Small Dog Diseases by Janice Jones |Last Updated 11/04/2020
No one likes to see their small dog suffering and when it turns out that your dog has a serious illness, a rush of emotions may overwhelm you. Confusion, despair, worry, fear, and panic are just a few feelings that many people report.
The good news is that small dogs generally live longer than their larger cousins and most enjoy a relatively healthy life. Many of the diseases we see in older small breed dogs are due to their longevity. These same diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure are also common in older people.
The bad news is that some problems result because of their small size and physical structure. There are also some diseases with a genetic component that are common in small breed dogs.
This page is a database of some of the most common ailments. Click on any link to go to an article about the description, causes, symptoms, treatment options. It is always easier to deal with small dog diseases if you have some understanding.
Dog Infectious Diseases
Keep your small dog healthy with these simple pet health tips.
Can Your Dog Make You Sick?
Most small dog diseases can not be passed onto people, but there are some that you should know about, namely zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are caused by germs that can pass between people and animals. They can spread in two ways: Direct and Indirect Transmission.
Direct transmision means that there is direct contact with some form of bodily fluid such as saliva, blod, urine or feces. Indirect contact means that germs are spread by coming into contact with a contaminated surface such as a dog bed, food and water bowl, or soil and grass where germs remain hidden.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains 3 ways that people or animals contaminate each other including water, food, and through a vector such as a flea, tick, or mosquito. Eating unsafe or contaminated food is a common way a person may get sick. Drinking or coming into contact with contaminated water is the other way a person or pet can get sick.
Here is a list of common zoonotic diseases that can pass from dogs to people. Note that these diseases can be passed by dogs of all sizes, not just small breed dogs.
- Lyme Disease
Small Dog Diseases & Health Problems
Some small dog health problems are more common in certain breeds and
those breeds that are most popular tend to have genetic or inherited diseases
show up more because of inbreeding and indiscriminate breeding practices.
As a general observation, many small breeds are prone to similar maladies so rather than describe breed specific problems, we have added this page as a table of contents of dog diseases. Go to your breed of choice page and scroll down to learn about their specific diseases.
As a whole, small dogs are healthy but they do have some concerns
unique to their size.
Most Common Small Dog Diseases
Here are seven common illnesses that can affect your small dog, as well as some of the symptoms your pet could be exhibiting. Find out what the seven most common dog diseases are.
If you suspect that your pup has one of these diseases, take it to see a veterinarian as soon as possible so that it can receive proper treatment.
Small Dog Health Conditions
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Bladder Infections in Puppies
Puppy bladder infections may be more common than we think and especially in small breed puppies.
When you think about it, young puppies tend to drink more and consequently urinate more than adults.
Read about Bladder Infections in Puppies
Brachycephalic Syndrome in Small Dogs
The term, brachycephalic syndrome in dogs, is not a disease per se, but a set of characteristics that can cause breathing problems that range from slight to severe and life-threatening.
But who is affected? Any dog with a short nose is considered to be a brachycephalic dog.
Read about Brachycephalic Syndrome
Canine Atopic Dermatitis
One of the most frustrating issues about being a dog owner is when your dog suffers from some form of allergy.
One of the most common allergic ailments that your dog might suffer from is atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is usually provoked by common allergens that typically affect dogs in the environment.
Canine Valley Fever
Canine Valley Fever, also known as Coccidioidomycosis, is an infection that is – caused by the fungus ‘coccidiodes immitis’.
This fungus can be found in the soil of warm, dry climates such as Arizona, California and parts of Mexico. This fungus can be transmitted to your dog by inhalation.
Whether you believe that a cherry eye is a cosmetic problem or a serious medical condition, you probably have to agree that it is not the easiest sight to behold.
Getting its name from the fact that it seems to resemble a bright red cherry, the correct medical term for this odd looking mass is a prolapse gland of the third eyelid.
Tracheal collapse is a progressive disease involving the trachea or windpipe most commonly seen in small breed dogs.
The most common breeds afflicted with this problem include Yorkies, Maltese, Toy Poodles, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Pug, and Shih Tzu, although it can occur in other breeds, as well.
Constipation in Puppies: When to Worry
Worried your puppy might be constipated?
There is a good chance he is if he hasn’t had a bowel movement for more than 24 hours.
Your puppy’s constipation problem could be as simple as a dietary indiscretion or a serious blockage or tumor.
Coughing in Puppies: What’s Causing it?
The sound of a young puppy gagging or coughing is hard to listen to especially if you are a new dog owner.
It sounds scary, and it is often hard to determine whether it is a symptom of an underlying disease or a puppy trying to clear congestion from his throat from something he just inhaled.
Dehydration in Dogs
If you’re asking this question it is probably because you have gone to work without remembering to top up your dog’s water bowl, either that or there’s a biblical drought in your state!
Or, Your dog has been sick, vomiting or diarrhea, and you aren’t sure if he could be dehydrated.
Start off right with a puppy dental care plan.
A puppy is born toothless but development proceeds rapidly and by 6 or 7 weeks the teeth begin to come in. Some baby teeth erupt sooner. A puppy will keep these baby teeth until about the age of 4 or 5 months when they begin to lose them.
Diarrhea in Puppies: Home Care or Vet Visit?
Not only is diarrhea in puppies a mess, it makes housebreaking nearly impossible. But that is only half the story, the presence of diarrhea in puppies signify something is wrong. Sometimes VERY wrong!
Germs spread easily from dog to dog and if the diarrhea was contagious there was a good possibility that I’d have a disaster in the making.
Red, stinky, dirt ears usually mean a dog ear infection is brewing and with it comes sensitivity, pain, and irritability. If your small dog has been shaking his head, rubbing his ears against objects or scratching, then he might have an ear problem.
