Chow Chow Health

Like all breeds chow chows are prone to inheriting some health conditions, for example hip and elbow dysplasia and also eye diseases like entropion. Some Chow Chows may be faced with these health issues right from the beginning due to bad breeding and they can even develop these conditions later on during their lives, the majority of Chow Chows are healthy dogs. Finding a responsible breeder who cares about their  Chow Chow health. If you want to own a Chow carrying out research on the breed is recommended so that you know about the health issues you may faced with,  within the breed.

Hip & elbow dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the sockets of the hip and leg do not align correctly leading to the joint rubbing and grinding instead of sliding smoothly within the joint, this rubbing and grinding can cause your dog immense pain and even limit their mobility meaning your new puppy will have problems walking, running and jumping. This condition is common with giant and large-breed dogs like German Shepherds, Labradors and golden retrievers. Saint Bernard’s and Great Danes. Smaller breeds can also be affected but they rarely show signs of it.

Hip dysplasia usually occurs when you dog is a puppy and not fully developed symptoms can become apparent at around 4 months of age, it can also happen later on in life due to osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis can inflame the joints causing the joint and cartilage to deteriorate which can develop into hip dysplasia.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow Dysplasia occurs in the joints of the front legs the condition is characterised by a series of four abnormalities develop in the joint leading to a malformation and deterioration of the elbow joint, it is caused by the abnormal growth of cells, tissue, or bone. Elbow dysplasia can cause lameness in your dog but it can be treated through medication and in more severe cases, your dog can undergo surgery.

Like hip dysplasia it also affects large and giant-breed dogs like Labradors, Retrievers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, Bernese mountain dogs, chow chows and Newfoundland’s. Elbow Dysplasia is usually apparent by around 4 months but by ten months your dog would be showing significant signs of the disease and a diagnosis generally being made between 4 and 18 months of age.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms will depend on the deterioration, inflammation, and the time span that your puppy or dog has had the disease.

  • Decreased level of activity
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Reluctant to run, jump, or climb stairs
  • Intermittent or persistent lameness, which can be worse after exercise
  • Bunny hopping or a swaying gait
  • Legs unnaturally close together
  • Pain in hip and elbow joints
  • Grinding and rubbing detected with joint movement
  • Decreased range of motion within the hip joints
  • Loss of muscle mass in the thigh muscles
  • Dog tries to avoid weight on its hips, leading to extra work for the shoulder muscles showing visible enlargement of these muscles
  • The development and the progression of hip and elbow dysplasia can be due to both genetic and environmental factors Genetics (history of hip elbow dysplasia in the parents) bad breeding and even over exercising your dog.


Your vet will perform a complete physical exam on your puppy or dog, including X-rays, your vet will also need a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, and any accidents or injuries that may have contributed to your dog’s symptoms. Any information you can provide on your dog’s parentage can be helpful as this may be caused by genetics.


Entropion is when the edges of the eyelid roll inward causing the eye lashes to rub against the eye which causes water eyes, untreated it can lead to ulcers and even blindness. It is an inherited disorder that usually occurs in young puppies but it can also occur later on in life. Entropion usually affects the lower eyelids more than the upper eyelids but it can occur in both upper and lower, it is uncommon for it to affect just one eye. Breeds vulnerable to Entropion include Labradors, Chow Chows, English Bulldogs, St. Bernard’s, Great Dane’s and the Sharpei typically showing with dogs with a more squishy face. Entropion can also occur in older dogs as a result of eye disease.

Symptoms of Entropion

The main symptom of Entropion is inward rolling of the eyelid. The affected eyelid will be wet around the edges. Your dog may squint excessively and may rub his eyes frequently, they can also secrete a thick, mucousy eye discharge.

Diagnosing Entropion

Your vet will diagnose Entropion via a physical exam. The eyelids will be visibly rolled under revealing ingrown eyelashes or abnormal hair growth on the eye. Your vet will also check the eye for ulcers.
Treating Entropion

If your dog develops Entropion, he/she may need surgery to treat it. It is not advised to have surgery before you dog is one year old, as they develop and grow they may outgrow the Entropion, they can however have a tacking procedure carried out. Make sure your vet specialises in treating Entropion or ask to be referred to a specialist as it is easy to take too much or too little skin away during the surgery resulting in further operations.

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