The Finnish Lapphund is generally a robust and healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10-15 years. Even 16 or 17 years is not rare. We are very lucky to love a breed who may be with us for many years.
There are, however, some conditions known to occur in the breed, although they are not very common. They are detailed below.
The main eye conditions that have been seen in Lapphunds in Scandinavia are Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) , Hereditary Cataracts (HC), PHPV/PHTVL and MRD (Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia). All breeding Lapphunds in the UK are routinely eye tested to avoid producing puppies affected by any of these diseases, and they are mainly rare or non-existent in the UK. In addition, the gene responsible for one type of PRA has been identified by the American research company Optigen as prcd-PRA (progressive rod cone degeneration). As a result, we now DNA test our breeding dogs to identify whether this gene is present. A dog who is a 'Carrier' of the gene or 'Affected' by the gene can be safely mated to a dog whose status is 'Clear' or 'Normal' and none of the puppies will be affected by the disease.
Some herding breeds such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherd Dogs are known to display sensitivity to a group of anti-parasitic drugs known as ivermectin, and a similar reaction has occurred in some Finnish Lapphunds. It appears, for example, in a wormer called Milbemax that is widely and commonly prescribed by vets as it is cheap and very effective at eradicating a broad spectrum of parasites. Having experienced quite severe sickness in Neka following the use of this wormer, I personally would never recommend it for anyone with a Lapphund, but especially anyone with an Infindigo Lapphund, as they are all related to Neka and could therefore potentially also be affected. Other products are available and Lappy owners should seek advice from their vet on appropriate wormers. Anyone with an Infindigo puppy will be given lots of advice by me on safe worming and flea treatments, if necessary.
There have been a few incidences seen of auto-immune conditions in Finnish Lapphunds, such as Cushings disease, Addison's Disease and hypothyroidism. In order to avoid ever producing any of these, we undertake careful breeding strategies to keep inbreeding to an absolute minimum.
Idiopathic epilepsy is another rare condition that we avoid through careful mate selection when breeding.
For further details on any of these issues, please contact me or refer to the information published by the breed clubs or the Kennel Club.
For the results of health tests on our dogs, please follow the link at the top right above.