Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terriers are energetic toy dogs, assertive and demanding by nature. Very bright and quick to learn, they prefer to rule the house. They get along well with other pets, and are best with children they’ve grown up with from an early age.

Breed-related concerns

Every dog breed carries a distinct set of genetic advantages and health risk factors. The following are the most common diseases found in the Yorkshire Terrier breed. Hopefully, your Yorkshire Terrier will not face these problems. However, early detection and preventive healthcare can make all the difference in helping your dog live a longer, happier life (see breed-related disease descriptions below).

Puppy (birth to 1 year)*

  • Retained deciduous teeth
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Juvenile hypoglycemia

Adult (1 to 6 years)*

  • Tracheal collapse
  • Patella luxation
  • Bladder stones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Cushing’s disease

Senior (7 years and older)*

  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Breed-related disease descriptions

Listed in alphabetical order. *Please note that these common diseases can occur earlier or later in the dog’s life.

Bladder stones. May be due to bladder infection or abnormal excretion of minerals by the kidneys. Signs may include increased frequency of urination, straining or inability to urinate and blood in the urine.

Cushing’s syndrome. Caused by excessive cortisol (a type of steroid) production by the adrenal glands. Signs include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight gain, distended abdomen, hair loss and skin infections.

Juvenile hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar seen in young, small breeds of dogs. Symptoms include weakness, seizures, blindness and occasionally death.

Legg – Perthes disease. This disease causes the tip of the femur (the thigh bone) to break down. Signs include lameness, not wanting to exercise, having a hard time getting up and pain.

Pancreatitis. Inflammation of the pancreas. Often occurs secondary to dietary indiscretion (eating garbage) or ingestion of a fatty meal. Signs include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and a painful tummy.

Patella luxation. The kneecap slips out of place occasionally leading to pain and lameness. Symptoms include holding the affected limb up off the ground, not wanting to exercise and lameness of hind legs.

Portosystemic shunt. A disease caused by abnormal blood flow to the liver. The blood bypasses the liver, which leads to the build-up of toxins in the blood. Signs include changes in behavior after eating, blindness, deafness, seizures, failure to thrive, excessive drinking and urinating, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, and signs due to formation of bladder stones.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). A disease of light sensitive cells in the back of the eye (retina) that causes progressive visual impairment leading to blindness. Signs may include night blindness, bumping into objects, dilated pupils, a shining appearance to the eyes, reluctance to exercise or play, or “clinginess.”

Retained deciduous teeth. Delayed shedding of deciduous (“baby”) teeth can cause adult teeth to grow in crooked or out of place. This can cause food to become entrapped and, left untreated, can lead to severe gum disease.

Tracheal collapse. Progressive weakening of the walls of the trachea (wind pipe) which allows it to collapse in on itself. Signs may include coughing (especially when excited or during exercise), difficulty breathing and wheezing. Cough often sounds harsh or like honking.

Help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Ask your veterinarian about a breed-related preventive health plan.

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