Most Common Coonhound Health Issues (Quick Guide)

By Britt Kascjak

Coonhounds are highly-driven and dedicated hunting dogs.

This purpose for the breeds can both help and hinder the dogs when it comes to their health.

The strongest and healthiest dogs are the ones that are preferred. This helps to improve the breed’s health as the healthiest dogs and lines are often continued.

But, many hunting dogs aren’t registered. As a result, there is no regulation and breeders aren’t always testing for health before breeding.

Here are some of the health problems most commonly seen in bluetick coonhounds, redbone coonhounds, Treeing Walker coonhounds, as well as the black and tan variety.

How to Prevent Health Problems 

Many health problems can’t be prevented as they are genetic. But there are steps we can take to reduce and better manage the risk. 

Feed your Coonhound high-quality dog food with all the nutrition needed to support your dog’s active lifestyle. This includes paying attention to any treats that your Coonhound is given. 

Don’t forget the importance of regular exercise for your Coonhound’s health. 

Finally, make regular veterinary visits a priority. Annual checkups can help you catch a problem early. 

Common Health Problems in Coonhounds


Coonhounds are at high risk for gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. This occurs when the stomach fills with fluid, food, or gas and twists.

As the pressure builds from GDV, it can interfere with blood flow through the body.

Common signs to watch for include:

  • Retching
  • Excessive salivation
  • Tender to the touch
  • Enlargement of the abdomen
  • Whining
  • Restlessness and pacing

Even the mildest cases of GDV are a serious health concern. Without proper treatment, this condition is fatal.

Ear Infections and Ear Mites

Coonhounds have large floppy ears. While this is an adorable feature, it also increases their risk of ear infections and ear mites.

The floppy ear traps moisture in your coonhound’s ear. This creates the perfect atmosphere for bacterial growth.

There is no guaranteed solution to avoid ear infections but regular ear cleaning can help considerably.


Also known as “Droopy Eye in Dogs”, ectropion occurs when the lower eyelid sags away from the eye.

This will impact your coonhound’s blink reflex and contribute to chronic dry eye. It can also cause irritation and trigger pink eye in your coonhound.

The only true treatment for the condition is surgery to tighten and reposition the lower eyelid.

Hemophilia B

This is a genetic bleeding disorder where the blood fails to clot properly.

It is caused by insufficient levels of factor IX, a blood protein. This is a specialized protein that is needed for the clotting process.

Coonhounds that suffer from this condition may bruise easily. Their bodies will struggle to stop bleeding from wounds and injuries.

Hip Dysplasia

This is the most common problem and one that can quickly ruin a hunting dog’s career.

Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of a coonhound’s hip joint aren’t don’t develop properly. As a result, they don’t fit together right causing them to rub and grind.

Over time, this can cause deterioration of the hip joint.

Many coonhounds with hip dysplasia will experience mobility problems throughout their lives. In the most serious cases, a coonhound can lose the function of the joint entirely.


Caused by the thyroid gland being underactive, hypothyroidism causes the metabolism to slow.

Signs of hypothyroidism in your coonhound include:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dull, dry hair
  • Increased shedding and development of bald spots
  • Dark pigmentation in the skin
  • Ear infections
  • High cholesterol
  • Slow heart rate

While there is no cure, this condition can be managed with a thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of your coonhound’s life.

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Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.