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Yorkie Health Problems ~ Without a doubt, Yorkshires are a very popular choice of pets among most people. Well, who wouldn’t love to spend time with this small, adorable yet energetic furry friend? I bet everyone would love to. However, just like other dog breeds, Yorkshires are at risk of suffering from certain health defects.

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Although it is said that Yorkshires rarely fall sick, they still could come down with illness once in a while. That being the case, it’s important that you are familiar with the various health risks that would affect your favorite Yorkie. This way, you will be at a better chance of facilitating prevention measures before things get out of hand.

Yorkies especially are likely to experience three major types of health defects. It could be the acquired, inherited or congenital defects. There are a few abnormalities that are breed-specific. Meaning that your Yorkshire Terrier carries the defects since birth. All in all, there are other conditions Yorkshire acquires during their life.

Therefore, this article will provide you with a proper awareness of Yorkshire’s health problems. This will help you to curb any health problems that might be overwhelming your Yorkie. With this kind of knowledge, you will be able to diagnose the problems early and offer treatment in a good time too.

The Common Health Problems in Yorkshires


This is a condition that comes up due to the abnormally low level of blood sugar. It happens to be a common health defect that affects mostly the Yorkshires and other small dog breeds. During the first five months after birth, Yorkshires happen to be at more risk of suffering from hypoglycemia.

The adults too are at a risk especially during pregnancy or when they have liver disease. This health problem affects majorly brain functioning and motor skills too. There are many reasons why your dog could be having hypoglycemia. Some of the common causes include stress and inadequate nutrients in the body.

Common Signs of Hypoglycaemia

  • Low energy levels
  • Fainting
  • Drowsiness
  • General body weakness.
  • Shaking
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Confused behavior

Diagnosis and Treatment

In older dogs, a veterinarian could perform certain tests in order to detect hypoglycemia. This includes;

  • X-rays
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood sugar level tests, and
  • The serum biochemistry tests.

Once your dog has been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, the very first homemade treatment is rubbing honey on to the dog’s gums. Also, you can use warm heating pads to increase the dog’s body temperature. Place the heating pads around the puppy’s body. These two remedies will help to stabilize the dog’s condition.

Once you get to the vet, he will administer a warm dextrose solution through injection. Afterward, the doctor requires you to feed the dog with small portions of off throughout the day. These foods should be rich in fat, complex carbohydrates and proteins.

Retinal Dysplasia

In Yorkies, retinal dysplasia is an inherited health problem that could lead to vision problems in the long term. It causes abnormal retinal development. This, in turn, leads to defects in the functionality of the eyeballs. Breeders always avoid getting offsprings from a Yorkie with this problem as the offspring could carry on the condition.

When your dog has retinal dysplasia, there is a layer of tissue that covers the backside of the dog’s eyeball. Unfortunately, the retina is responsible for the sense of vision. Damage on this tissue leads to visual problems or in worst cases, blindness.

Common Signs of Retinal Dysplasia

In mild cases, you cannot tell that your dog is experiencing any visual problems. To detect the severity of this condition, your dog might need to undergo a visual exam. When the dog’s vision is affected, some signs will be evident.

Such include:

  • Bumping into objects
  • Stumbling
  • Confusion

As discussed earlier, this condition is inherited from the breed’s parents. However, in some cases, it could develop after eye trauma or an eye infection. Ensure that you take your dog for examination on a yearly basis for early diagnosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Unfortunately, so far there is no cure for this disorder. Dogs that have very mild cases of this disease live just well without any difficulties. In extreme cases, the dog will still survive but with time may end losing their vision, partially or fully. That is why you need to train your dog to adjust their vision when they have this condition.

All in all, you should not be so worried about your Yorkshire terrier. That is because they have an incredible sense of smell and hearing. That way, they end up compensating for their loss of sight with their excellent sense of smell and hearing. 

If your dog gets to the point of complete blindness, you can make life easier for them by placing the toys, food, and water at the same place every time. Make sure the dog’s routines remain constant including the routes you take during walks. In case, you need to introduce any changes, make sure you do so gradually.

Collapsed Trachea

This condition is common mostly among the miniature breed of dogs especially the Yorkies. The collapsed trachea is a condition that involves the narrowing of the trachea. I know you are probably wondering how this happens. Collapsed trachea is a condition that is caused by the softening of the cartilages that hold together the trachea. This could be due to an inherited genetic weakness.

Especially if you attach a small dog such as a Yorkie to a leash, it’s almost definite your dog will suffer from the collapsed trachea. In some cases, the dog owner may end up pulling back too hard when the dog lunges forward. In the end, this leads to the trachea rings collapsing inward.

For that reason, instead of using a dog collar, it is advisable that you consider using a harness instead. A harness will always give you better control when training the dog. At the same time, the harness will not hurt the dog’s trachea.

Common signs of Collapsed Trachea

  • Gagging sounds
  • Noisy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Troubled breathing

Most of these symptoms show up when the dog exercises in the hot, humid air. When the condition is too severe, the dog’s gums may end up turning blue and end up fainting.

