- Lifespan: 10 to 14 years.
- Height: dogs reach 71-76 cm; bitches – 68-71 cm.
- Weight: 32 to 59 kg.
We are dealing with large animals, distinguished by an impressive and sometimes menacing appearance. Nobility, bravery and excellent guarding qualities are in their blood: for a good reason ancestors of modern Akita guarded royals, approved themselves in the best way in hunting such dangerous animals as wild boars and bears.
Akita face challenges with confidence, zealously guards its territory. As you can imagine, dogs of such a strong, independent and even stubborn temper need an owner with a strong character.
Common health problems for the American Akita
There are a number of problems you can face when raising a dog. This does not mean all the listed diseases will inevitably hit your pet, but every responsible owner is obliged to know about them and recognize the symptoms in order to provide help in time.
Allergy tendency is a major dog health problem in general and in our breed in particular. Therefore, let’s first figure out what an allergy is. Allergy is the response of the immune system to the corresponding stimulus (allergen). These are certain products, vegetable proteins, insects, and so on.
If the allergen accumulates in the dog’s body, this causes an oversensitivity of the immune system, which leads to a number of very unpleasant and often severe consequences, such as inflammation of the mucous membranes, severe itching, swelling, and skin redness.
Allergens you are going to face
As we have already mentioned, there are a great variety of them: from the most harmless to extremely dangerous for your pet health.
Pollen or mold spores, dust mites, insect proteins (most often flea saliva), and certain medications may cause allergic reactions.
Allergy Symptoms you should know
Edema: swollen snout, nose, lips, edematous eyelids, ears.
Severe itching: ears are most commonly affected. Less commonly, nose and eyes (you will notice a profuse discharge).
Increased sneezing and unusual cough.
Intestinal problems: diarrhea and vomit can also be signs of not only poison, but also allergies.
Skin rashes such as urticaria or various redness.
In general, dysplasia is not typical for the American Akita breed, but not excluded either.
What it is anyway? Not always hip bones fit tightly to the hip joints, and that causes pain, lameness of one or both hind legs. Accurate diagnosis of this disease is only possible by X-ray image.
Thyroid gland problems
Thyroid gland failure may lead to hypothyrosis, manifested by epileptic seizures, hair loss, excessive pigmentation, and obesity tendency. In this case, the veterinarian should prescribe the appropriate medication and the necessary diet.
The highest hazard is stomach torsion. It is typical for large dogs receiving one big meal. As the result, being hungry, they gobble their ration, gasping a large amount of air, drink a lot and greedily, and then do a lot of physical activity. The stomach becomes severely stretched and then twisted, which prevents the dog from belching to get rid of excess gas or food. Most often this happens in old age. In advanced cases, the blood outflow becomes difficult, the pressure drops and the dog may fall into a state of shock. Take the animal to a doctor immediately if you find severe swelling and unsuccessful attempts to vomit.
Unfortunately, many older dogs suffer from progressive retinal detachment. At first, they stop seeing in the dark, and then gradually lose their vision in daylight. However, many animals adapt well to vision changes or even loss, adjusting to the world around with the help of other senses.
Black scour, distemper, leptospirosis, trichophytosis are a nightmare for every dog owner, since they mean difficult and expensive treatment, special care, isolation and not always a happy outcome. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay close attention to preventive measures and know the symptoms of these diseases.
Most often, dangerous infections are caught through contact with a sick animal (it concerns not only dogs, but any animal).
Therefore, try to follow several preventive measures:
– if possible, do not allow your dog to come into contact with homeless animals, do not unleash, as in order to become infected with the distemper, a sniff of a sick stranger is enough. Of course, socialization is necessary for your Akita, so provide communication conditions within a trusted dog company.
– dumps and other places of garbage accumulation conceal a great danger. If there is waste, there are always rats – the main carriers of various infections, including leptospirosis. Try to avoid such places; before you know it, your dog will grab some nasty thing.
– it’s no secret that dogs love to sniff and (oh, my God!) feast on feces, while such a pleasure is fraught with the hazard to pick up helminths (parasites).
Things to pay attention to
Important signs of health problems: loss of appetite, apathy, dry nose, profuse shedding. The sooner you notice that something wrong is going on and take the dog to the vet, the more chances that the disease will be mild and your pet will recover sooner. You cannot ignore even the most harmless symptoms: the longer you postpone treatment, the more likely your dog will be doomed to such serious consequences as loss of vision, hearing, limbs paralysis, etc.
Choosing a healthy puppy
The most favorable time to buy a puppy is 1.5-2.5 months old. The puppies are already quite independent, socialized and ready to move to a new home.
There are a number of important things to keep in mind:
– Do not look for a “cheapest” purebred puppy. As a rule, all serious breeders adhere to more or less the same pricing.
– Parents of your puppy shall have the following documents: pedigree indicating the issued club name, breeding license, medical record and special health test results for this breed. All of these documents and evaluations will ensure that your puppy’s appearance and physiological aspects will meet breed standards.
– Arrange a meeting with the breeders at their place to see the puppies’ living conditions. Ask what nutrition their mother received during pregnancy, since this is one of the most important factors in the health of future offspring, find out all the nuances of the vaccination, antiparasitic program, make sure there weren’t genetic diseases in the pedigree of little Akitas.
Plan your visit so that you have the opportunity to get a good look at the puppies: how socialized they are, who has leadership qualities, what character traits they show. Remember that an overly assertive and aggressive Akita will probably only develop these qualities, and the quiet and timid ones will be so in adulthood. If you want to test their nervous system, make a loud sound above their ears: the cowardly ones will hide, and the daredevils, on the contrary, will show curiosity and activity.
– And now you are examining the entire brood: pay attention to each puppy activity. Healthy Akita puppies are cheerful and curious, fairly chubby, not coward and very interactive. Pay attention to the mucous membrane: pink – the puppy is healthy; pale – there may be worms or anemia manifestation. The eyes should be clean, without purulent discharge and redness. The ears cleanliness is also a very important factor: if you notice a profuse plaque, a specific smell, or they shaking the head, it is a sure sign of ticks or other ear infections. Examine the tummy carefully: if you notice swelling in the navel or groin area, this is a sign of hernia. Saw wounds and scratches on the skin, find out what those means, since most often such signs indicate the fleas or allergic reactions. Take a closer look at how smooth the puppy’s gait is, whether its paws and bones are well formed.
– “This one!” Finally, you made a choice? Wonderful, now proceed to inspection of documents. First of all, study the pet passport, check the vaccination and anthelmetic treatment dates. Ask about the schedule of further vaccinations. Check the metrics: the tattoo number must match the tattoo of the puppy. Read the sales agreement carefully, it shall guarantee the following: if it turns out that the puppy is sick, you have the right to return it back.