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Important Yorkshire Terrier Health Issues

Hi there, Sharda Baker here again.

I thought today I would post some information about some little dog medical issues you may like to know more about.

I won't go too much into them here though. I'll leave that to for another day. I just really wanted to draw your attention to them for now.

Remember, you can leave a comment at the bottom of any blog post if you ever want to.

Let's get started then shall we?


These breed of little dogs are known for their hardy dispositions and overall good health. As with all breeds there are some issues that are more problematic with dogs, and it is important for owners to be aware of these conditions and to seek medical attention from a veterinarian at the earliest symptoms.

This can save heartaches and possibly money down the track!

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If your dog begins to exhibit any unusual behaviors in eating or eliminating waste, check for any changes that have occurred in the environment or in the dog's schedule. Sudden changes in food, even in the brand of food, can cause stomach disorders and may lead to diarrhea or stomach pains and excessive gas in pups. Usually changing food gradually will solve this problem, but a vet should confirm that there are not any other issues causing the problems.

These little dogs are known to have more sensitive digestion than other dogs, so they should be fed a minimal amount of human food or dog treats. Keep garbage and other tempting items away from your dog's reach, as they are keen hunters and can quickly track down food that they should not have access to. Little rascals!

It's important to have a good understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of fresh dog food versus commercial, plus be aware of the best premium foods.


Porto systemic shunts are irregular routes that the blood can take to bypass the liver. The liver is the organ that cleans the blood of toxins and other impurities, so blood that is not properly cleaned leads to a buildup of toxins within the animal's body.

These shunts can be congenital (present at birth) , and will usually be diagnosed within the first year of life, or can develop as the animal gets older. Usually the later forming shunts are due to liver disease or injury. Liver shunts are more frequent in smaller breeds of dogs, and animals with shunts are usually very small for the breed standard, and tend to be less active than littermates. As the animal matures the symptoms that are exhibited are:

* Increased drinking of water

* Increase in urination

* Muscular seizures

* Lack of coordination

* Coma

These conditions are more pronounced after eating when the amount of toxins in the blood is highest.

Liver shunts can be diagnosed by a vet with blood tests and urine tests, as well as specialized pre and post-feeding ammonia tests to determine the liver's capacity and functioning.

Most liver shunts that are external to the liver can be treated with surgery if diagnosed at early onset. Medication may also be used to control the amount of ammonia in the blood. A specialized diet that is low in protein can also assist in eliminating toxins in the blood. Usually a combination of all three of these strategies is used to treat the condition.

These dogs that have liver shunts should NOT be used for breeding purposes.


Yorkshire Terriers are prone to dental problems including excessive tarter build-up, gum disease and premature tooth loss. These conditions can all lead to digestive problems as well as other infections in the body, so care should be taken to brush the pups' teeth as frequently as possible.

In addition to frequent brushing it is important to have your vet regularly check the condition of your pups' teeth at routine check-ups and vaccinations. These little dogs often have trouble being anesthetized, so it is important to only complete the scaling procedure at the vets when necessary. Home dental care will minimize if not eliminate the need for the vet procedure.

Regularly feed your pup with dry food to help scrape the teeth. Some wet food can be mixed in if necessary, but it is critical to feed high quality dry food as the main dietary component. Avoid rawhide bones or toys for pups as they can easily chew off pieces that can then become logged in the back of their throat and can choke or severely limit breathing and swallowing functions.


Dogs have a true hair coat, much like human hair. They do not have the furry and wooly undercoat that many breeds have, so they are less susceptible to skin conditions and allergies than many other breeds.

These dogs are still, however, capable of having skin allergies, food allergies or respiratory allergies. Careful monitoring of the food, environment and activities that the dog is doing can help determine what your dog is allergic to. In dogs allergies are usually noted as:

* Constant scratching, licking or biting at the skin or hair

* Rubbing their heads constantly against objects

* Hair loss

* Hot spots on the skin

* Dry, red or flaky patches on the skin's surface

If you notice any of these symptoms, try checking to see if any changes have occurred in the dog's food or environment. If you have started using any new grooming products including shampoo, conditioner or dry cleaners immediately discontinue use. The products may not be directly applied to the dog; rather they could just be in the area. For example, some carpet shampoos or spray air deodorants can cause allergic reactions.

Check for any changes or additions to the dog's diet. Eliminate any scraps or treats and then gradually reintroduce items to determine when the reaction starts to occur again.

The vet can prescribe allergy pills or shots to help with seasonal type allergies or overall allergic reactions. See your vet as soon as possible, to prevent any bacterial or viral infections from developing from the constant scratching or hot spot areas. Antibacterial creams and antihistamine topical applications may be required to clear up any skin conditions that have become infected or irritated.

More in depth information can be found in the Insiders Guide To A Happy, Healthy & Well Behaved Yorkshire Terrier.

That's it for today and will be back soon.

All the best.


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