Beagles are a fun breed of dog, known for their cute howl and floppy ears. You may look at your pup as a member of the family, often feeling as if he is like your child. As a pet parent, you understand how important it is to look after your dog’s health. There are many ways a curious beagle can get into trouble and need a quick trip to the vet, but we also want you to be aware of the common beagle health problems that your dog is predisposed to.

To make things easier on you, we put together this guide to common issues that you want to watch out for. Read on to learn about the top beagle health problems so that you can catch issues before they become huge problems and keep your pup healthy for the long term.

Cherry Eye (Nictitans gland prolapse)

Cherry eye is the enlargement of the gland in the third eyelid with resultant prolapse. What this means is the gland comes out of its normal position and becomes swollen so much so that you can see a red lump. This can cause panic among first-time beagle owners because it looks like the gland is about to come out from the beagle’s eye.

The leading causes of cherry eye are inflammation and a lack of connective tissue bands which secure the gland in its proper place. Some experts also believe that cherry eye is hereditary, so it is worth noting if the pup’s parents have a history of this issue.

Signs and symptoms

While this condition is not too difficult to spot once it is full-blown, there are some signs to watch for to catch it before it gets to a severe point. These include:

  • Reddening of the eyelid’s inner lining
  • A pinkish or reddish mass protrudes from the eye’s corner
  • Mucous nasal discharge
  • Consistent itchiness of the eye


The most common treatment is surgery. The doctor will either put the gland back in place via sutures or remove it using a cautery procedure. It is highly essential that the veterinarian who is going to perform the procedure is experienced and trained. Otherwise, he may do more harm than good.


With hypothyroidism, your beagle’s body fails to produce a normal amount of thyroid hormone. It actually produces less than the required hormonal amount. The thyroid hormone is vital in metabolism, so this condition often leads to noticeable metabolic changes in your beagle’s body.

Hypothyroidism can be brought about by three conditions:

  • A weak immune system
  • Toxin overload
  • Inadequate exercise

Signs and symptoms

You want to watch out for the following signs that your dog may have this condition:

  • Dull coat
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin or skin conditions
  • Always acting sleepy or tired
  • Weight gain
  • Extreme intolerance for the cold weather


Sometimes, you can suppress hypothyroidism by increasing exercise if the cause is the lack of exercise or the abundance of toxins in your beagle’s body. However, in moderate to severe cases, your pup will need a thyroid hormone supplement that he will need to take regularly.

Keep in mind to never self-medicate serious beagle health problems – always consult your veterinarian before introducing your beagle to any medication.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

The intervertebral disk is supposed to be located between the vertebrae and the spine. However, when damaged, it goes through the vertebral canal and presses on the spinal canal, which causes pressure on the spine. Various autonomic conditions are controlled by the spine, so if there is pressure on the spine or it’s injured, different bodily functions can also be affected. This is a serious beagle health problem. In severe cases, paralysis may even happen.

The intervertebral disk protruding into the spinal cord is usually be caused by physical trauma. So, if your dog experiences an injury to his back, pay special attention for signs of this condition.

Signs and symptoms

Watch your dog for the following symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Refusing to get up, even for food
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Acting aggressively towards you when you try to pet him or pick him up
  • Refusing to strain his neck to bend down
  • Losing control of rear end movement


For mild cases, your vet may suggest confining your pup to a cage for at least two weeks to give time for healing of the mildly damaged intervertebral disk. If, after two weeks, there is still no sign of recovery, then further diagnosis is recommended. In some cases, surgery is done to relieve the pressure.

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Idiopathic epilepsy is recurrent episodes of seizures. It is a chronic condition that can progress hazardously, if not addressed properly. It is also a terrifying dog health condition for an owner because it leaves you feeling helpless to make your fur baby better during an episode.

This problem is thought to be passed through genetics. However, it may also be caused by the following:

  • Poisoning
  • Low blood sugar
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Brain tumors or brain injury
  • Heat stroke
  • Vaccinations
  • Severe thyroid problems

Signs and symptoms

You’ll usually be able to tell if your pup is having a seizure, but since all seizures are different, here are some signs to watch for:

  • Violent and spastic muscular contraction in repeated motions
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Imaginary chewing on something


Beagle owners are strongly advised to be educated when dealing with idiopathic epilepsy. When he starts contracting, make sure that the environment around him is safe. Keep him away from harm by controlling his surroundings. Never touch him while he is contracting because you might injure him more if you do so.

Your veterinarian will most likely run a few diagnostic tests on your beagle to find the underlying reason for the condition. Once the main cause is analyzed, your vet will begin the appropriate treatment. In some cases, your vet may not offer any treatment, such as anti-seizure medication. This usually happens when the seizures are not severe or occurring often and do not have a treatable underlying cause.


While obesity is not only a problem beagles experience, it is something that is quite common with the breed. When your pup weighs too much, it starts to affect his overall health. He may begin to having mobility issues and experience joint pain. Also, it could affect his organ function, specifically the liver.

Signs and Symptoms

There is one sign of obesity in your dog, and that is weight gain. You may notice his face filling out or that his belly is getting rounder. Usually, by the time it is noticeable, the problem is advanced.


You should find out from your vet what your dog’s ideal weight is and ensure that he stays at that weight. You should always follow your vet’s advice about feeding and exercise to ensure your pup stays at a healthy weight. If you have concerns, discuss them with your vet. Your pup may need special food or may have an underlying health condition that is causing the weight issue.

Ear Infections

Beagles are predisposed to ear infections because they have long, droopy ears. These ears may look completely adorable, but they also make it easy for moisture to get trapped and for bacteria to grow.

Signs and Symptoms

You should pay attention to your pup if he exhibits any of the following:

  • Scratching at the ears
  • Rubbing his ears
  • Whining accompanying head movement
  • Discharge from ear


It is essential to get an ear infection treated as soon as possible because if left alone, it can lead to deafness. Your vet will probably prescribe drops that you will need to put in the ear. You can avoid ear infections in the future by carefully cleaning your dog’s ears. Also, if your pup gets wet, make sure to dry out the ears.

Beagle Health Problems Final Words

Has your pet beagle encountered these problems before? We’re interested to learn more about beagle health problems. How did you cope? Let us know!

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