Are you wondering about potential Shih Tzu health problems? A well-bred dog with a healthy genetic history will not usually show any problems at all. There is always a risk though and this is why we wanted to look more at Shih Tzu health with the dog’s spine in focus.
The Shih Tzu, along with a few other small and long backed breeds, is susceptible to a spinal condition, caused by arthritis.
The proper name for the problem is Vertebral Disk disease. This is relatively rare in the breed but well worth knowing about.
Shih Tzu Health – The Spine
Spinal disks are the small sacs of fluid that live between each vertebra in the dog’s spine. When they work well each cushions the single vertebra bone and allows a full range of movement.
When the disks become dysfunctional they are described as diseased. The most common description for this is a slipped disk. Although the disk stays in place the harder outer shell leaks fluid and the dog feels pain and loses mobility. As the fluid leaks from the disk the vertebra move closer together causing long-term spine problems.
When the spine is not working properly the dog may lose mobility and have problems with the back legs.
Shih Tzu Health – Arthritis
Arthritis can be seen in the older Shih Tzu or those which have a genetic weakness in the bone and joint areas. We are all susceptible to arthritis because it is caused by wear and tear on the joints, the Shih Tzu is no different.
Symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, reluctance to jump or walk and a general pain around the joint area. Inside the body, as these symptoms show, the cartilage is wearing away within the joints and eventually if left untreated it will become useless.
Joints in the dog that are most susceptible to changes caused by arthritis are the spine, hips, knees and elbows.
Natural Remedies and Shih Tzu Joint Health
Joint health has, over the last few years, become as related to diet as it is to genetic influence. Lack of good quality vitamins and minerals is thought to attribute greatly to the development and growth of joint changes due to arthritis.
Many holistic veterinarians state that some joint problems can be avoided altogether whilst many more believe that supplementation can stop and even reverse the development of arthritis. Take a look at the supplements described below, each are easily available in health food stores or online.
- An increasingly well-known supplement for the support of cartilage, used to rebuild damaged cartilage.
- Used at best alongside glucosamine described above. This supplement helps the body to use glucosamine more effectively.
- Vitamins C and E. Used to support regrowth of cartilage and general joint health. Vitamin C is also a good vitamin for disk health.
In addition you can add fish to the diet of your Shih Tzu inclusive of sea jerky treats. Fish contains oils which support joint health and overall Shih Tzu well-being.
If you find this article particularly interesting why not take a look at our Shih Tzu natural health course? It’s packed full with information that every Shih Tzu owner needs.