Jack Russell Terrier - Canine Companion or Demon Dog (Chapter 8, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 8

In general the Jack Russell breed has a good reputation for being healthy and long-lived because of the strict protection breeders have exercised over the gene pool and prevention of direct in-breeding. When compared to other "showing" breeds of dog the Jack Russell has a much lower instance of in-breeding. Jack Russell's will live anywhere form 14-21 years on average if properly cared for. Although generally healthy for the most part, there are some specific health concerns that have been noticed in certain lines of Jack Russell and can appear in any line or generation because of recessive genetics.

Some Jack Russell specific health issues are:

· Hereditary Cataracts

· Primary Lens Luxation

· Congenital Deafness

· Medial Patellar Luxation

· Ataxia

· Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

· Myasthenia Gravis

· Von Willebrand's Disease A good breeder will avoid breeding a line that they believe may carry any of these illnesses through heredity. Good breeders will also have the puppies BAER tested for their hearing before any sales are made. All breeding pairs should be individually CERF tested and checked according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals standards before being bred in order to prevent passing on any hereditary eye or joint problems to the proposed litter. Enthusiasts are strongly urged not to by puppies that are bred form a breeding pair that is less than two years old. This is because some genetic illnesses may not have been noticed yet when a dog is under 2 years of age.

Caring for your Jack Russell Please note that this information is provided as a rough overview and checklist of concerns to have tested. It should not be used in place of sound medical advice from your own veterinarian.


o CERF - Vision Testing

o Cataracts, Distichiasis, Glaucoma, PLL, PRA

o Primary Lens Luxation

o Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)


o BAER- Hearing Testing


o ASPCA Help Line

- 1-888-426-4435

o Avoid Skunks! - Their spray can be toxic to some Jacks and can cause convulsions, respiratory failure, facial ulcers and loss of consciousness.

o Raisins! - These are toxic to Jack Russell's and will cause renal failure

o http://www.terrier.com/breed/toxicity.php4 - a Guide to Possible Signs of Toxicity

o Consult a listing of poisonous plants such as the one found at http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html so that you know which ones to try to keep your Jack away form.


o Coonhound Paralysis. A neurological paralysis that caused flaccid paralysis and loss of bladder control and respiratory function. Believe to be an immune response to an allergy to Raccoon saliva. Often follows a Raccoon bite.

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