What are some of the serious health
issues in Yorkshire Terriers
Yorkshire Terrier will probably stay pretty healthy most of
his/her life, but every dog can have health problems. Get to
know the more serious issues with Yorkshire Terriers and
although not common it is good to know abut them so you can get
the right treatment quickly. When addressed
promptly, most conditions can be treated successfully.
breed, Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to certain
conditions, but that doesn't mean that every Yorkie will get
sick. Most never have one of these illnesses, but if you
recognize any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian
Some Yorkies are born with this
congenital condition in which the blood bypasses
the liver. When this happens the toxins never get
cleaned out of the blood. Two healthy Yorkie parents can
produce a Liver Shunt puppy. The genetics of how a
liver shunt are produced are purely speculative at this
point. There is absolutely no proven methodology for a
breeder to determine a genetic predisposition for this
condition. Research is being conducted to attempt to
find a DNA marker. If your Yorkie is diagnosed with a
liver shunt, confirmed on Scintigraphy, please notify your
Detecting and Ruling out a Shunt
First, a determination
needs to be made as to whether there are clinical
signs/symptoms consistent with liver shunt. There are many
clinical signs that may be seen in animals with
Portosystemic shunts. All of these symptoms may also be seen
with various other disease processes.
Therefore, a diagnosis cannot be made
on symptoms alone! The liver plays an important
role in the metabolism of drugs.
This is also one of the most commonly
misdiagnosed conditions based upon blood testing alone.
Clinical Signs of
Drooling, vomiting, pacing, circling, inability to sit
still, drinking lots of water, a stuperous look, head
pressing, staggering, listlessness, running nose, blank
look, stare and or lethargy.
animals the signs are seen 1-3 hours after eating meat.
Proteins in the food are broken down by intestinal bacteria
to ammonia and other toxins which are absorbed and, instead
of being filtered by the liver, are allowed to reach the
panel is obtained to look for poor liver function, such as
low protein, albumin, and blood urea nitrogen, which are
chemicals produced by the liver. Urine sediment is examined
for ammonium biurate crystals, which look like starfish or
accurate are bile acid concentrations. A blood sample is
taken after a 12 hour fast, and then the puppy is fed a
normal meal. Two hours later another blood sample is taken.
concentrations are high in most types of liver
disease, including shunts. Bile acid concentrations are
altered by hemolysis (breakage of the blood cells) and
lipemia (fat in the blood) Samples drawn incorrectly
will result in a false reading and should be rechecked.
100% sure that a shunt is present it must be differentiated
by the use of scintigraphy and/or ultrasound.
Bile acids and blood ammonia levels
cannot be used alone to diagnose a Portosystemic shunt. In
addition, blood draw methodology, and lab errors are common.
Unfortunately, these tests can have false positive results,
and no puppy should be labeled as having a PSS based solely
on the results of a blood test.
A degeneration of the dog's hip joint (also called avascular necrosis of the femoral head and neck). Symptoms
of the disease start appearing when the dog is 4 to 11
months old, and they include lameness in the affected
leg, pain, ranging from mild to severe, and wasting away
of the muscle.
prognosis for dogs treated surgically for Legg-Perthes
disease is very good to excellent, as long as owners are
diligent about post-operative physical rehabilitation and
supportive care. After treatment and rehabilitation, most
dogs regain pain-free function of the affected hind leg and
hip and are able to enjoy normal canine activities such as
running, jumping, walking and playing throughout the course
of a normal life span.
It is not
uncommon in this small breed for a puppy to have a loose
knee and usually with proper diet and joint supplements, it
will tighten up by the time the puppy reaches 4 months of
Symptoms can include kneecaps slipping when the vet
handles it (Grade I); kneecap slips out of place when
walking or running (Grade II); kneecap slips out of
place frequently enough to cause lameness (Grade III),
and kneecap slips and stays out of place (Grade IV).
Hypoglycemia is the
medical term for blood sugar concentration below normal
levels. You may have heard of people suffering from
hypoglycemia, but did you know that dogs can also suffer
from it? Hypoglycemia in Yorkies or underweight puppies,
or in smaller Yorkies can be common and must be monitored
It is not
a disease but a potentially dangerous medical condition that
you can prevent. Yorkies and other toy breeds are
particularly prone to canine hypoglycemia.
primary fear of every Yorkie owner is that the puppy will
have Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia. This condition is
often due to lack of glucose (sugar) and inadequate
nutrition. It usually happens when a puppy is not eating as
much as they should.
Yorkie puppies under 4 months of age are often affected
by this type of hypoglycemia.
Juvenile Hypoglycemia is common in toy dog breeds such as
the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian and Toy Poodle. It can
also occur in puppies 5 to 16 weeks of age. Puppies bred
for their tiny size are more predisposed to transient
juvenile hypoglycemia in dogs because insufficient muscle
mass makes it difficult for the body to store glucose and
regulate blood sugar properly. For this reason, Yorkies and
other small dogs should be fed a high quality diet several
times a day.
Hypoglycemia in Dogs
Yorkie suffers from hypoglycemia you will be able to tell at
once. Early signs of hypoglycemia in dogs include weakness,
confusion, frothing or drooling, and wobbly gait. The puppy
may be shivering and trembling, and the body temperature
will drop. The gums and tongue will appear pale and grayish
white rather than a healthy pink.
condition progresses the Yorkie may appear limp and
lifeless. His eyes may become unfocused and unresponsive.
If not cared for properly and promptly, Yorkie puppies can
go into a coma or convulsions.
