Small and cuddly, the Yorkshire terrier, commonly called Yorkie, is one of the most popular pet dogs in the United States. It is a small dog and is generally known as a miniature Yorkie. It is very adventurous and does not take its small size into consideration. It is energetic, brave, extremely loyal, and a great companion. This breed is not suitable for very small children and recommended only for older children who understand that the dog is to be handled with care. It is a little stubborn and can take time to be house trained. Although it is a generally-healthy breed, it can be affected by some health problems.
This breed is prone to three different conditions--inherited diseases, congenital disorders, and acquired disease and disorders.
There are a few common health issues that are seen in most dogs of this breed. These include sensitive skin that is prone to allergies like seasonal pollen, pollution, and even food. The dog begins to feel very itchy, leading to excessive scratching and biting. This causes excessive hair loss. It is also prone to a very sensitive stomach. If it eats anything other than the regular food, it will soon vomit and suffer from diarrhea. Therefore, make sure your Yorkie does not eat anything other than the usual food you feed him/her. If you feel that his/her regular diet is not suitable for the stomach, then you should try to switch over to another diet. You may also try specially-prepared dog food that is available in the market. Other common health problems include the following.
- Hepatic lipidosis
- Keratitis sicca
- Injection reactions like hair loss and inflammation at the site of injection
- Tooth decay
- Spine and back problems
- Poor tolerance to anesthesia
Genetic Conditions that Affect Miniature Yorkies
There are certain genetic health disorders that are seen affecting the overall health of this breed. Listed below are some of these problems.
This is a condition where the eyelashes arise from an abnormal spot, usually around the edge of the eyelid. It causes irritation of the eye, tearing, squinting, inflammation, and corneal ulcers. This condition requires surgery or electrolysis as a treatment.
This is a disease where the thigh bone degenerates, causing reduction in blood circulation around the hip joint. This lack of blood supply causes the head of the femur to collapse and die. The cartilage around the femur begins to get cracked and deformation occurs. This is a common health problem in puppies that leads to pain and limping. Surgery is the choice of treatment for this condition.
Luxating patellas, also known as slipping kneecaps, is one of the most common genetic disorders affecting this dog breed. The tendons and ligaments of the knee are malformed and do not allow the patella to slip out sideways from the groove. This causes the foot to be locked off the ground. It causes pain, lameness, and bothers the dog a lot. This condition also requires surgery as treatment.
This is a condition where an abnormal vessel allows the flow of blood to the liver. This causes insufficient cleansing of the blood. This blood containing toxins and waste matter tends to circulate within the body, causing poisoning of the heart, brain, lungs, and other vital organs. This condition causes stunted height, lack of appetite, weak muscles, vomiting, diarrhea, behavioral abnormalities, blindness, coma, and death of the dog. Surgery may help in treating the shunt that causes this condition.
The cartilage rings in the trachea tend to become soft, leading to narrowing of the trachea. This leads to coughing that sounds like a goose honking. Medications and surgery help in repairing the trachea. It is therefore advised to use a body harness and not a collar leash for a Yorkie.
One of the common puppy as well as adult dog health issues is hypoglycemia. The dog suffers from abnormally low blood glucose levels that leads to lethargy, weakness, disorientation, muscle incoordination, nervousness, trembling, seizures, etc. If the sugar levels drops significantly, it causes the dog to become unconscious and die. One should make sure that they feed their pet on time and not keep a long gap between meals. Puppies lack muscle mass that stores glucose and regulates sugar levels. If you find your dog having hypoglycemia, immediately feed him/her some honey, syrup, or jam. Speak to the veterinarian for better management of low blood sugar levels.
You should recognize the signs of health disorders in your pet and seek medical help immediately. Timely medical intervention can bring the condition in control and avoid unnecessary complications. Not that all Yorkies suffer from health problems. It is an overall healthy breed, but it depends on the individual dog.