Shih Tzu Health Problems – What They Are and What To Do
Even a partial list of potential Shih Tzu health problems is longer than the small breed’s legs. While many of
the illnesses are present from birth, early detection and care can go a long way toward ensuring a healthy life for
Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the more common Shih Tzu health problems and what to do about them:
What It Is: IVD, or In vertebral Disease, is common among breeds of dogs with shorter legs, such as Shih Tzus.
IVD occurs when the dog’s disc slips in the back and puts pressure on the spinal cord. It can cause muscle spasms,
weakness in the limbs, and pain.
How It’s Treated: Medicine and rest are the first things your vet will prescribe. If those are not enough to
remedy the problem, your dog may need surgery.
What It Is: This is another of the Shih Tzu health problems that most often affects smaller breeds. When it
happens, the patella – or, kneecap – slides out of its groove.
Patellar luxation is most often discovered at birth; in some cases, it can result from trauma. If your dog falls
victim to patellar luxation, your Shih Tzu may limp or even try walking on 3 legs so that he doesn’t have to put
any weight on the affected leg. He may also hold up his leg, as if to show you that something’s wrong.
How It’s Treated: Since this condition rarely goes away on its own ,surgery is almost always necessary. Luckily,
though, your Shih Tzu’s chances for a full recovery are very good after it’s performed.
What It Is: This is one of the most serious Shih Tzu health problems, and it is evident from birth. Stenotic
nares involves nostrils that are too narrow, which makes it very difficult for the Shih Tzu to breathe. It is an
inherited affliction and one that, if not treated, can lead to collapse of the trachea or chronic bronchitis.
How It’s Treated: Early surgical intervention is best. The condition can be fatal, but if surgery is done early
enough, your Shih Tzu will most likely will be able to breathe normally afterwards.
Harderian Gland Prolapse
What It Is: It occurs when the gland that is responsible for tear production slips out of its pocket. It is
caused by weak connective tissue that fails to hold the gland in place. If your Shih Tzu suffers from harderian
Gland Prolapse, his eye will become swollen and irritated and will have discharge coming out.
How It’s Treated: If your Shih Tzu does not the proper treatment for this disorder, he can go blind. To correct
the problem, your dog’s gland will be set in its right position during surgery performed under local
What It Is: Hypothyroidism occurs when the Shih Tzu’s thyroid gland malfunctions and fails to produce enough of
the thyroid hormone. Without enough of this hormone, your Shih Tzu will not have a healthy metabolism. If your Shih
Tzu suffers from hyperthyroidism, he will fall victim to hair loss, fatigue, weight gain and muscle loss.
How It’s Treated: This is one of the easiest Shih Tzu health problems to fix. Luckily, hypothyroidism can be
successfully managed with medication.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
What It Is: Stemming from a deficiency of the VIII antigen, Von Willebrand’s disease is similar to hemophilia in
humans. Shih Tzus with this ailment bleed more easily and excessively if they’re injured.
How It’s Treated: Blood transfusions are necessary to treat this disease. Though there are a number of Shih Tzu
health problems for you and your dog to contend with, they can most often be treated, leaving your pet to lead a
healthy and happy life.
The best way to combat Shih Tzu health problems?
Take your Shih Tzu in for regular checkups, and talk to your veterinarian anytime you think there’s a problem.
After all, the healthier your Shih Tzu is, the more he can enrich your life!
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