How to care for a beagle with Chinese Beagle Syndrome

By Rhomylly Forbes

Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, commonly referred to as Chinese Beagle Syndrome, is a genetic disorder found in an increasing number of beagles. Symptoms include slanted eyes, stiff legs, shortened toes, a tendency for the dog to walk on its toes, tight skin, absorbed or otherwise aborted pregnancy, and possible diminished intelligence. Although there is no cure for MLS, there is much you can do to ensure your affected beagle lives a long and happy life.

Give your pet safe places to walk. Because a beagle with MLS walks on its toes and may also have stiff, unbending legs, hard surfaces like tile and wood may cause physical discomfort. It can also slip and fall much easier than a healthy dog on slick, hard surfaces. If your dog likes to be in rooms with hard, smooth floors, scatter small rugs on the floor to give it the traction needed to walk safely.

Schedule regular veterinary checkups. Be sure to schedule regular checkups with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about MLS to make sure there are no problems with your beagle's unusual eyes. Because a beagle with MLS walks on its toes, have your vet check for wounds on the tips of the feet. Always monitor your affected beagle for muscle strain or other limb injuries.

Pick up your beagle carefully. Although you should never pick up a dog by the scruff of the neck, this is doubly important with a dog with MLS. Because your MLS dog has extra-tight skin, there is often no scruff to pick up. If you need to lift your dog, place one hand between its front legs and scoop up its back end with your other hand, then lift slowly.

Be patient with training. Healthy beagles are not the easiest breed to potty train and teach basic obedience commands to, but a dog with MLS may also have intellectual impairment. Keep all training sessions short and positive and reward any small success with treats. Don't expect miracles overnight--your training progress will likely be measured over weeks and months, not days.