Oh, Yorkies! Common Yorkie Health Disorders

Yorkies are susceptible to a number of disorders that any serious buyer should consider. Although many Yorkies with disorders live long and healthy lives, some can be expensive. It is better to be fully aware of the main disorders of the breed.

Hypoglycemia is common among small breed puppies. It is one of the most disturbing for new owners. Sometimes misdiagnosed, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but can be fatal if it is allowed to progress to seizures. It is important to understand that just because a puppy has a hypoglycemic episode; it may not be a chronic problem. Yorkies can have an isolated hypoglycemic incident in reaction to almost any trigger. Some examples of common stress include booster shots, housebreaking, and excessive manipulation. Many puppies just play too rough sometimes. Symptoms generally include, but are not limited to, listlessness, shaky gait, drooling, and pale gray gums. Puppies’ gums should always be bright pink. If you notice symptoms, call a vet right away. It is always a very good idea for owners of a Yorkie puppy or small adult to have a supply of Vet-cal, usually available at your veterinarian’s office. It is a pasta rich in calories and nutrients. A pea size rubbed on the gums or under the tongue can usually avoid a real problem. We recommend that puppies receive Vet-Cal or a similar substitute every night before bed. If the puppy responds to the supplement, make sure he is warm. Make sure to feed high quality food, as Yorkies need the biggest gang for the money. Supervise the puppy to make sure the condition does not recur. The later stages require treatment by your veterinarian and / or your breeder. This is another reason to carefully select your breeder. You should have complete confidence that your breeder will help you at any time of the day or night in a situation like this.

Patellar luxation is certainly not life threatening for the most part, but it can cause mild to severe pain. Basically, this condition occurs if the kneecap has slipped out of the groove. A dislocated kneecap can be caused by a malformation of the knee and considered a genetic defect or it can be caused by an injury sustained simply from jumping off the couch. Generally, puppies before 15 weeks of age will have normal gliding. However, your vet can determine if the problem deserves attention.

Porto-systemic shunt, also known as hepatic shunt, is also one of the disorders that New Yorkie owners fear. The short is an abnormal blood flow in the liver. Blood must flow from the digestive tract to the liver through the portal system into the blood vessels in the liver and then into the caudal vena cava, which is the large blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart. In a Porto systemic shunt, as the name implies, the portal blood bypasses the liver and goes directly to the systemic venous circulation. With PSS, toxins are not eliminated by the liver and circulate through the body. This causes neurological problems more often. Hepatic encephalopathy is a term you may hear associated with behavioral manifestations of liver dysfunction. Porto systemic shunts can be acquired over time or at birth. Most animals with congenital systemic Porto shunts show clinical signs between 8 and 15 weeks of age. When the signs are subtle, the condition may not be diagnosed until much later. Yorkies should not be brought home before 15 weeks of age so that your breeder has a chance to watch for signs of PSS.

Retinal dysphasia is the abnormal development of the retina and is usually present at birth. The disorder can be inherited or it can be acquired as a result of a viral infection or some other event before the Yorkie was born.

Tracheal collapse is a narrowing of the internal diameter of the trachea that fluctuates according to the stage of the respiratory cycle. A good demonstration is sucking the wind through a straw too fast. This will collapse the straw. It is generally not fatal, but causes a “reverse sneeze” so to speak. It can be a hereditary trait, although many other factors, such as obesity and age, can contribute.

There are specific signs of a Yorkie, puppy, or healthy adult that owners should be aware of. Yorkie’s temperature should be between 100.5 and 102.5 F. To take your Yorkie’s temperature, use a clean, well-lubricated pediatric rectal thermometer specifically marked for your dog. Many believe that the temperature can be judged by a wet nose. It is essential to check the temperature accurately using a thermometer. The normal respiratory rate for Yorkies, both puppies and adults, is 15 to 40 breaths / minute. The heart rate of most Yorkies should be between 70 and 220 beats / minute. Ask your vet about your puppies’ heart rate every time you visit, as it can vary greatly. Glossy and healthy gums indicate adequate oxygenation and circulation. Gray, cloudy gums can often be the first sign of hypoglycemia. If your Yorkie has had more than one episode of vomiting or diarrhea, see dehydration care. Dehydration can be very dangerous for Yorkies.

This article is not a substitute for veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you are concerned about your Yorkie’s health.

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