OTHC is committed to providing educational information about various aspects of our Havanese friends. Havanese are generally quite healthy as a breed, but that doesn't make them immune to all diseases. The health information we will recommend is from credible veterinary sources, which will be cited. Even in veterinary science, there isn't always a single right answer for all situations. We will provide information about diseases, some of which may be able to be prevented through vaccination. We realize there are differing points of view on whether and how often to vaccinate against various diseases, and OTHC has no interest in stirring up a debate on these issues. Decisions about your individual dog's health are between you and your veterinarian.
The American Kennel Club's Canine Health Foundation (CHF) funds research on canine health issues. They have a list of top health concerns, and a number of fact sheets on infectious diseases. We are listing a few here, but encourage you to use the above links to peruse any and all of the CHF materials.
All About Coughs
There are a number of different organisms responsible for what is commonly called "Kennel Cough." This article explains the various viruses and bacteria, how it's spread, how to prevent or avoid it, how to recognize it, whether it can be transmitted to humans, and other important facts. Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC): Information for Dog Owners: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation & Michelle Evason, BSc DVM DACVIM, Jason Stull, VMD MPVM PhD DACVPM; May 2020
Breeders, do you know the facts about Brucellosis?
This is a sneaky disease that can go unnoticed. Learn why it's so important for dogs to be tested prior to breeding, And, since this is one that is transmissible to humans, it's important to know about it. Canine Brucellosis: Information for Dog Owners: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation & Michelle Evason, BSc DVM DACVIM, Jason Stull, VMD MPVM PhD DACVPM; March 2019
What is Lepto?
You may have heard that the Lepto vaccine may be dangerous. But do you know how dangerous this disease is? And that it can be transmitted to humans? This is important reading! Leptospirosis: Information for Dog Owners: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation & Michelle Evason, BSc DVM DACVIM, Jason Stull, VMD MPVM PhD DACVPM; October 2017
The Dreaded Parvo Parvovirus
This is an illness that no one wants. Learn what you need to know to avoid it, what the symptoms are, how to manage it, and more. Canine Parvovirus: Information for Dog Owners: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation & Michelle Evason, BSc DVM DACVIM, Jason Stull, VMD MPVM PhD DACVPM; June 2018
Is there a Dog Flu?
Yes, there is a "dog flu!" This factsheet explains what the dog owner needs to know about preventing, recognizing, and managing this potential disease. Canine Influenza (flu): Information for Dog Owners: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation & Michelle Evason, BSc DVM DACVIM, Jason Stull, VMD MPVM PhD DACVPM; December 2017
The Havanese Club of America is the AKC "parent club" for the Havanese Breed. As such, they provide breed-specific health information about Havanese on their website. One of the articles on HCA's website is A Layman's Guide to Havanese Health. This is recommended reading for all Havanese owners. Note: In 2022, HCA removed the BAER hearing test from the "required" list health of testing needed to receive a CHIC number (see OFA info below), but there may still be mentions of it on the HCA website.
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, commonly known as OFA, is the repository for much of the health testing results for dogs. The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) works with AKC parent clubs to determine which diseases for which each breed should be tested. The OFA website has information on several diseases common to dogs, such as hip dysplasia, patella luxation, heart disease, and others. When a breeder or dog owner has health testing done, s/he may submit it to OFA's database. Breeders researching a potential mate for their dog, and puppy buyers should become familiar with the database. They can look up test results by dog, including siblings, parents, grandparents, etc., if those dogs' tests have been submitted to OFA.
In the past several years genetic testing has become an important tool for breeders. While testing can be helpful in determining coat color and type, more importantly, it can indicate whether a particular dog carries certain diseases. This testing requires identification of the genes that are involved in a particular condition, which is a slow process. There are now several companies that do genetic testing, a few of which are:
University of California Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Wisdom Panel, and others.