All dog breeds are prone to some kind of illness, a lot of them are based on genetics, but some of them are not. A lot of the health problems are closely associated with the particular breed. Today I would like to share with you the most common diseases that occur in Shih Tzu and how to prevent them. Certainly, some of them are genetically determined; others result from the fragility of these dogs or just from our human neglect.
This disease is characterized by the degradation of the thyroid by autoantibodies, which are generated inside the dog’s system. Symptoms are mainly dry, scaly skin, weight loss and hair loss (remember that Shih Tzu does not have fur they have hair). It is encountered in all Tibetan breeds and is largely genetically determined.
The disease occurs in many breeds of dogs, but the race Shih Tzu is it particularly vulnerable. The disease occurs due to sensitivity to external factors; remember that dogs Shih Tzu are quite delicate. The disease is manifested by acute itching, which is often associated with a runny nose, tearing, licking paws and extensive scratching. The skin of the dog is hot and clearly shows redness. The disease is sometimes genetically determined, but it is (like in humans) allergies based and can be determined by testing and your veterinarian based on the results can choose treatment appropriate for your dog.
Eye disease known as cataract is very common this breed, it is clouding of the lens of the eye. The breed has large exposed eyes that are prone to infections, poisoning, trauma or metabolic diseases could be some of the causes of this illness. Eye diseases can also have a genetical background.
HARDERIAN GLAND PROLAPSE
A symptom of the disease is excessive tearing, which often causes discoloration of hair in dogs with bright colors. The disease is often treated rather quickly and non-invasively in a large number of cases flushing is adequate enough to remove the cause of obstruction. However, there are cases when surgery is required.
This disease is caused by the dog’s eyelashes growing in all different directions and leads to inflammation of the cornea of the eye as a result of her irritation. Treatment primarily consists of removing the third row of eyelashes. You can also prevent this by frequent and regular haircuts and if your dog has a longer hair, make sure you tie them on top of the head in a popular bows or braids. If you know that your dog may be suffering from irritation of the cornea, it is a good idea to flush their eyes on a regular basis with chamomile.
BRACHYCEPHALIC AIRWAY SYNDROME
Shih Tzu is one of the breeds that have breathing issues due to the structure of their body. Most common issues seen with the Shih Tzu breed are collapsed trachea, elongated palate and stenotic nares. Almost half of the dogs from this breed have airway syndrome, both elongated palate and stenotic nares. Each illness on its own can cause breathing problems and if a dog has two or three, breathing can be severely impeded. When it comes to stenotic nares, the openings of the nostrils are ‘pinched’ and too narrow. With elongated palate, there is abnormal growth of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. With collapsed trachea, the rings of cartilage in the neck are weakened and/or collapse inward. A lot of the times surgery is necessary, but it is recommended to also take provisions like limiting the amount of exercise and not using a collar when you walk your dog.
All breeds of dogs are prone to some illnesses and disease; genetical predispositions are carried through the bloodline of the breeds for centuries. The above illnesses are just an example of what health issues you may find associated with this breed, but not necessary what your dog will ever suffer from. The purpose of listing what the Shih Tzu may be more prone to develop is a method of showing owners what to keep an eye on. Early detection is a very important step to recovery.
Mira Alicki is a jewelry designer and goldsmith for the past 22 years. Her passion for animals led her to create her own line of jewelry and online store to benefit charities. 40% of each purchase is donated back to the animal community. You can find Mira on Twitter (@FIMHjewelry) or Forever In My Heart.