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What Health Problems Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis Prone To?

What Health Problems Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis Prone To?

Are you thinking about getting a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy and want to know what health problems they could be prone to? Maybe you have a Corgi and want to find out how to keep them healthy in their senior years? Here’s everything you need to know about the health problems of Corgis!

What Health Problems Are Pembroke Welsh Corgis Prone To? Pembroke Welsh Corgis are not the healthiest breed and can be prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Distichiasis, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Degenerative Myelopathy, Idiopathic Epilepsy and Von Willebrand’s disease. 

Read on to find out more about the most common health problems Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be prone to, and what you can do to keep them healthy for as long as possible.

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

The Most Common Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health Problems

The most common health problems Pembroke Welsh Corgis are prone to are:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) 

PRA is a hereditary disease that affects your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s vision. Symptoms can progress quite rapidly for some dogs, but they’ll all eventually become completely blind.

Although this condition doesn’t cause your Corgi any pain, it can drastically affect their quality of life. Especially if they lose their vision quickly, with little time to adjust.

Thankfully, tests are available to see if parents are likely to produce affected puppies. 


Distichiasis causes extra hairs to grow inside your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s eyelid. This irritates their eyes every time they blink, which can be highly uncomfortable for them.

If a Corgi’s parents are affected, their puppies are more likely to also suffer from Distichiasis.

Left untreated, the constant irritation of the eyeball can cause corneal ulcers to develop.

Thankfully, good results often are achieved by surgically removing the extra hairs from your Corgi’s eyelid. 

Hip And Elbow Dysplasia

Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi can be at risk of suffering from dysplasia in their hips and elbow joints.

This condition causes their joints to be loose-fitting, resulting in pain and stiffness in those areas.

Joints with dysplasia tend to get progressively worse as your Corgi gets older and unfortunately, there is no cure for this. 

However, they can be managed with pain relief medication and complementary therapies like hydrotherapy.

Adult Corgis with hip or elbow dysplasia can be more likely to pass this condition on to their puppies, so shouldn’t be bred from. 

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD as it’s also known, is a serious condition, often seen in breeds with short legs and long backs, which is why Pembroke Welsh Corgis are commonly affected.

It causes the disks in their spine to rupture, which then presses onto their spinal cord.

This can be extremely painful for your Corgi and can even cause sudden paralysis and incontinence in severe cases.

If you suspect your Corgi has IVDD, you need to get advice from your vet immediately. The faster they’re treated surgically, the more chance they’ve got of making a recovery. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi on a pink background with a speech bubble that says 'What health problems can I get?'

Degenerative Myelopathy 

This is a hereditary disease, passed on from your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s parents.

It causes progressive weakness in their back legs and will eventually cause complete paralysis. This can also leave your Corgi incontinent.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Degenerative Myelopathy. However, some owners report partial improvement to the condition following rehabilitation and complementary therapies.

There is a genetic test available for breeders to test any potential adult Corgis, before they breed from them, to reduce the chances of their puppies inheriting this condition. 

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Idiopathic epilepsy is passed on from your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s parents. It causes seizures, which unfortunately cannot be cured completely.

However, seizures can usually be effectively managed with medication from your Vet.

There are genetic tests available to breeders to see if their breeding dogs are like to pass epilepsy on to their puppies. 

Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand Disease is a hereditary condition, passed on from your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s parents. This condition reduces your Corgi’s ability to stop bleeding.

It’s not always obvious your Corgi has this condition unless they’re having surgery or sustain an injury. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to control their blood loss.

There are tests available to see if your Corgi has this condition, so your vet can better prepare for them to lose more blood during surgery than an average dog. 


Due to their long rounded body shape and short legs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be prone to obesity.

Unfortunately, they’re also obsessed with food which can make this condition harder to manage.

Obesity can of course be treated by focusing on diet and exercise, but the damage this extra weight can do to your Corgi’s joints and spine is not so easy to overcome.