Dog ear infections are one of the most common reasons that dog owners visit their veterinarians each year.
Small Dog Eyelid Conditions: Should we worry?
You know you have the responsibility to protect them as well as you can. Consequently, we need to be aware of the conditions that can harm them and act the moment we see them.
Fleas: Your Puppy’s Worst Enemy
Dog Fleas may not be your puppy’s worst enemy, but it can cause much distress and even disease. When we think about external parasites on dogs, the first critters that come to mind are fleas, ticks and mites.
These tiny insects can become problems for your small dog as well as you, causing itchy skins, loss of hair and some are capable of transmitting diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus, and Lyme Disease.
Dog Flea Treatments: Pros and Cons
With so many choices on the market, how does one choose the best methods for ridding your dog and your home from these pesky insects. All methods are detailed along with a discussion and the pros and cons of each method. (Pills, topical treatments, collars and natural remedies)
Giardia in dogs is another annoying parasite that can affect your dog’s health.
This small protozoan, Giardia is not a worm, but a one-celled organism that is also capable of causing harm in many animals including people, although it’s not entirely clear how common the transmission is between dogs and people.
It is a very common parasite found in dogs, cats, horses, pigs, cows, sheep, and goats. The resultant disease is called giardiasis.
Heartworm Disease & Preventative
Heartworm Disease is a serious and possibly fatal condition caused by a parasite called by its scientific name, Dirofilaria immitis. It gets its name because these parasites take up residence in the chambers of the heart and surrounding blood vessels.
Adult worms resemble long thin strains of spaghetti often upwards of 12 inches long and lodge in the lungs and heart, where they begin to reproduce.
Hip Dysplasia is a dreaded disease and the most common cause of rear leg lameness in dogs. Even though it is most common in large breed dogs, it can also occur in small dogs.
Hip dysplasia is thought of as a genetic disease caused by a polygenic trait. This means that more than one pair of genes is involved. There are no genetic tests for this disorder. There are, however, other factors that contribute to the problem.
Dog Hip and Joint Pain Treatments
When it comes to hip and joint pain treatment for our beloved dogs, the first thing we want to know, “How can I make life easier and more comfortable for my dogs as they are heavily suffering?” It is arduous to see our favorite legged companion suffering from any pain or discomfort.
Read more about Dog Hip and Joint Treatments
Legg Calve Perthes Disease
Legg Calve Perthes Disease affects mainly small breed dogs and seems to have a genetic component. Specific causes of the disease are not completely understood, but it is thought to be an inherited disorder, caused by an autosomal recessive gene that is inherited from both parents.
Trauma may also play into the disorder. Since there is a possibility that it is inherited, no dog with his disease should be bred.
Patellar luxation, luxating patella, dislocated kneecap, trick knee, and floating kneecaps are terms that refer to a condition where the kneecap can move in and out of position.
Patellar luxation occurs mostly in toy and small breeds of dogs weighing 22 pounds or less, but can occur in dogs of all sizes.
In the majority of cases, luxation is a congenital condition and shows up as soon as puppies begin to walk. But may appear some time later.
Lyme Disease in Dogs
Lyme disease in dogs is one of those devious health problems that can affect your dog, not to mention other species as well as Humans.
It is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) carried by an infected tick, the black-legged tick, which is also known as the small deer tick.
Do you have an overweight dog? Perhaps you’d like to ignore the situation, but if your Small breed dog is overweight, you are cheating him out of the chance to live the best possible life.
Overweight Small breed dogs are at increased risk of developing painful conditions like osteoarthritis and life-threatening ones like respiratory, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer.
6 Signs Your Shih Tzu is Overweight
Although it may appear that all Shih Tzu have the same anatomy, most people can’t tell the difference between an average and overweight Shih Tzu. Because Shih Tzu’ bodies are hidden under layers of hair, a visual inspection is not often adequate to ascertain their shape.
This is why owners need to examine their Shih Tzus physically.
Surgery: 7 Conditions that Put Your Dog at Risk
Purebred canines are often afflicted with more health problems than mixed breed dogs. As a pet owner, it’s best to take care of your pet’s health to spare yourself from the stress of medical emergencies, not to mention the cost of small dog surgery.
This way, you can take preventive measures to ensure your furry pal stays healthy and strong.
This article lists common health conditions of small dog breeds that may need surgical intervention.
Dog Ticks: Should You Be Concerned?
They look like insects, but Ticks are real arachnids, the same family as spiders and scorpions, meaning they have 8 legs instead of the normal 6 legs found in insects.
They do damage to their host by attaching themselves, sucking blood and transmitting disease. The main issue with dog ticks is not the skin problems they cause, but the disease they can transmit. They can causes severe problems not only for your dog but for you too.
An umbilical hernia is the most common type of hernia found in the dogs. This is a condition where there is a small opening in the abdomen wall area of the umbilicus allowing the possibility of contents from the abdomen to protrude.
This area can be found on the dog’s stomach at the location where the umbilical cord was attached. It appears as a little soft lump or swelling.
Vomiting: Puppies Throwing Up Undigested Foood
von Willebrand’s Disease
von Willebrand’s disease is one of several blood clotting diseases that are found in many different dog breeds. It affects both males and female dogs, alike.
While it can be a serious, life threatening problem, most dogs live most of their lives symptom free. Owners have no idea that there is a problem until something happens such as a traumatic event that involves blood loss.
Worms in Dogs: Are You at Risk For Catching Your Dog’s Worms?
Discussing those Common Worms in Dogs and single celled organisms that live in dogs does not make for polite dinner conversation.
However, if left unchecked, these little creatures can make your dog and even you very ill and could be potentially deadly.
There are several very common worms seen in dogs. Learn about each, the symptoms in your dog and how to treat them.
Yeast Infections in Dogs