to inhibit this overgrowth or multiplication and to identify and correct, where possible, the underlying diseases that allowed the yeasts to overgrow in the first place.  This is where it gets complicated and there are various views on suitable treatment.  One is that the initial treatment is to reduce the inflammation, others consider that the preliminary treatment is to stop the multiplication of yeast.  Most specialists adopt the approach of removing the yeast as a first step, then re-evaluating the nature of any residual clinical signs so that underlying diseases can be diagnosed and hopefully managed.
The Basset Hound is not the only Breed to suffer from this condition. It is common in the West Highland WhiteTerrier and the German Shepherd Dog to name but two.
 
Clinical signs
 
The Skin
Malassezia pachydermatis can be a complicating factor in a dog of any breed with a skin condition.  Some of the factors that can lead to this condition include moisture, as in dogs with skin folds or with pendant ears and/or with narrow ear canals, excessive waxy or scaly build-up, or allergic/bacterial skin disease.  Malassezia Pachydermatis may be the primary or initiating cause of skin problems or a secondary cause of dermatitis in any dog with one of these predisposing conditions.  This may be related to an alteration in the immune response to the yeast.  Dogs with more generalized Malassezia Pachydermatis infection may have typical clinical signs such as Hair Loss, Redness of the Skin, Greasy Coat, Darkening of the Skin, Increased Scale Production, Leathery Skin, Itchiness, Seborrhoeic Smell.  The smell is very distinctive and some call it “mousy” or like mushrooms and any or all of these signs may or may not be an indicator of Malassezia Pachydermatis.
 
 
The areas most often affected are :   The abdomen, armpits , the visible parts of the Ear, the Face mainly underneath the chin , Front Legs and Skin Folds and on hind legs and feet in the skin folds..
 
The Ears
Narrow ear canals and/or pendulous ears retain moisture and wax and inhibit the circulation of air.  This can encourage the overgrowth of yeast.  Sebum, an oily, waxy substance, is a common cause, especially in pendulous ears, as in the Basset Hound.  There is often a distinctive smell from the discharge from the ears and the dog may or may not be in pain and shake his head.  It is important that the underlying condition is established.
Thornit powder is good to use on the ear to keep it healthy ,this is available online
 
Diagnosis
First and foremost any underlying disease/condition must be properly diagnosed and treated; whether it is a bacterial infection, an allergy, seborrhea or any condition that suppresses the animal’s immune system. Correct diagnosis will essentially determine which treatment is appropriate. In any case, the yeast infection must be cleared up, and then your Vet will look for an underlying cause.  If none can be found, and the yeast infection quickly recurs, this might suggest that Malassezia Pachydermatis is the primary problem.
 
Treatment
This condition is treated with anti-fungal drugs and/or medicated shampoos such as malesebshampoo available from your vet. The itchiness usually subsides quite quickly, and the skin lesions within a few weeks.  Your dog must continue taking the drug or being bathed for another week or so beyond the symptoms disappearing.  Often there is recurrence of the yeast infection, although the frequency may be reduced if an underlying cause can be identified and either treated or managed. Sometimes an ongoing, maintenance regime is required to prevent recurring yeast infections.  This may involve weekly medicated baths and your dog taking antifungal drugs once or twice a week. It is also  important to keep the area affected dry and a good athletes foot powder can be used to do just that. However, your Vet will work with you to determine how your dog’s skin condition can best be kept under control.  Fundamentally, treatment involves creating an environment that is hostile to Malassezia Pachydermatis.  
 

 Bloat

Gastric Dilatation/Volvulus – GDV

Gastric bloat and the commonly associated torsion (or twisting of the stomach) is life threatening and must be treated as an emergency.  

Gastric bloat (or dilatation volvulus) is a rapidly fatal condition arising from the abnormal accumulation of gas within the stomach (dilatation) which may lead to rotation of the stomach (volvulus).

The symptoms of Bloat are below , learn to recognise the signs and if in doubt take your dog to the vet immediately as death is imminent and rapid if not treated.

Take your dog to the vet if they show any of these symptoms.

Your dog retches from the throat but nothing is producedother than a small amount of frothy mucas.

Your dog tries to defecate unsuccessfully

Your dog adopts the sphinx position ( front legs pushed forward ,bottom raised in the air )

Your dog’s tummy goes hard and or swells up like a ballon and is taut like a drum

Your dog is trying to bite his abdomen

Your dogs lips and inside of mouth have become pale in colour

Your dog is pacing, panting and unsettled.

The chance of survival decreases alarmingly if you delay getting your dog to the vet more than 60 mins form signs of first symptoms.

Sometimes it may just be a build up of gas in the stomach which will need to be slowly relaesed by your vet in other more severe case  the stomach will have twisted and your dog will require emergency surgery.

 Basset Hounds are not the only dog breed that are effected by bloat other breeds include, bloodhounds,german shepherds, great danes to name but a few.