Allowing your Corgi to become obese can potentially reduce their life expectancy and lead to many other health issues.

How Can I Keep My Pembroke Welsh Corgi Healthy?

This is how to keep a Pembroke Welsh Corgi healthy:

Feed Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi A Healthy Diet

Choosing a high-quality and healthy diet for your Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a good step towards keeping them healthy and at an ideal weight.

Because they can be prone to gaining weight, you’ll need to keep an eye on how much food they’re eating for meals and how many dog treats they’re getting each day too.

Portion control is hugely important for Corgis and you need to stay strong. You must not give in to that cute face and those adorable pleading eyes!

Make sure you choose complete dog foods, because these contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients your Corgi needs to stay fit and well.

Avoid any foods containing any artificial ingredients, flavors, colors or fillers.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi sat on a white background with a speech bubble that says 'What health problems can I get?'

Keep Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi Active

Adult Pembroke Welsh Corgis need at least one hour of exercise every day. This helps to keep their fitness levels up and will keep on top of their weight too.

They’re an adventurous breed who love to get out of the house and explore, so make sure they get to do this as much as possible.

If your Corgi has pre-existing joint conditions, you may need to adapt their exercise to better suit their needs.

Doing too much high-intensity, fast-paced exercise, can aggravate their joints and make them more painful for your Corgi. 

Take Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi To The Vet Regularly

Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi should visit the vets at least once per year, and more often than this when they’re seniors.

This way, your vet can monitor them for any changes to their health and give you advice if you’ve got any concerns. 

Make Sure Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi Is Vaccinated

Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy shouldn’t leave your home or garden until they’ve had all their jabs.

After this, it’ll vary how often they need vaccinations, depending on where you live and how much immunity they have to the diseases the vaccines cover. 

Speak to your Vet so you keep your Corgi up to date with their vaccinations.

Also bear in mind that, in the UK, some pet insurance companies won’t pay out on certain claims for your dog if they’re not kept up to date with their vaccinations! Check the small print on your pet insurance policy to find out what is and isn’t covered.

Give Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi Parasite Prevention 

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are greedy and curious, meaning they can be much more likely to pick things up and eat them when they’re out on walks.

This can increase the chances of them getting worms or even lungworm, which is more serious.

Be sure to keep up with your Corgi’s flea and worming medication to ensure they’re protected. 

Provide Mental Enrichment For Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent dogs and their mental health is equally as important as their physical health.

Snuffle mats, lickmats, puzzle games and seeking out treats are all enjoyable activities for them.

They also enjoy dog sports, but you need to be careful not to let them injure their backs while they’re taking part.

Sports like Hoopers, rally, and obedience can be good choices, because they’re not as intense as agility or flyball. 

Protect Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s Back

Because Pembroke Welsh Corgis are prone to developing Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD as it’s known, you should take extra precautions to protect their long backs.

Don’t let them jump on and off the sofa or bed if possible. If you want them to have access to these places, teach them how to use a dog ramp or doggy steps.

Discourage any activities that cause them to jump into the air like chasing frisbees or bouncing balls, because they can easily injure their spines if they land awkwardly. 

And watch their weight too! Any extra weight will put added pressure on their already fragile spine.

Don’t Let Your Pembroke Welsh Corgi Get Overweight

Pembroke Welsh Corgis tend to be very greedy dogs, so they can easily gain weight very quickly if you let them!

Being overweight puts extra pressure on their spine, organs and joints, which may already be painful or weakened if they’ve got issues with them.

Males should weigh up to 30lbs and females should be up to 28lbs. You should be able to feel their ribs when you run your hand over them.

Letting your Corgi get just 20% heavier than this, would push them into the overweight category and potential shorten their life span, so don’t let them eat too much!

So there you have it. Pembroke Welsh Corgis aren’t the healthiest dog breed and can have problems with their eyes, joints, back, blood and can even suffer with neurological disorders too. However, not all Corgis will get all or even any of these illnesses, but it’s just something to be aware of when choosing a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to join your home.  

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