Diagnosis and Treatment

For the diagnosis part of this disease, the veterinarian performs examination as well as X-ray. The treatment is however very gradual as it needs to be done step by step. This helps to reduce the trauma and in turn, open the airways in order to enhance normal breathing.

However, if the situation gets too bad, surgery is also always an option. Actually, there is a higher chance for the dog to survive after surgery. Also, during the healing process, ensure that you keep the dog away from any kinds of respiratory irritants such as smoke or perfume. 

Luxating Patella

Luxating patella is also commonly known as kneecap dislocation. This happens to be a very common congenital health problem, especially in Yorkies. You’ll easily identify a dog that has this kneecap dislocation disorder since the kneecap pops out of the knee joint unusually.

This knee dislocation disorder is a birth defect that leads to improper development of the tissues and tendons that are found all around the kneecap. This, in turn, makes the kneecap to become unstable. When your Yorkies have this condition, you will notice that the kneecap either remains out or even moves in and out alternatively.

If the problem escalates without any treatment, the dog could have extreme issues with the legs. In worst-case scenarios, the dog could experience zero motor functions, especially on the affected leg.

Common Signs of Luxating Patella

When your dog is suffering from the luxating patella, they could show only one symptom or even all. These symptoms come and go. Meaning that you might seem them for some time and the next minute they are gone.

However, the most common sign is that the Yorkies will yelp especially when the kneecap slips out of place. Your puppy may still be able to play even if the kneecap is out of place. After the kneecap slips, you are likely to notice the following reactions in your dog:

  • An odd walk, like skipping
  • Limping
  • The dog may avoid bending the hind legs

Diagnosis and Treatment

The luxating patella condition could be easily diagnosed through an X-ray or even an ultrasound. After that, the dog is administered with the right treatment until the condition improves. Cases that lie between minor and moderate are best treated with at least a 6 weeks bed rest.

Alongside the compulsory bed rest, there are anti-inflammatory medications to help your dog with the healing process. This treatment works well and ensures that your dog is completely healed. Only that once a knee slips, the likelihood of it doing so again is very high.

For that reason, you are advised to help your Yorkies to build stronger muscles, especially around the knees. This will help to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. Walking uphill is one of the best exercises that you can do to achieve this. All in all, if the condition keeps on reoccurring surgery might be the other option. The good thing is that this surgery has a success rate of 90%.

Portosystemic Shunt

This an inherited condition that affects majorly the dogs. There is an abnormality in the portal vein which is the vein that brings blood to the liver for the purposes of cleansing. When the dog has the portosystemic shunt, the blood tends to bypass the liver hence flowing throughout the dog’s body when it’s unfiltered. This is such a dangerous scenario as it could cause poisoning of the brain, lungs, heart and other organs too. Toxins are deposited in these organs.

Common Signs of Portosystemic Shunt

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Poor coordination
  • Inability to learn
  • Weak development of muscles
  • Sporadic vomiting

When the condition gets in the very late stages, you may notice the following signs in your dog.

  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Diagnosis and Treatment

This health problem is diagnosed through blood tests. The vet looks for high levels of serum, bile acid or even a high increase of the blood ammonia. This test is mainly effective after the dog has had a large meal.

The most effective treatment of this condition is surgery. However, if your dog cannot undergo surgery, you should not panic. The dog is still treatable with antibiotics as well as a dietary restriction for proteins. Also, you can administer the dog with medication that helps to reduce the production of the blood ammonia.

Legg-Perthes Disease

This is a condition that affects majorly the dogs, hip bone joint. This is a common issue with the Yorkshire terriers especially. When your dog has this health problem, there is inadequate blood circulation in the hip region of the dog. That being the case, the femur of the dog weakness hence collapsing.

More to that, the cartilage that surrounds the femur could become malformed or cracked. This is a condition that happens majorly when the puppy is still very young. More often between 5 and 8 months.

Common Signs of Legg-Perthes Disease

  • Limping
  • Agony
  • Lame legs

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to diagnose the puppy of this health problem, you require an x-ray examination. The x-ray focuses on the hip joints. Changes in bones could happen very slowly and that is why when an x-ray is taken very early into the disease, the bone could seem normal.

That is why the vet recommends a repeat of the X-ray after 3 weeks precisely. This helps to monitor the changes in the bone. For the treatment, you could consider surgery in order to remove both the head and the neck of the damage femoral bone.

After the removal of the damaged parts in the femur, the vet uses the ligaments that interweave all across the hip joint to create a false joint. The good is that a Yorkshire terrier recovers from this condition better than most of the larger dog breeds. With time, the dog retains normal use of the leg.

In Summary

As discussed in the article, Yorkshires are prone to very many health problems. The ones mentioned above are just a few of the many. But don’t worry, most of these conditions are treatable either with surgery, antibiotics, and exercises. In that case, you need to learn the various tips for keeping your Yorkshire healthy all the time.

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