Jack Russell Terriers For Dummies
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Your Yorkshire Terrier will probably stay pretty healthy most of his life, but every dog can have health problems. Get to know common Yorkshire Terrier health issues, so you can get your dog the right treatment quickly. Whenaddressed promptly, most conditions can be treated successfully.

As a breed, Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to certain conditions, but that doesn't mean that every Yorkie will get sick. Most never have one of these illnesses, but if you recognize any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Portosystemic (liver) shunt: Some unlucky Yorkies are born with this potentially fatal congenital condition in which the blood bypasses the liver. When this happens the toxins never get cleaned out of the blood.

    The symptoms of liver shunt include: small size and poor weight gain; digestive system problems; urinary system problems including excess thirst and urination; and depression, listlessness, uncoordinated movements, or seizures that usually appear shortly after eating.

  • Legg-Perthes Disease: A degeneration of the dog's hip joint (also called avascular necrosis of the femoral head and neck).

    Symptoms of the disease start appearing when the dog is 4 to 11 months old, and they include lameness in the affected leg, pain, ranging from mild to severe, and wasting away of the muscle.

  • Luxating patellas: Dogs with luxating patella have kneecaps that slip out of place. Like most conditions, this one can vary in severity.

    Symptoms can include kneecaps slipping when the vet handles it (Grade I); kneecap slips out of place when walking or running (Grade II); kneecap slips out of place frequently enough to cause lameness (Grade III), and kneecap slips and stays out of place (Grade IV).

  • Hypoglycemia: Yorkie puppies are especially vulnerable to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Episodes are trigged by not eating regularly, stress, strenuous activity, or digestive track illnesses.

    Symptoms include confusion or disorientation, shivering or a staggering gait, and drowsiness. In the worst case, he may have a seizure, fall into a coma, or even die.

If your puppy has a hypoglycemic episode, your need to quickly boost his blood-sugar level. Give him a drop or two of Karo syrup or honey. If the episode is severe, however, and your Yorkie falls into a coma or has a seizure, call the vet immediately.

  • Collapsing trachea: A windpipe that periodically closes on itself. This condition typically appears as your dog gets older.

    Symptoms include shortness of breath, honking coughing fits (attempts to re-open the trachea), and, because of the restricted air flow, fatigue.

  • PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy): A degenerative disease of the retina. The condition is inherited and incurable.

    The first symptom is night blindness, followed by a gradual loss of daytime vision, and then total blindness.

    Your best chance of avoiding these conditions is to buy your Yorkie through a reputable breeder who breeds only dogs who are free from these conditions and therefore are less likely to pass them on to their offspring.

A few other conditions that can afflict Yorkies are

  • Retained primary teeth: Yorkie's often don't lose their baby teeth on their own. When your Yorkie's around 6 or 7 months old, have your vet check to make sure all her baby teeth are gone. If they're not, they need to be pulled.

  • Underactive thyroid: If your Yorkie's thyroid isn't functioning properly, you may notice a dull coat, hair loss, lethargy, extreme intolerance for cold weather, weight gain, and chronic skin disorders.

  • Heart disease: Yorkies are prone to heart trouble, particularly with the valves. If the valve fails to close properly, the blood flows back into the chambers, possibly causing the chamber to enlarge, which itself leads to other problems (such as constricting the windpipe, flowing back into the lungs, or causing an irregular heartbeat).

  • Bladder stones: Middle-aged Yorkies tend to get bladder “stones”. Signs are difficulty going to the bathroom or blood in the urine.

  • Undescended testicle(s): Sometimes, one or both your of Yorkie's testicles hasn't “dropped ” — or, descended into the scrotum. If your dog has this problem, you need to have him neutered.

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