Hypoglycemia in Yorkies
Juvenile Hypoglycemia in Yorkies is often caused by not
eating. Generally, hypoglycemia can occur after just eight
hours of not eating. For small puppies and toy breeds, it
can occur in less time. If your Yorkie puppy does not eat
for a long period of time, a hypoglycemic attack is likely
to happen. Make sure your pet is eating in regular
might not eat, but it is never intentional. There can be
many reasons why your Yorkie may not be eating, including:
– Visiting a veterinarian, traveling too much, change of
home environment, a thunderstorm, etc. are all things that
add stress to your puppy and in turn he may not want to eat.
• Activity and Play – If a puppy is more captivated with
playing than eating then he may not be getting the rest and
nourishment he needs. Every couple of hours, take away his
toys and be sure he gets some food and rest. Avoid
over-handling young puppies so they can get enough rest and
• Exposure to lower temperatures for longer periods of time
can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. A Yorkie’s body will adjust
its body temperature to compensate and this can lead to a
change in metabolism. All of which leads to hypoglycemia.
Keep your Yorkie in areas where it stays around 72 to 74
– A sick puppy may not want to eat. Your Yorkie may have a
fever due to a communicable illness, reaction to a
vaccination, congenital defect, etc. Bacterial infections or
intestinal parasites can also lead to loss of appetite.
comes to hypoglycemia in Yorkies, it is best to avoid an
attack in the first place. Make sure your puppy gets enough
rest and let him feed freely. You may also feed him 4 or 5
times a day with a diet that is high in protein.
keep the right room temperature. It is important to know your
Yorkie and his or her personality as well as the routine
they have. If your Yorkie shows symptoms of hypoglycemia,
treat it immediately before the condition gets worse. To treat
hypoglycemia in dogs, the initial thing you have
to do is elevate the blood sugar. Buying a supplement such
as Nutrical is the easiest way to do this. If you do not
have any supplement on hand, use any food that has sugar.
in water or use maple syrup, honey or Karo syrup to treat
your Yorkie’s hypoglycemia. Place the supplement or sugar
on the tongue and gums. Make sure your puppy stays warm.
If necessary, wrap your puppy in a blanket. Lack of
fluids and hypoglycemia in Yorkies often go together. If
your puppy refuses to drink liquids then do your best to get
fluids inside him yourself. You can make use of an eye
dropper to get the necessary fluids into your Yorkie’s body.
hypoglycemic puppy will usually get better fast when given
sugar. If for some reason your Yorkie does not get well
within a couple of minutes, take the puppy to see the
veterinarian right away. Hypoglycemia in
persists beyond age 4 or 5 months.
trachea is a windpipe that periodically closes on itself. This
condition typically appears as your dog gets older. Symptoms
include shortness of breath, honking coughing fits
(attempts to re-open the trachea), and, because of the
restricted air flow, fatigue.
There is a possibility that physical strain on the neck
might cause or contribute to trachea collapse. Since
this is usually caused by an energetic Yorkie pulling
against his collar, many veterinarians recommend use of
a harness for leashed walks.
Retained primary teeth
often don't lose their baby teeth on their own. When
your Yorkie's around 6 or 7 months old, have your vet
check to make sure all her baby teeth are gone. If
they're not, they need to be pulled and at the same time
the Vet will do a thorough cleaning. See
dental for more
Reverse Sneezing (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex)
Gag Reflex is a dramatic, rapid inhalation and exhalation of air
through the nasopharynx. Dogs may do this when they have a mild
irritation at the back of their throat. Often confused with seizures
or gasping for air, it is usually a harmless event.
Reverse sneezing is not really a health problem but it is very
common in Toy breeds and owners should be aware of it. Characterized
by honking, hacking, or snorting sounds, it usually happens when a
dog is excited or after drinking, eating, running around, or pulling
on a leash. The dog will usually extend his neck while gasping
inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Usually, gently rubbing
the throat of the affected dog will help stop the spasms.
You notice your
dog scratching his ear, shaking his head, whining, and generally
being less frisky than usual. The ear may appear red, warm to the touch, and seem
swollen. If discharge and a really foul odor are also present, it's
a pretty good guess that the dog has an ear infection of some
type. The problem could originate from bacteria, mites, fungus, matted hair,
yeast infection or a foreign object lodged in the ear.
of yeast infections: Clean ears with 50/50 white vinegar
solution (cotton ball and careful Q-tip) and every time you bathe
your dog be sure and thoroughly blow dry his ears.
Helpful for Prevention of most Health
Feed your dog a high quality dog food:
Proper nutrition helps formation of
cartilage especially in the puppy years. Make sure
the brand is specific for your breed and low in grain
and high in meat. Good food is
your most important health adjunct for growth and overall excellence.
2. Don't overfeed, however, as overweight dogs are
affected by illnesses, infections, joint issues more than dogs kept
at proper weights. Just as in humans obesity is a risk factor for many
illness many of which can be fatal.
Use a harness rather than a collar when walking
your dog: He can wear a collar with his tags but
don't attach a leash that adds pressure and pulling around his
Don't smoke around your dog:
wouldn't smoke around a human baby, would you? Remember that it
doesn't take much smoke to damage the airway of a 5-pound dog.
Keep vaccinations up to date.
helps prevent respiratory infections. Schedule regular
Use a high quality heartworm and flea prevention medication monthly.
Frequent exercise and walks and yard play.
Make sure you have your dog's
teeth cleaned on a regular basis. The first dental appointment should
be between 6 month and 1 year as Yorkies are very prone to having extra
teeth. Tartar will build up between these teeth and can cause more
serious infections. Dental care should be done yearly.
NOTE: A puppy should sleep
80% of the day without being disturbed, never wake a sleeping puppy.
need a regular schedule of rest, meals, play and potty.