ROUTINE HEALTH CHECKS
1. BODY CHECK At least once a week, possibly when grooming, perform a full body check of your BGV. Run your hands through his coat and over every part of his body to check for any lumps, wounds, cuts on inflammation. Check a dog's testicles and a bitch's mammary glands for unusual swellings.
2. EYES These should be clear and sparking, without discharge, signs of irritation or redness, as this could indicate infection. The pupils should be the same size. Check for ingrowing eyelashes or hair that looks as if it may be causing a problem.
3. EARS The GBGV and PBGV have large leathers (ear flaps) which, in hanging down, retain warmth and moisture in the ear canal. The inside of the ears should be clean with no odour so should be cleaned regularly to keep fresh, avoid build up of wax and ward off infection. An approved ear preparation is suitable. Removal of excess hair may also be necessary.
4. TEETH AND GUMS Check the mouth by gently lifting your BGV's lips. The gums should be pink. Lack of colour or darker, redder patches may indicate a problem. There should be no bleeding. Check for growths or lumps and for cuts or sores on the tongue. Teeth should be clean and white with no yellow plaque or tartar, also make sure none are loose. Bad breath could indicate a digestive or bad tooth problem. There are products on the market for keeping teeth clean.
5. COAT AND SKIN These should not be dull but clean and free of dandruff or flaking. There should be no knots. A good bristle brush helps to stimulate the circulation. Any skin complaint, particularly in summer time, may be a flea allergy or hot spot (wet dermatitis). Fox mange (sarcoptes scabiei) transmitted to dogs can also be a problem. Nowadays this is not only restricted to rural areas but can surface in suburbia as well. Any problem, particularly involving hair loss, itching or rawness, should be checked by your vet.
6. UNDER THE TAIL Hold up the tail and check for any sign of discharge or soreness. Hair will probably need cutting away and any faecal matter removed. Keep an eye on the regularity of your BGV's toilet habits and make sure the appearance is consistent. Diarrhoea, blood, constipation or mucus may need veterinary attention, as may the emptying of anal glands.
7. PAWS Check the pads for open cuts, splinters or grass seeds. Long nails can cause problems and should be trimmed either with clippers, a file or grinder. Although nails should be short, be careful not to cut off too much as cutting into the quick can cause bleeding.
8. NOSE Your BGV's nose should be moist and cool, not dry and cracked. There should be no discharge or sneezing. Ensure that breathing is free and unobstructed.
9. WEIGHT Be aware of the ideal weight range for yourBGV. Obesity is the cause of many problems in dogs so monitor weight regularly and keep your BGV on a steady, well balanced diet. Plenty of exercise will also help. If things start to get out of control, seek advice sooner rather than later. If you are aware of the rib cage, then you have probably got it just right.
10. EXERCISE AND ENERGY Your BGV should always look alert. Watch the way your BGV moves when walking and running. Does he seem tired, is he limping or is his movement stiff? Coughing or excessive panting may also indicate a problem. If unsure, seek veterinary advice
REMEMBER - PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE BUT, IF IN DOUBT, CONSULT YOUR VET!