5 Common Health Problems That Affect Small Breed Dogs

Common Health Issues with Small Dog Breeds

Small dogs are very cute and cuddly, but just like large dogs, they are also prone to certain health problems. If you own this kind of dog, then you should definitely be mindful of the common health problems that it might encounter. Feeding your small dog a quality diet and visiting your veterinarian regularly will keep them happy and healthy. Here’s a list of common health problems that affect small bread dogs:


Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition where in the dog's patella or commonly known as kneecap is dislocated from its normal anatomic position in the groove of the thigh bone. Although this condition may occur in any breed of dogs, it is particularly common on small breed dogs.

Symptoms of Patellar Luxation in dogs:

  • Prolonged abnormal hind limb movement
  • Occasional skipping
  • Hind limb lameness
  • Sudden lameness
  • Pain or discomfort


    Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

    Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is commonly a cause of back pain, rear limb paralysis, and inability to walk or feel the back legs in dogs. This happens when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column that bulge or burst into the spinal cord space, press on the nerves running through the spinal cord. This is most common to small dogs such as the Dachshund, Shih Tzu, Pekingese and Beagle. 

    Symptoms of Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) in dogs:

    • Unwillingness to jump
    • Pain and weakness in rear legs
    • Crying out in pain
    • Lameness
    • Anxious behavior
    • Muscle spasms over back or neck
    • Reduced appetite and activity level
    • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
    • Hunched back or neck with tense muscles



      Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas of the dog gets inflamed. Although this condition may come out of nowhere, chances are it occurred because of a number of reasons such as obesity, infection, trauma or metabolic disorders. Although Pancreatitis may occur in any kinds of dog, it tends to affect small dogs like the Miniature Poodle more often.

      Symptoms of Pancreatitis in dogs:

      • Fever
      • Vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • Fatigue and sluggishness
      • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
      • Dehydration
      • Weight loss
      • Increased heart rate
      • Mild to severe abdominal pain (may become more severe after eating)
      • Depression
      • Difficulty breathing


        Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

        Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a condition most common in short-nosed and flat-faced dog breeds. This occurs when a dog suffers from various upper airway problems. This condition is very common to flat-faced (or brachycephalic) breeds such as the Pug, Shih Tzu and Chihuahua.

        Symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in dogs:

        • Narrowed nostrils (stenotic nares)
        • Panting
        • Coughing
        • Gagging
        • Snoring (stertor)
        • Harsh sounds when breathing in
        • Increased inspiratory effort
        • Temporary cessation of breathing (apnea)
        • Exercise intolerance
        • Sudden collapse



          Ectropion or lower eyelid droop, is a common condition of dogs wherein the lower eyelid rolls down and away from the eye, exposing the inner eyelid tissues. It can affect one or both eyes. It has a strong tendency to occur in dogs with loose droopy skin such as the Bulldog and Basset Hound.

          Symptoms of Ectropion in dogs:

          • Protrusion of the bottom eyelid, exposing tissue below the eyeball
          • Redness and other signs of irritation
          • Fur below the eyes stained a brownish color by tears
          • Pawing at the eye
          • Recurring bacterial conjunctivitis, or pink eye
          • Discomfort

            If you noticed some of the symptoms listed above on your dog, then better go to your nearest veterinarian to prevent its condition from worsening.

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