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(Based primarily on information from Control of Canine Genetic Diseases by Dr. George A. Padgett)

The following list describes a number of inherited disorders, which are documented as affecting Newfoundland Dogs Some of these conditions are rare in occurrence, others are relatively common. These diseases range in severity from what may be considered cosmetic in nature, to those that are crippling or life-threatening. They are presented in alphabetical order by disease category and not prioritized in any way. Research has indicated that these disorders are genetically transmitted; however, in some instances, the same condition may also have environmental causes, such as trauma, nutrition or other external factors. Unless proven to be otherwise, the causative factor should be considered to be genetics.

The Newfoundland of America extends its most sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club and Robin Camken for developing the original format of the listing below and so graciously allowing us to copy their work. Their dedication to the health of dogs is truly outstanding.

external link Where available, this chart is linked to other websites that provide more information on that specific disorder. Although these links are felt to go to reliable sources, the information may be incomplete, out-of-date, or contain inadvertent inaccuracies. It is the responsibility of the individual to cross check this information and to discuss it with their own veterinarian. This information is meant as general reference and education. It is not an endorsement of the source nor is it meant to be used as a specific recommendation for treatment.

"If people tell you their dogs have never produced a defect, their dogs have probably produced only one litter, they don't follow up on their puppies or what is most likely the case, they are being less than truthful."
-- Dr. George A. Padgett, DVM --

Disease / Condition
Description & Links
Blood and Lymphatic
Von Willebrand’s disease A type of bleeding disorder caused by defective blood platelet function. Occurs in 59 dog breeds affects both sexes.
Merck Veterinary Manual
A cancerous condition involving the lymphatic system. One of the more common canine cancers.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Osteosarcoma A cancer condition involving the bone. The most common bone cancer.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Dermatologic / Hair and Skin
Acute moist dermatitis
Known as “hotspots,” a localized area of severely itchy, inflamed and oozing dermatitis exacerbated by the animal’s intense licking and chewing at the spot.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Dermoid Cyst A small growth composed of skin-like structures.
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Merck Veterinary Manual
Digestive System
Gastric Dilatation-Vovulus
(Bloat & Gastric Torsion)

Distension and twisting of the stomach. Without immediate treatment, death is common. A critical emergency for you dog.
Perdue Bloat Study
Merck Veterinary Manual

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Inflamed bowel that interferes with normal bowel function.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Megaesophagus Condition in which the esophagus is enlarged or dilated. Usually dogs with this condition regurgitate food and water.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) Autoimmune or other causes of destruction of the adrenal glands resulting in a deficiency in production of corticosteroids.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) A disease characterized by an excess secretion of cortisosteroids from the adrenal glands.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Hypothyroidism An autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Heart and Vascular
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Failure of the vessel remnant joining the aorta and pulmonary artery to close properly at birth, thereby shunting blood away from the lungs.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Pulmonic Stenosis

A condition where one of the valves of the heart does not open properly.
Merck Veterinary Manual

Subaortic Stenosis

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
Aortic Stenosis

A tightening of the outflow opening for blood to go from the heart into the aorta. Causes murmurs, weakness, and sudden death.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Cardiomyopathy A disease of weakened heart muscles. Common in giant breeds.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Immune System

Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia

(Formerl) Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

The immune system attacks its own red blood cells, causing severe anemia and possibly death.
Merck Veterinary Manual

Lymphocytic thyroiditis


An autoimmune disease causing inflammation and destruction of the thyroid gland, which becomes infiltrated with lymphocytes (white blood cells) and leads to hypothyroidism. This is the most common endocrine disease of the dog.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Myasthenia gravis A syndrome characterized by muscle fatigue due to an autoimmune disease which produces chemical abnormalities of the muscles and nerves. An enlarged esophagus called megaesophagus can result and causes regurgitation of food.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Thrombocytopenia A reduced number of platelets in the blood which causes pinpoint hemorrhages in the skin and mucosa. Often accompanies hemolytic anemia as an autoimmune syndrome called Evans Syndrome.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Neurologic Diseases



A disease characterized by convulsions (seizures) and/or disturbances of consciousness.
Merck Veterinary Manual

Degerative Myelopathy

A progressive disease that causes progressive loss of coordination and progressive weakness of the hind legs that eventually results in paralysis.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Ocular Diseases / Eye Diseases
Cataracts A change in structure of the lens of the eye leading to cloudiness and usually to blindness.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Ectropion An abnormal rolling out of the eyelids.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Entropion An abnormal rolling in of the eyelid.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Eversion of nictitating membrane
(Cherry Eye)
A condition where the third eyelid is protruding, also known as cherry eye.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Cryptorchidism A condition in which one or both testicles do not fully descend into the scrotum. The condition may be presented in two forms: 1.) Unilateral cryptorchidism refers to the normal descent of a singular testis. 2.) Bilateral cryptorchidism results in the retention of both testes.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Cruciate Ligament Rupture Rupture of anterior or posterior ligaments in the stifle (knee) joint.
Elbow Dysplasia An abnormal development of the elbow joint, includes ununited anconeal process (UAP), fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP) and osteochondrosis of the medial condyle of the humerus (OCD).
Merck Veterinary Manual
Hip Dysplasia Abnormal formation of the hip socket; causes rear-limb lameness.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Luxating Patella A condition where the knee caps slide in and out of place. An affected dog may appear knock-kneed or cow-hocked. Lameness may be evident.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Osteochondritis Dissecan (OCD)
Developmental diseases resulting in abnormal formulation of joint cartilage.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Panosteitis (Pano, Enostosis) A painful inflammatory bone disease of young, rapidly growing dogs, typically 6-18 months of age.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Cystinuria An abnormal excretion of a substance (cystine) in the urine which causes kidney stones and kidney failure.
Merck Veterinary Manual
Ectopic Ureters The ureters (tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder) do not empty into the bladder in the normal location.
Merck Veterinary Manual


Additional listings of canine genetic/heritable disorders can be found at:

Canine Inherited Disorders Database
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (database)


a.Control of Canine Genetic Diseases by GeorgeA. Padgett; MacMillan Publishing Company; New York, NY, Copyright © 1998 ISBN: 0876050046
b. A Guide to Hereditary and Congenital Diseases in Dogs Publishedby The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 208, Davis, CA95617-0208, August 1997
c. CONSULTANT: A Diagnostic SupportSystem For Veterinary Medicine by Dr. Maurice E. White, Cornell VeterinaryMedicine, Ithaca, NY, Copyright ©1999


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