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Adopting a Bichon Frise

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Bichons can live to age 17, and the majority will do so in good health. Unlike some breeds genetically prone to fatal diseases, Bichons are affected primarily by diseases that are either preventable or easily treatable. For example, they're predisposed to skin allergies, but proper nutrition can boost natural defenses and soothing baths and antihistamine medication can treat symptoms.

About 11 percent of Bichons develop cataracts -- a largely inherited disease that causes vision loss -- and require costly surgery to correct the condition. A greater number of Bichons are genetic carriers for cataracts and could pass the mutation to their puppies. If your Bichon's sire and dam are known, check the Canine Eye Registration Foundation to see which dogs in its pedigree have been screened for and cleared of the disease.

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