If you have just decided to adopt a dog, you have probably done your research. What toys are right for puppies, how you should feed them, or the breed’s characteristics might be some of the topics you have gathered information on. When adopting pets, it is important to acknowledge that they too get old, have diseases or health issues. Being prepared for everything that follows in your life with a dog (or more!) is essential, especially if you opt to adopt a smaller dog, you need to be alert to the warning signs of small dog health conditions.
Depending on the breed and size, there are different canine health issues your dog might have. Small dogs are predisposed to some illnesses, compared with big dogs. Popular small breeds like Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Yorkies, or Boston Terriers need extra care to protect them from potentially debilitating illnesses.
So, be prepared and learn about five common small dog health conditions.
1. Tracheal collapse
Tracheal collapse is a common illness in small dogs, especially Pugs or French Bulldogs. This is because they have a flat muzzle, which in time can cause serious problems for your dog. Tracheal collapse occurs over time, and it may be noticeable in older dogs. However, this illness can also appear in younger dogs, especially when they live in a house where owners smoke a lot.
Unfortunately, tracheal collapse does not have any prevention methods and is an illness that comes with age. If you hear your dog wheezing and struggling with breathing, it may be a tracheal collapse that causes them. Ask your veterinarian for help and support. You will probably need to keep your dog on medication and change his diet.
2. Heart disease
Heart disease is one of the most common illnesses small dogs experience. It is usually caused by a malfunction of a valve that connects different chambers of the heart. Sometimes, this malfunction can be caused or worsened by dental disease. How are these two connected? If there is a lot of tartar on your dog’s teeth, the bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream and affects the valve’s functioning.
If you notice your dog has difficulty breathing, coughing, is intolerant to exercise, and has trouble moving around, you need to ask a veterinarian for help. One thing to consider is to pay attention to how your dog is feeling, especially as he gets older. Heart disease can be fatal if you do not take action.
3. Patellar luxation
All dog breeds and sizes are predisposed to having problems with their joints or bones as they get old. But small dogs are more prone to experiencing patellar luxation. For example, small breeds such as poodles, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, or terriers may be among the most affected. But what does patellar luxation or luxating patella mean?
It is an orthopedic condition that usually appears when dogs luxate their knee, and the kneecap is dislocated. This might cause pain for the dog, as he will not be able to use his paw. If you notice that your dog has trouble moving, avoids using one of his paws, and is hobbling, then you should go to a veterinarian.
Even though sometimes patellar luxation is not serious, in other cases, it can require surgery.
Pancreatitis is an illness that is common both in dogs and humans. Dogs, too, suffer from pancreatitis, and it is a painful disease for all of them. Small breeds are predisposed to this illness. How can you tell if your dog has an inflammation of the pancreas? If he has difficulty eating, is vomiting, and is in pain, you need to contact a veterinarian.
A wide variety of factors can cause the inflammation of the pancreas. If you give your dog food scraps or foods rich in fats, these can lead to pancreatitis. However, pancreatitis can also be caused by medication or other genetic factors.
Ectropion is one of the illnesses that affect small dogs. It is similar to tracheal collapse in the sense that it affects dogs with flattened muzzles. Ectropion, however, is an eyelid illness that causes the lower eyelid to be droopy. This exposes the tissues of the eyes, which in turn may lead to conjunctivitis. If this illness is not treated, it may even lead to corneal inflammation, which is very painful.
Ectropion causes are diverse, especially because this illness can appear in any dog breed or size. And most of the time, there are genetic predispositions or inherited traits that lead to ectropion.
Small dog health conditions
Dogs bring you happiness, joy, and enthusiasm. However, dogs also get old, which is when they are most predisposed to getting sick. Tracheal collapse, heart disease, patellar luxation, heart disease, pancreatitis, and ectropion are the most common small dog health conditions. Identifying the symptoms and asking your veterinarian for help is mandatory in each of these cases so you can extend your dog’s life.