Akitas are generally sturdy dogs. Their history of hunting dogs that were often facing quite ferocious game has left them tough and hardy, but there are still a number of health problems that they might experience. Akita owners have to be aware of what those problems are in order to notice their development in time and stop it if it is possible.
Like most large, deep chested dog breeds, Akitas can sometimes suffer from gastric torsion, or as it is commonly known, bloat. This is a very serious condition that is often life threatening. People are not quite sure what causes it; there are some speculations that it can be prevented by giving your dog several small meals over the course of the day instead of just one, larger meal. It can also be caused by the dog eating too fast and taking larger bites. Some people also believe that feeding your dog soy beans based products might bring the condition on, as that type of food creates gases. Regardless of the exact cause, the stomach of the dog afflicted by bloat will start twisting and the passages in his gastrointestinal tract will become blocked, preventing the dog’s digestive system from functioning optimally. Symptoms of this condition include restlessness and anxiety, agitation, salivating and dry heaves. If you do notice the symptoms react immediately as it can progress rapidly and mortality rates from bloat are quite high.
Most dog breed can often suffer from some eye related condition and Akitas are not an exception. One of those conditions is cataracts. They usually appear as the dog ages, but there are also juvenile cataracts that can develop in puppies. You can notice them as white or cream specs in the dog’s eyes. At first they will just have a slight influence on the dog’s eyesight, but in time, they might make the dog completely blind. If you do notice the specks, cal your vet at your earliest convenience, surgical solutions that might save your dog’s eyesight are available.
Progressive retinal atrophy is another eye condition often afflicting Akitas. It is characterized by a slow but progressive (as its name suggests) deterioration of the dog’s retinas. At first it will only cause night blindness, but over time, it might make your dog completely blind. It can develop both in puppies and in adult dogs. It is characterized by the dog’s eyes first becoming somewhat shiny and in later stages they may become cloudy and opaque.
Another common condition, not just for Akitas, but most other larger, and sometimes even smaller breeds is hip dysplasia. This condition is hereditary and it causes improper development of hip bone socket and femur’s ball that is supposed to fit into that socket. Improper fitting of the two causes grinding and wearing of both bones and cartilage in between. In time this will seriously impede the dog’s movement. If you notice that your dog is having trouble with putting his weight on one or two of his legs, this might be the cause. Have a vet examine the dog, surgery is an option, and success rates are rather good.