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Health Concerns

There is no substitute for a healthy puppy. No dog, whether purbred or mixed breed, can be guaranteed a life that is free of health problems and today's Pug is no exception.  Conscientious breeders research health issues and the methods for inheritance of genetic problems.   Through careful and informed breeding, great progress has been achieved in lessening the number of health concerns that affect the Pug.


Recommended Health Tests for Pug Dogs


  • PDE - Pug Dog Encephalitis NECROTIZING MENINGOENCEPHALITIS - DNA test from the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab - see explantion below.

  • Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist- Pug Dog Club of America recommends ANNUAL screening. Results registered with OFA - ORResults registered with CERF - see 'Eye Diseases' for details

  • Patellar Luxation - see 'Orthopedic Concerns' for details

  • Hip Dysplasia - see 'Orthopedic Concerns' for details


The Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC, is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). The CHIC, working with participating parent clubs, provides a resource for breeders and owners of purebred dogs to research and maintain information on the health issues prevalent in specific breeds.


Please note: Some breeders have their dogs tested for these recommended tests but may not have them registered with OFA.


Read more about CHIC at




Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)


Approximately 1.2% of Pug dogs die of necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), also known as Pug dog encephalitis (PDE). NME is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that is usually progressive and fatal. Symptoms of NME include seizures, depression, ataxia, abnormal gait and blindness (1). Female, fawn-colored Pug Dogs younger than 7 years of age are more apt to develop NME than older, male and non-fawn colored individuals (2). Recent research has revealed that susceptibility to NME is associated with the dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) region of dog chromosome 12 (3). The association is at or near the region containing the DLA class II genes. Dogs that have two identical copies of the NME associated markers in this region, have an observed risk (OR) of 12.75 for NME in their lifetime over Pugs that have only one or no copies of these markers (OR 0-1.08).


Results reported as

  • N/N   No copies of the NME associated markers (homozygous for normal). These dogs have a low risk of developing NME.

  • N/S   1 copy of the NME associated markers (heterozygous for susceptibility). These dogs have a low risk of developing NME.

  • S/S   2 copies of the NME susceptibility associated markers. These dogs are 12.75 times more likely to develop NME in their lifetime.


Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Def)


Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PK Def) is an inherited hemolytic anemia caused by a defect in the enzyme pyruvate kinase. Loss of function of this enzyme results in premature death of red blood cells. Affected dogs do not have sufficient quantities of red blood cells to adequately supply the body with oxygen. Observable signs in affected dogs may include lack of energy, low exercise tolerance and fatigue in dogs that appear otherwise fit. Clinically, dogs with PK Def present with a severe anemia, increased iron levels, increased bone density, may have an enlarged spleen and liver as well as fibrous connective tissue replacement of bone marrow cells. Bone marrow and liver failure typically occur by 5 years of age. The disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disorder thus both sexes are equally affected and two copies of the defective gene must be present for dogs to be affected. Carrier dogs, those with one defective and one normal copy, show no signs but have half the normal level of pyruvate kinase activity. Breeding two carriers is expected to produce 25% affected offspring and 50% carriers of the disease.


Results reported as:

  • N/N   No copies of the PK Def mutation; dog is normal.

  • N/K   1 copy of PK Def mutation; dog is a carrier and unaffected but has half the normal Pyruvate Kinase activity of N/N dogs.

  • K/K    2 copies of the PK Def mutation; dog is affected.


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