What Do Havanese Usually Die From?

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What Do Havanese Usually Die From?All dog breeds have certain health conditions that they are genetically predisposed to. A lot of the time, these health conditions are not deadly and can be managed well with the help of medication and a veterinarian. Sometimes, however, they are more of an issue.

It’s because of this that most dog breeds have several things that are the leading causes of death. These things are usually genetically induced in some way or another.

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Heart Failure

The most common cause of death in the Havanese is congestive heart failure. The Havanese, as well as many other small dog breeds, are genetically prone to developing this condition in their adult years.

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump blood adequately throughout the body. The blood, as a consequence of this, ends up in the lungs and fluid accumulates in the chest and/or abdomen. This constricts the heart and lungs, preventing oxygen from flowing through the body. Dogs can either have right-sided or left-sided congestive heart failure, and it is usually caused by genetic heart defects.

A Havanese suffering from congestive heart failure will likely present with coughing, panting, fast breathing, a refusal to exercise, fatigue, blue-tinged gums, a distended abdomen, and may be coughing up blood or collapsing.

Fortunately, upon receiving this diagnosis, it can be managed for a while. It can be tackled with a series of medications. Your vet will likely put your Havanese on a diuretic to remove fluid, an ACE inhibitor, a vasodilator, and potentially a positive inotrope.

Liver Disease

A leading cause of death in the Havanese is liver disease. Like with heart failure, the breed is genetically prone to developing this condition.

In the Havanese, liver disease is caused by another condition called a portosystemic shunt. This is a congenital problem, meaning that it is there from birth, and it is a liver problem wherein the blood does not go through the liver. Instead, it will bypass the liver and flow into the circulatory system before it is detoxified by the liver.

A Havanese with liver disease will usually present with a loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination, yellowish eyes and tongue, signs of weakness, bloody stools, seizures, and an unstable walk.

Once diagnosed, your veterinarian may propose diet changes to help support the liver as well as supplements, antibiotics, and, depending on the cause of the liver disease, possibly even surgery.


Cancer is one of the few causes of death in the Havanese that does not seem to be entirely genetically predisposed. However, plenty of Havaneses still suffer and die from this each year. Many breeds suffer from cancer – it is a harsh and tragic diagnosis.

There are a number of cancers that can affect the Havanese. Owners should keep an eye out for lumps and bumps under the dog’s skin, abnormal odors, abnormal discharge, abdominal swelling, non-healing wounds, sudden weight loss, a change in appetite, coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, changes in bathroom habits, and any evidence of pain.

The treatment and cause of cancer depend entirely on what type of cancer the Havanese is suffering from. It will also depend on the age of the dog, the health of the dog, the tumor type, the stage of cancer, and the behavior of the tumor.

Generally speaking, though, cancer treatments for dogs include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and holistic or herbal therapy.


The Havanese is prone to obesity and is often underexercised by its owners. This can, in extreme cases, lead to diabetes. Diabetes in Havaneses and other dog breeds can, when left untreated, cause death.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that, ordinarily, can be managed pretty well. There are two types of diabetes:

  • Insulin-deficiency diabetes (the body is not producing enough insulin)
  • Insulin-resistance diabetes (the body is not responding to insulin)

The former is the most common variation in dogs. A Havanese with either type of diabetes will likely present with excessive thirst, weight loss, increased urination, loss of appetite, lack of energy, depression, and vomiting.

If caught in time, diabetes can be treated with diet changes, exercise, and regular injections of insulin. Otherwise, it can lead to cataracts (which can cause blindness), enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure, and, most importantly, ketoacidosis.

It is this last element that is fatal. Ketoacidosis is when the body becomes more and more acidic until it cannot maintain the appropriate fluid balance. Then, the electrolyte balance in the body becomes disrupted. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and poor or abnormal muscle use. Left untreated, ketoacidosis can be fatal.

Kidney Disease

Whilst it isn’t as common as the other causes of death on this list, the Havanese has been known to suffer from congenital and developmental kidney disease. These affect the kidney’s appearance and function.

Kidney failure can be caused by genetics, canine herpes, medications, dietary factors, and even infectious agents in the nearby environment. It will present in Havanese as bloody urine, lethargy, pale gums, ulcers, weight loss, and clumsiness.

Treatment for kidney failure in a Havanese may include IV fluids, fluid therapy, dialysis, or, in extreme cases, it may even include a kidney transplant.


The Havanese is prone to a few conditions, many of which can be handled with medication and the support of a vet. Some of them, unfortunately, even with veterinary support, can lead to the death of the dog, shortening its life expectancy.

It is important for owners to be aware of these and what the warning signs are so that they can give their Havanese the best – and longest – life possible.

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