Knowing the most common health problems in small dog breeds can prepare you better for the responsibilities and joys of owning a small dog. Whether you’d love to have a pomeranian, westie, dachshund, or pug, there are several common conditions you could look out for as you care for your pet. Aside from issues that can affect all breeds, like skin and dental problems, these five common health problems are most common in smaller dogs.
Patellar Luxation (Displaced Kneecap)
Patellar luxation is the scientific name for a displaced kneecap. The kneecap could move out of place due to strenuous activity or because of genetics. A displaced kneecap can be very painful and disable the dog from walking on the affected leg. A lot of dogs don’t seem to mind the displaced kneecap but, in some dogs, it can be painful and disable the dog from walking on the affected leg. In most cases, the kneecap will go back into place by itself, but in others, the leg will need surgery.
Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)
IVDD refers to a herniated, ruptured, or displaced disc in the spinal cord. The spine has gel-like padding between each segment that acts as a shock absorber. Small dogs are more likely to experience intervertebral disk disease, especially dachshunds. The condition could be treated by medication or emergency surgery; one can limit the risk by limiting high-energy activities. Breathing Issues
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is what many dogs with pushed-in faces can experience, like the pug, bulldog, and Pekingese. They are more likely to have constricted airways, breathing heavily and snoring.
More serious but also particular to small dog breeds is the risk of tracheal collapse, the weakening of the windpipe. Its most common symptom is a honking cough. It can be managed by using a harness instead of a collar and maintaining a healthy weight.
Mitral Valve Disease
Mitral valve disease in dogs is when blood rushes backward in the mitral valve in the heart because of deterioration. One of its identifiers is the presence of heart murmurs, which one can hear through a stethoscope. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to congestive heart failure, but plenty never develop this and live full lives.
Lastly, small dog breeds tend to get cold easily and overheat easily. With such a small frame, it can be hard to maintain its body temperature. A pet owner can manage this with winter sweaters and staying indoors in the summer.
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