Hip Dysplasia has been reduced
in the Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon. In 1996, the Orthopaedic
Foundation for Animals (OFA) estimated the current percentage of dysplastic dogs at 7.2%. The percentage of OFA
Excellent ratings was 19.6%. These figures can be somewhat misleading, as
not all x-rays
for Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are submitted to OFA for certification.
Another method of Hip Evaluation is with PennHip , view info at http://www.vet.upenn.edu/pennhip
Hip Dysplasia can be caused by a number of things but most often indicates a hip joint
structure that cannot withstand normal use. This could mean a shallow socket, or a ball
that is not smooth and round. Hip Dysplasia is polygenic, meaning that many genes affect
the hip structure and it isnot a simple Genetic problem to get rid of.
All Wire-Haired Pointing Griffons should be radiographically cleared of Hip Dysplasia
at two years of age. This is a minimum requirement for breeding.
View Muse and Bonny getting their PennHip Evaluations http://www.griffonpoint.com/pennhip.htm
Not as common as Hip Dysplasia, but Elbow Problems have occurred in Griffons.
Griffons have good bone structure and strength. This is from their long time use as a
hunting dog, since Griffons who were not structurally sound did not get used for breeding.
Other Structure Problems
The only other Orthoepaedic problem that I have come across is a back problem
(degenerative disk disease) in a younger Griffon. It is not clear whether this was a
genetic trait or a congenital defect.
Some Griffons can be affected by Panoestitis, or Growing Pains. Pano is basically
the inflamation of the long bones. This can happen any time during the growth of the dog,
usually indicated by a sudden lameness. If your Griffon is affected by Pano, it is best
diagnosed with an X-Ray, as most Griffons will not give the usual pain response that
Veterinarians look for. On a scale from 1 - 10, Pano is expressed as an 11 for the dog that
has a long bone palpatated, yet a Griffon will not show pain, instead he will normally lick
the hand that hurts him. Pano is easily diagnosed with an X-Ray, with the inflamed bone
showing up as a glowing white area.
Entropian is the
curling in of the eyelids. Entropian Eyelids will cause the hair to rub against
eye. Another polygenic genetic problem, with many genes contributing to the disorder,
this is a more common genetic problem in Griffons.
Entropian is a very painful disorder for the dog, requiring delicate surgery to prevent
eye damage. With an Entropian eye, the eyelids may roll in as early as 8 - 10 weeks or
could roll in between 4 to 6 months, however this can occur even when the Griffon is a year
of age or older.
The Griffon's eyes will water excessively, and you may notice that he paws at his eye
to try to relieve the discomfort. Sometimes, with a younger Griffon, straightening the skin
with a temporary suture will give the head a chance to grow, and this may let the puppy
grow out of the disorder. Normally, the veterinarian will apply medication to the eye
initially to rule out environmental causes for the entropian before suggesting surgery.
Most commonly, Entropian starts as Intermittent Entropian (with the eyelids sometimes
positioned normally), advances to Entropian, and requires surgery.
Seen less often in Wire-Haired Pointing Griffons. Ectropian is the
drooping or curling out of the eyelids, causing dry eyes, and accumulation of foreign
debris. Ectropian is also surgically correctable for the health of the dog.
This is seldom Intermittent, and may become more obvious with age.
PRA, a form of hereditary
blindness, is relatively unknown in the Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon. PRA in Griffons is
early onset, either seen in puppies (6 months) or by 5 years. To prevent PRA
or any other genetic eye disease from becoming
more common, annual eye examinations are recommended for breeding dogs.
ERG's are available for early diagnosis of PRA, this is a more involved Eye Examination
that requires that the Griffon be sedated and the test results are in graph form, showing
the levels of light that are percieved by the Griffon. In the two Griffons that we have
tested with ERG's, the waves were very similar to those waves found in Pointers. If you are
interested in more information on ERG's, or if you want to compare your Griffon's Graphs
with ours, please contact us.
Cataracts are rare, but can be seen occasionally. If your Griffon is affected with
hereditary Cataracts, you will find that they occur in both eyes in about the same
location. Cataracts brought on by old age may occur in one eye or the other.
Cherry eye (rupture of the Harderian Gland or Third Eyelid) can also occur in Griffons.
Again this is a very seldom seen eye disorder.
Cherry Eye is most obvious, often happens in both eyes within a short time of each
other. The gland will swell above the tear duct, and most often has a brilliant red/pink
|Surgery is most often required, involving removal of the gland, or repositioning and
stitching it back into place.
Sensitivity to Anesthetic
Some Griffons are sensitive to Anesthetic, so using anesthetic to do routine procedures like trimming toenails or ear care is best avoided. This sensitivity can be observed by the Griffon taking longer to metabolize anesthetic from their system... or in extreme cases, death.
Making certain your Vet knows that some Griffons are sensitive to Anesthetic is important. Especially during surgery. Your Vet may suggest using a more expensive anesthetic, that is more easily metabolized.
There are two causes of Umbilical Hernias. One cause is the mother pulling on the
umbilical cord too roughly when the puppies are being whelped.
The other cause is genetic, with the constricting ring at the entrance of the umbilical
cord closing imcompletely. This can be easily corrected by surgery, If the hernia is so
large that you can put your finger through the opening and into the body cavity, the
surgery should be done sooner rather than later. The mode of inheritance is unclear,
however appears that it may be a dominant trait.
Sometimes the teeth of a Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon do not mesh properly, resulting
in a crooked bite, or an overshot bite. An ideal "bite pattern" is a scissors
bite. A Griffon puppy will typically have a later maturing dentition, with adult teeth
present by 6 months of age.
Included in this catagory is missing teeth, Specifially seen in some family groups of Griffons. Griffons have been known to miss incisors, canines, PreMolars 1, 2, 3 and/or 4, and even have been missing molars.
So important is the proper Griffon coat to the function of the dog, that the
description is included in the name of the Breed in North America. Perhaps because one of
Korthal's first Griffons (Janus) was a soft coated Griffon, the odd soft or wooly coated
Griffon still turns up today.
For photographs and comprehensive discussion on coat types and genetics visit the WirehairedPointing Griffon Coat Page.
Lack of correct pigment can also be a genetic problem. This can occur in
the coat, the toenails, the iris (eye) or even the nose. Below is an
example of lack of correct pigment in the nose of a Griffon, along side
normally pigmented nose.
above: nose lacking pigment
above: nose with correct pigment
Many thanks to the Veterinarians who have consulted with me, and to the
Griffon Breeders and Owners who have shared this information which is vital to a healthy
future for our Griffons.
References and Online Genetics Resources
Online Genetics Resources -
Books on Canine Health and Genetics
Breeding Better Dogs, Kyle Onstatt, Howell 1983, ISBN 0-87605-400-9
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Carlson, DVM & Giffin MD, Howell 1992,
Genetics of the Dog, Malcolm B. Willis, Howell 1989, ISBN 0-87605-551-X
Practical Genetics for Dog Breeders, Malcolm B. Willis, Howell 1992, ISBN
Your Dog, His Health and Happiness, Louis L. Vine, DVM, ARCO 1982 ISBN