Friday, April 27, 2007

Watching out for health problems

Many purebreds are prone to certain health conditions, and Shitzus are no exception. Here is a list of known problems to affect Shitzus:

- a blood vessel defect known as portosystemic shunt (dog appears dazed, bumps into things and snaps at you - these could be signs of this problem)

- kidney displasia (drinking more than usual and urinating more than usual could be a sign of kidney problem)

- a respiratory disorder known as brachycephalic airway syndrome (snorting and snoring are minor symptoms; however, overheating, overexercise or stress can leave your dog struggling for breath. Immediately move your dog to an air conditioned area, wet him down and talk calmly and stroke him until it passes)

- hypothyriodism (symptoms can include lethargy, weight gain, hair loss and skin infections)

- cataracts (cause a progressive decrease in your dog's vision)

- corneal ulcers (symptoms can include squinting, rubbing the eye and sticky discharge coming from the eye. Can be caused by not using tearless shampoo which gets into the eyes and irritates them)

- entropion (turned-in eyelids...eyes are often red and runny)

- inward growing eyelashes

- eye disorders known as retinal dysplasia

- hemolitic anemia

- platelet deficiency

- a blood clotting disorder known as von Willebrand's disease (often inherited or caused by a protein deficiency)

- progressive retinal atrophy (form of progressive of the earliest signs is night blindness)

- dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)

Because these are common to Shitzus, keep an eye out for these symptoms and if you do notice anything out of the ordinary, check with your vet as many of these problems require blood tests and other medical tests before they can be confirmed.

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