Understanding Beagle Health and Mobility

The lively and energetic Beagle is an adventurous and family dog. Naturally curious and originally bred for hunting, Beagles love the outdoors. Characterized by its incredible sense of smell, this medium-sized dog needs plenty of exercise and may bark when excited. They can be a bit independent, especially when looking for a good scent, but the Beagle is a great addition to any family.

Like any breed, the Beagle is susceptible to some hereditary health problems, but for the most part the breed is very healthy. Here is a brief introduction to a few conditions that may impact your Beagle’s health or mobility:

IVDD in Beagles

beagle wheelchair

With their shorter legs and long backs, Beagles are known to have back and disc problems. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is the most common spinal condition affecting them. This degenerative disease is prevalent in the breed, with approximately 99% of Beagles considered at risk. Most Beagles will suffer from disc degeneration in the neck; however, the spine and lower back may also be affected. Depending on the severity and location of the herniated disc, a dog may be paralyzed. After cage rest and approval by a veterinarian, a Beagle Wheelchair can be used during therapy sessions to support mobility while the dog heals.

Beagle pain syndrome

Although named after the breed, Beagle pain syndrome can also affect other dog breeds. Beagle pain syndrome is a form of meningitis that causes inflammation of the blood vessels that typically affects Beagle puppies between the ages of five and ten months. This can cause back pain, muscle spasms and neck stiffness. Because the condition is quite painful, the way the Beagle stands may change (with an arched back) and even show signs of weakness. Although rare, some puppies with Beagle Pain Syndrome have suffered paralysis and vision loss. Every Beagle will exhibit different symptoms, but if your Beagle puppy shows signs of pain or changes in mobility, he should be examined by a veterinarian so he can receive treatment quickly.


Obesity is a growing problem among Beagles. With its sturdy construction and shorter legs, keeping your Beagle at an optimal weight can help limit strain on your dog’s joints. Excess weight can have a significant impact on a Beagle’s ability to move around and even cause back pain. A healthy diet, portion control and plenty of exercise are essential to helping your Beagle maintain a healthy weight. An adult Beagle needs around two hours of exercise per day to stay in shape!

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a joint disease caused when a dog’s hip socket does not develop properly. Over time, this can damage the joint and lead to hip pain or arthritis. Although not very common among Beagles, 18.5% of all Beagles tested have abnormal hips. According to the Animal Orthopedic Foundation, Beagles are considered to be at moderate risk of developing hip dysplasia. In its advanced stages, hip dysplasia can limit a dog’s mobility, causing stiff movements and making it difficult for a dog to support its own weight. In these cases, a dog wheelchair is often recommended to support the dog’s weight and encourage it to walk.

Ear infections

The Beagle’s cute, droopy ears can impact the health of its ears. Due to the size and shape of their ears, beagles are prone to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning and checks are recommended to prevent ear infection. Other causes of ear problems in Beagles can come from mites, bacteria, or yeast buildup. Ear health is extremely important. Signs of an ear infection include:

  • Head shaking
  • Excessive digging or scratching of the ears
  • Odor or redness
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Signs of pain

Ear infections are very treatable and at any sign of an earache, your Beagle should be taken to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Epilepsy and Seizures in Beagles

Beagles are prone to seizures. According to a British study, the Beagle was in the top 10 dog breeds suffering from epilepsy. Beagle epilepsy can range from an occasional seizure to a more frequent and intense seizure resulting in loss of consciousness. Epilepsy can occur in beagles at any age, but most commonly begins from age 1.5 years through adulthood.

If your dog has a seizure, protect him first, then try to time the seizure and note your dog’s reactions after the seizure is over. Behavioral cues can be helpful when your veterinarian is trying to determine the cause of your dog’s seizures. Some dogs may have a one-time attack and never have one again. Others will face chronic crises that may require medical attention. Always check with your veterinarian if your dog is having a seizure, they can help you determine the level of care your Beagle will need.

Beagle Wellbeing

As a breed, Beagles are relatively healthy. With proper care, regular veterinary visits, and a healthy lifestyle, your Beagle should live a long, healthy life. THE average lifespan of a Beagle is between 10 and 15 years old. Enjoy every minute with your best friend, and with a Beagle’s sense of adventure and formidable nose, be ready for lots of exploration!


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