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Bichons frises are adorable, friendly dogs that make for the perfect companion for almost any household. If you already have one, or you plan to adopt a bichon frise, you surely want to make sure it has a long and happy life. You definitely want it to live longer than the average bichon frise lifespan if possible.
One of the ways you can help achieve that is to be aware of the most common illnesses that this breed usually dies from and what you can do to prevent them.
If you adopt or have a puppy, parvovirus is perhaps the most common virus that can affect your pet. Puppies are the most vulnerable as they are not fully vaccinated yet, so contact with the virus can get them infected with ease. The main symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Although these symptoms may also be an indication of other diseases, it’s important to take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible and obtain the right treatment.
The parvovirus is deadly if not diagnosed in its early stages. The best way to avoid this infection is to fully vaccinate your bichon frise and avoid all public places (and other animals) before this happens.
2. Preventable Diseases
Although parvovirus is extremely common and totally preventable through vaccination, there are lots of other diseases that can be deadly for your bichon frise. For instance, rabies can be deadly, but you can eliminate this risk by vaccinating your puppy.
3. Internal and External Parasites
There are lots of parasites that can affect your little buddy, leading to death. These can range from external ones, like ticks and fleas, to heartworms and hookworms, among others, that invade the dog’s system.
Your dog is exposed to countless parasites when drinking unclean water, having contact with contaminated items (like soil or feces), or even after a mosquito bite. Also, even you or your family members may transmit a deadly parasite to your bichon frise.
For your dog, these parasites typically do not only cause pain but may lead to death. To avoid this, make sure you always take your dog to safe places and get it tested by a vet on a regular basis.
4. Reproductive Cancers
One of the main diseases that lead to death is related to reproductive cancers.
The only way to prevent them is to have your bichon frise neutered (for males) or spayed (for females). These surgeries remove the testicles or the ovaries, thus eliminating the risk of several types of cancers and prolonging the dog’s lifespan. This also eliminates the risk of unwanted puppies.
5. Heart Disease
Bichons frises are, unfortunately, quite vulnerable when it comes to heart disease. This affects both younger and senior dogs, so it’s highly recommended to perform a heart health check every year. Early detection of heart disease will extend your dog’s life by several years.
Also, it’s important to avoid obesity and ensure proper dental care to reduce the risk factors.
Diabetes is quite common in dogs. Although this disease can be controlled via medication, it may lead to numerous other life-threatening or deadly diseases, including heart diseases. Diabetes means that your dog’s body cannot metabolize sugars normally, which means that you may have to provide daily injections with insulin.
Just like with people, diabetes in dogs is a very serious condition and must be diagnosed in its early stages. Dogs suffering from diabetes often exhibit increased urination, higher appetite, and weight loss. The treatment must be discussed with your vet, who will be able to provide you with the best options for you and your bichon frise.
With proper care, your diabetic bichon frise can have the same lifespan as healthy dogs.
Tumors are perhaps the most concerning death causes for pet owners. This is because they form internally and break open, so your pup will not have any visible symptoms until it is too late.
Bleeding tumors like hemangiosarcoma can form in the spleen and other organs, and they reach the size of a ball before your dog will show symptoms. These tumors are more frequent in senior dogs, so it’s important to take your pet to the vet periodically and perform ultrasounds and/or blood tests.
8. Chronic Dental Diseases
Another preventable death cause is dental disease. Your furry friend may have a life shorter by up to three years if it suffers from dental disease. It is estimated that about 80% of all dogs are affected by chronic dental diseases before 2 years old.
First, your bichon’s teeth get covered in tartar. Then, the build-up affects the gums, advancing to the roots and damaging them. At this point, your bichon frise starts to lose its teeth. Chronic dental diseases can also lead to damage to key organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
It’s important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly, provide teeth-cleaning treats, and chewing toys to keep your pup’s teeth healthy and clean.
For more information on this issue and how to prevent it, read my guide to taking care of bichon frise’s teeth.
Bichons frises are more likely to develop certain life-threatening diseases compared to other breeds. It is important to take your pup to the vet regularly, pay attention to its behavior to spot early symptoms and make sure you have a robust maintenance and grooming routine. After all, an ungroomed bichon frise is more susceptible to health issues.
By getting to know more about what bichons frises usually die from, you can now prevent some of the risks and create a plan to increase the odds of your bichon having a long and very healthy life. Who knows, it might even become the oldest bichon frise in the world.