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Major Health Concerns For a Shih Tzu

Major Health Concerns For a Shih Tzu

All dogs are vulnerable to numerous diseases and health concerns but some breeds are more likely to be affected by one than another. Shih Tzu are no exception to this. This article will list and briefly describe those problems.


Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can be inherited, the result of an injury, or part of the aging process.


Von Willebrand disease refers to a bleeding disorder that results in a decreased amount of a glycoprotein. This glycoprotein is needed for proper clotting of the blood.


Unfortunately cancer can strike our pets. The most common type is that of mammary or testicular cancer. It can occur at any age.


Cleft palate in dogs refers to a failure of the two sides of the palate to fuse correctly. This defect usually occurs during embryonic development but it can also result from over-dosages of steroids, Vitamin A, and some antibiotics.


Congestive heart failure is a serious condition that often affects older dogs of small breeds, including Shih Tzu. This condition refers to an inability of the heart to function normally. The result is an increased retention of water and salt which leads to a fluid buildup in the lungs.


Just as humans, dogs need a certain amount of dental care to maintain their dental health. This includes having their teeth cleaned at least annually by the veterinarian. Other preventive steps include brushing the Shih Tzu teeth with specially formulated dog toothpaste. Providing hard dog biscuits and bones, and chew toys can also help.


Ear infections are common in dog breeds with floppy ears. The ears fill up with a dark, smelly wax. If the condition is left untreated the infection can become chronic.


Fleas often are a part of dog ownership, but certain steps should be taken to avoid excessive fleas that result in flea bites to your dog. Lawns can be treated as well as homes to eliminate live fleas. And your Shih Tzu can receive preventative medications from the veterinarian.


In harderian gland prolapse the gland of the third eyelid has prolapsed as a pink fleshy mass protruding over the edge of the third eyelid, between the third eyelid and the cornea. This condition usually develops during the first year of life.


Heart murmurs are not necessarily indicative of a heart disease but instead, they can be a hint that the dog may have something wrong. Heart murmurs are abnormal sounds heard when the veterinarian listens to the heartbeat of your Shih Tzu with a stethoscope.


Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease is cyclic. Adult worms average about six inches in length (but they can be much longer) and they mostly live in the heart. Microscopic baby worms live in the blood vessels throughout the body.


Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease of the hip joints. This condition is often inherited and it can affect one or both hips. It usually cannot be diagnosed until after the age of 2 years.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland stops working. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing a hormone that is responsible for proper metabolism.


Invertebral disk disease is a somewhat common back problem. The discs in the spine slip causing nerve damage. It results in acute pain, a loss of movement and or coordination, and even paralysis. The condition usually occurs following a fall or jump.


Smaller dogs can more easily become obese and obesity can result in many diseases and disorders. This can include heart disease, kidney disease, and increased pain from other ailments such as arthritis. Obesity can cause changes in temperature, pulse and heartbeat.

PATELLAR LUXATION (Slipped Stifles or Kneecaps)

Patellar Luxation is usually a congenital condition that appears at birth, but it can also happen due to trauma. This condition affects females 1.5 times more often than it does males. The kneecap slips out of the tendon and then slips back in.


Renal Cortical Hypoplasia refers to a condition in which the kidneys have developed incorrectly and are smaller than normal. This condition often results in infections and stone formation.


Renal Dysplasia can be found in almost any dog breed but it is most commonly found in Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos. This is a genetic defect or a developmental defect of the kidneys. It is thought that the defect is caused by an embryonic arrest in kidney development sometime around the birth.


Stenotic Nares refers to a narrow or restricted nostril. The opening to the nostril(s) are too small making it difficult for the Shih Tzu to breathe through the nose. This condition can put a strain on various body systems of the dog and even result in an enlargement of the heart.


Tracheal collapse is most commonly found in small breeds including the beloved Shih Tzu. This condition is characterized by a weakening of the cartilage rings of the trachea. The condition can be either congenital or acquired. Obesity is often a contributing factor.


The term, Umbilical Cord Hernia, describes a small prolapsed in the stomach wall of the dog in the spot that the umbilical cord was attached. It is possible for intestines to end up inside the hernia and to be twisted, particularly if the hernia is large. In such case the puppy may die.