Collapsing Trachea (CT) is an inherited condition when the
cartilage of the trachea (windpipe) is weak and can easily
flatten out inhibiting the amount of air into the lungs.
CT is a progressive, non-curable condition affecting the
entire airway. It is characterized by its unmistakable “goose
honk” sound. CT can lower the resistance to respiratory
stress. Airborne irritants, heat, heart disease, respiratory
infections and anesthetic breathing tubes can all irritate
There is no cure for CT however medical management and, in
extreme cases, surgically inserted tracheal shunts can treat
Luxating Patella (LP) is caused by the rotation of the tibia
and the curved formation of the lower femur resulting in
the structural misalignment of the knee cap causing slippage
out of the trochlear groove. LP can be congenital or trauma
induced. Females are one and half times more likely to have
LP than males, though it is unknown why. LP is progressive
and worsens with age as repeat dislocation of the knee cap
cause permanent cartilage damage which can lead to osteoarthritis.
LP is a graded condition from 1 to 4 with levels 1 and 2
being relatively minor and manageable to levels 3 and 4 necessitating
Symptoms include rear lameness, running and screaming in
sudden pain as the knee cap dislocates, the holding up of
the leg, and the inability to bear weight on the knee.
Due to the complications of surgery on elderly dogs, those
with level 3 and 4 LP in their senior years usually have
the condition managed with Prednisone. Great strides have
been made in the medical management of LP with hydrotherapy
which has proven to be a beneficial treatment for low grade
Allergies are becoming more and more common in dogs. They
can be broken down into inhalant, contact and food allergies.
Most common to Yorkies are flea, grass, and environmental
toxins. Medical maintenance is required in the treatment
of allergies. Eliminating food sources, contact with grass,
and keeping up with flea and tick prevention are the best
way to avoid irritation. In severe cases corticosteroids
are often prescribed, but should only be sought out as a
last resort as they can cause severe side effects over time
and exposure. Alternative medicines such as Holistic Medicine
and Acupuncture can often provide effective treatments.
Idiopathic Epilepsy is the reoccurrence of seizures with
no active underlying disease occurring in the brain. It typically
begins between 3 and 5 years of age and can range in severity,
occurrence, and duration. Light seizures and long spans between
episodes are usually manageable without medication. More
intense and commonly occurring episodes can usually be controlled
with medications such as Phenobarbital, Dilantin, and Primidone.
Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s Syndrome is the overproduction
of cortisone, a naturally produced steroid hormone, by the
adrenal gland which in turn inhibits the body’s ability
to regulate the metabolic functions such as fat production
and distribution, the body’s ability to counteract
shock and inflammation, and the regulation of the skin
and immune systems.
Cushing’s is caused by one of three factors: tumor
in the adrenal gland, tumor in the pituitary gland, or
overly prescribed corticosteroids used to treat allergies.
Symptoms include increased thirst and hunger, increased
urine output, changes in skin and coat such as dandruff,
and darkening of the skin and hair loss of the flanks
of the dog. It can also include abdominal pain and distention,
elevated alkaline phosphate levels, and diabetes has
known to develop as a secondary symptom.
Treatments include the medications Anapryl, Lysodren,
and Vetoryl or Trilostane. For dogs that develop Cushing’s
as a result of corticosteroids, discontinuation of
the drugs can often time lead to a complete recovery.
All dog breeds are susceptible to heart defects. Most congenital
heat defects can be detected by a veterinarian in a six week
old puppy. Cardiomyopathy, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, and
Valvular Endocardiosis can affect Yorkies.
Cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease, is the weakening
of the heart muscle for any reason. Dogs with Cardiomyopathy
are at risk for Arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a failure of the Ductus
Arteriosus to adapt the body from breathing amniotic fluid
to breathing oxygen by not closing off the connection between
the aorta and the pulmonary artery. The effect to which the
dog is affected is dependant on how much of the duct remains
Valvular Endocardiosis, or Chronic Myxomatous Valvular Heart
Disease, commonly effects Yorkies. It is the degeneration
of the heart valves and usually affects middle age to elderly
Yorkies. The cause is unknown.
Hemorrhagic Gastric Enteritis (HGE) is a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal
tract causing mucousy, then bloody diarrhea. In small breeds it can lead to severe
dehydration and should be treated with antibiotics immediately. HGE can be picked
up anywhere and has an incubation period of 2 to 10 days.
Hydrocephalus, more commonly called water on the brain, is
actually a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain cavity.
Hydrocephalus can be congenital or acquired due to another
disease which blocks the normal drainage of fluid.
Symptoms include an enlarged dome which progressively worsens,
aimless walking and slow to mental development.
