Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 17, 2016
Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a very tough breed that has barely any specific diseases. It suffers the same diseases as other dog breeds, and to a lesser extent. This is because this dog was originally bred for the despicable activity of dogfights. These are currently prohibited, but they still take place clandestinely.

Owing to the brutal activity for which the American Pit Bull Terrier was bred, breeders have prioritized the dog's strength and physical toughness. It goes without saying that these two physical virtues can only be found in dogs that are not prone to contracting diseases.

If you keep reading AnimalWised, we will tell you the most common diseases of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

You may also be interested in: Common Diseases of Bull Terriers


  1. Hereditary diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers
  2. Skin diseases
  3. Degenerative diseases
  4. Dietary deficiencies
  5. Fungal diseases

Hereditary diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers

For some time, genetic or hereditary diseases have been the most common diseases suffered by this breed. Such diseases usually appear in animals that were poorly bred; dogs that suffer from these kinds of diseases should never be bred on purpose, because they will pass on these genetic problems to their offspring and thus cause them to suffer.

Let us state that under no circumstances does AnimalWised encourage dog breeding owing to the large number of abandoned animals that exist today.

  • Patellar luxation or dislocation. In this disease, the kneecap moves out of place or seizes up. It is healed by surgery, but this treatment is painful for the dog and expensive. It might be caused by doing too much intense exercise.
  • Hip dysplasia. The femur does not fit into the hip socket; this is an hereditary abnormality that causes lameness and pain to the dog. Hip dysplasia is one of the most common diseases in large dogs.
  • Cleft lip. This malformation of the palate can be minor or severe. When mild, the problem is simply aesthetic, but when severe it can cause the poor animal lots of suffering. It can be fixed by surgery, but the affected animal, along with their siblings and parents, should not be bred.
Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers - Hereditary diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers

Skin diseases

The American Pit Bull Terrier occasionally suffers from skin diseases, just like any other dog breed. It's advisable to regularly check its fur to make sure that it isn't suffering from any of these problems.

  • Atopy. This disease is an allergic reaction of the dog's dermis to some type of allergen - dust, pollen, human dandruff, feathers, etc. It is characterized by strong itching that makes the dog scratch itself lots, causing skin damage and hair loss in the affected area.
  • Dermodicosis. Pain caused by the Demodex canis mite occurs in all dogs, to a greater or lesser extent. However, a hereditary deficiency in their immune system can severely affect the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers - Skin diseases

Degenerative diseases

The American Pit Bull Terrier is subject to suffering some degenerative illnesses. These are some of the most common diseases among American Pit Bulls, but also for other types of Terrier dogs:

  • Hypothyroidism. This disease is a result of failures in the thyroid gland. Symptoms usually appear with age, especially from 4 to 10 years old, but it can also be present from birth, which would make it a hereditary disease called congenital hypothyroidism. Puppies with this condition die early. As a result of failures in the endocrine system, the symptoms of the disease in adult dogs include the dog's general decline and heart problems.
  • Ichthyosis. This is a serious degenerative disease that causes a thickening of the skin on the pads of the dog's paws, making them look flaky and oily. This makes it very painful for the dog to walk. It's recommended to put down affected dogs to spare them from suffering. It can be hereditary.

American Pit Bull Terriers have more sensitive skin than other breeds, and for this reason it is advisable to use specific shampoos and anti-allergens.

Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers - Degenerative diseases

Dietary deficiencies

The American Pit Bull Terrier can sometimes suffer from dietary deficiencies as a result of poor absorption or a lack of some trace elements.

  • Zinc-responsive dermatosis. This lack of zinc causes the crusting, itching and peeling of the dog's skin, along with a loss of hair around the eyes and nose. It is caused by poor absorption of zinc in the intestines. This disease can be controlled with zinc supplements.
Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers - Dietary deficiencies

Fungal diseases

If American Pit Bull Terriers live in excessively humid places, they can develop fungal diseases, that is, those caused by fungi.

  • Fungosis. Skin problems caused by fungi. This happens when the dog is bathed excessively, or when it lives in a humid and poorly ventilated place. The vet will administer the appropriate therapy depending on the type of invading fungus.

If you want to know more about common diseases among dogs, make sure you keep browsing AnimalWised and get to know all dog diseases.

Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers - Fungal diseases

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

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What did you think of this article?
Joel santiago
Y his my pit skin look like this is like a rash wat could I do
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Joel,

It could be a range of things, but the two most likely are dermatitis and parasite infection (of which both have many different types). We recommend a vet visit to have a proper diagnosis.
Keith Clickner
On her left leg,down by deu claw a grouth the size nikle and progresses

Noah Peterson
post something about lions syndrom turning pitbulls bad not all pits are evil lion syndronm changes them
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Noah,

We will take a look and do some research into lion syndrome and see if there is an article in it. Thanks a lot for your suggestion, feel free to add more info!
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Common Diseases of American Pit Bull Terriers