Chow chows are sturdy dogs that were originally bred in China as working dogs. They have long, fluffy hair and short faces that given them the ruffed appearance of a lion. Chow chows are dogs that have recently been bred for larger size, and as such they are prone to hip problems.
Chow chow dogs are prone to some serious health problems, due primarily to their physical characteristics. Their long, thick fur can hide hot spots on their skin, while their short faces can cause snorting and respiratory difficulties. Folded eyelids cause eye infection, and folded ears lead to ear infections. They are also prone to hip dysplasia.
Like many large dogs who have been bred to become larger, a chow chow's skeleton can prove problematic. The larger dogs carry more weight than their bones are designed for. According to peteducation.com, this results in problems like hip dysplasia, where the chow chow's hip joints become loose. Because hip joins consist of a ball and socket, loose joints allow the head of a dog's leg bones--the "ball"--to slip out of the hips--the "sockets"--and disrupt the dog's ability to walk.
The most obvious symptom of hip dysplasia in chow chows is pain in the hip area, especially after exercise. Chow chows with advanced cases can experience this pain while walking. In some cases dogs will be unable to run at all because their back legs buckle so quickly. Unless this condition is treated, it will scar the dog's joints and give it a permanent limp, or make it incapable of walking at all.
Hip dysplasia is considered genetic, meaning that dogs are born with hip joints that will deteriorate at some point. The dysplasia becomes evident when puppies go through their growth phases, and their joints don't "keep up." According to the Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Complete Guide, hip dysplasia can also appear in older dogs, when their hip joints begin to degenerate as part of the aging process.
Hip dysplasia is successfully treated if it's caught early. Because this is a disease that affects bones, ligaments and tendons, hip dysplasia is generally treated with surgery. Veterinary surgeons tighten the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together, to tighten the connection. Dogs are then put on restricted lifestyles for a period of time, without any strenuous activity, to protect the hip joints.
- black/blue tongued chow chow image by Scrivener from Fotolia.com