Dogs born with this condition usually die at a very early
age. Those that live with the condition can be treated with
early intervention of appropriate medications minimizing
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar level, is very common in
all small breeds but is especially prevalent in Yorkies.
If the body’s blood sugar levels drop too low it can
result in permanent neurological damage.
Symptoms include confusion, disorientation, drowsiness, shivers,
seizures, collapse, and coma.
The best treatment for Hypoglycemia is prevention. Immediate
treatment to an effected puppy can prevent long term or permanent
damage. Making sure a puppy eats frequently and has significantly
long rest periods and having products such as Nutri-cal,
Nutri-drops on hand can all help in preventing the onset
Hypothyroidism is an under active thyroid gland. Symptoms
include poor coat, infertility, lethargy, intolerance for
cold, and weight gain. Once the underlying cause to Hypothyroidism
has been identified, the condition can often be successfully
treated with hormones.
Idiopathic Tremor Syndrome is also known as White Dog Shaker
Syndrome. It develops in dogs between six months and three
years. The entire body of the dog shakes, head tilts, there
is weakness in the limbs, and in worse cases, seizures. It
is often times accompanied with rapid eye movements. It seems
that excessive handling of the dog, over excitement will
increase the symptoms while the symptoms diminish with relaxation.
It is believed to be caused by a deficiency of neurotransmitters
due to an auto immune reaction or disease.
Studies to determine a genetic predisposition to Idiopathic
Tremor Syndrome have proven inconclusive. Most dogs recover
completely with early intervention and treatment with corticosteroids
Legg-Calve Perthes is an inherited disease
which causes the degeneration of the hip from a loss
of blood flow to the joint resulting in Avascular Necrosis
(tissue death) of the bone.
Symptoms are not always noticeable and often do not present until middle to elderly
age. There is often times little to no pain and is often caught in an x-ray.
Non-surgical treatments include slings to rest and immobilize the joint and anti-inflammatory
medications. A surgical option is the removal of the bony formation causing the
painful smashing of the femur head to the hip joint. While this can reduce pain
in the joint, it is usually only resorted to in extreme cases as the recovery
time for good use of the leg can take up to an entire year.
As Legg-Calve Perthes is a definite inherited disease, dogs
diagnosed with it should not be bred. Great strides have
been made in the medical management of Legg-Calve Perthes
with hydrotherapy which has proven to be a beneficial for
many affected dogs.
Pancreatitis, as in humans, is the inflammation of the pancreas.
While Pancreatitis is usually a result of excessive alcohol
consumption for humans, a high fat diet or dietary indiscretion
is the prime culprit in dogs. Other conditions such as diabetes,
cancer, and complicated surgical recovery have also been
known to cause Pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a life threatening
condition as it inhibits the pancreas’ ability to regulate
the body’s insulin levels and insulin production.
Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite,
and the over all “sick dog”.
Diagnosing Pancreatitis is problematic. No test is 100% accurate.
A measurement of the body’s levels of lipase and amylase
are taken and a ultrasound can be somewhat effective.
There is no cure for Pancreatitis and treatment includes
hospitalization and fluid IVs for food and liquids to allow
the pancreatic inflammation to subside. Painkillers can be
administered for comfort.
Pharyngeal Gag Reflex or Reverse Sneezing is characterized
by it unmistakable “goose honk” sound. It is
an irritation of the soft palate of the throat that results
in a spasm. It does not require medical attention and usually
corrects itself on its own. It is often caused by a period
of over excitement, pulling excessively on a lead, or drinking
If for any reason a dog is poisoned call your local emergency
vet immediately. Collect any vomit and take it to the vet
with you for analysis. If a veterinarian is not available
at the time of poisoning contact the Animal Poison Control
Center (ASPCA) by phone. 888-426-4435.
AND VITREAL DYSPLASIA WITH SKELETAL ABNORMALITIES
Retinal and Vitreal Dysplasia with Skeletal Abnormalities
(Dwarfism) is the inherited combination of Retinal Dysplasia
and Dwarfism. Studies have shown that one is not inherited
without the other. However, dogs can exhibit signs of Retinal
Dysplasia without exhibiting signs of a Skeletal abnormality
outside of the eye sockets. Dogs can be tested for Retinal
Dysplasia at eye clinics held by AKC Kennel Clubs across
the United States by a certified canine Ophthalmologists.
Dogs found to be affected are not issued certificates by
the Canine Eye Research Foundation.
Early signs of the condition are visible as early as 8 weeks
of age when the retarded growth and bowing of the front legs
with the rear legs growing excessively stiff and straight
caused by the delayed growth of the bone growth plates. Unusually
large eyes usually accompany the condition. As the conditions
are inherited and have no cure, affected dogs should not