5 Common Health Issues In Small Dog Breeds | DogExpress
Monday , October 26 2020
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Common Health Issues In Small Dogs

5 Common Health Issues In Small Dog Breeds

Are you planning to get a small dog who would be a perfect fit for apartment living? There are many things that you need to consider before getting a small dog breed. One of the most important things to consider before getting a small dog breed is the common health conditions that these small breeds are prone to.

1. Patellar Luxation

It is a condition where the dog’s kneecap (PATELLA) gets dislocated from its normal anatomic position i.e.,  in the groove of the thigh bone. It causes movement issue, weakness in the legs and severe pain. It is most commonly seen in young miniature and toy breeds such as Dachshund, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Pekingese and Pug.


  • Limping
  • Pain if the leg is moved
  • Crying from pain
  • Inability to bend the knee
  • Refusing to exercise
  • Weakness
  • Loss of range of motion in one or both hind legs
  • Abnormal carriage of one or both hind legs
  • Temporary paralysis of the stifle (knee) joint
  • Difficulty rising
  • Reluctance to run or jump
  • Swelling at or around the stifle

2. Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral Disk Disease

It is disease where the cushions between the vertebrae come in contact with the spinal cord causing multitude of symptoms. The issue can start with pain at the back of the dog due to irritation in the spinal cord. If the nerves in the spinal cord gets compressed, it can cause severe pain, weakness and even paralysis. Small dog breeds that are highly prone to this disease are Pomeranian, Dachshund, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, and Lhasa Apsos.


  • Pain and weakness in the rear legs
  • Unwillingness to jump
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Paralysis in one or more limbs
  • Pain in the back or neck, typically causing refusal to walk or look around
  • Loss of hind limb function
  • Loss of ability to urinate
  • Hesitant to go up or down stairs
  • Neck muscles are tense, may spasm
  • Tense abdomen
  • Restlessness

3. Ectropion


Ectropion is an abnormality which commonly affects short-nosed and flat-faced dogs such as Cairn Terrier, Pug, French Bulldogs etc. This condition causes the lower eyelid to turn outward exposing the tissue that lines the inner eyelids. It causes dryness in the eye, excessive tearing etc.


  • Excessive tearing
  • Excessive dryness
  • Irritation in dog’s eyes
  • Burning and redness
  • Chronic conjunctivitis
  • Pawing at the eye

4. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

It is an upper airway problem commonly found in short-nosed and flat-faced dog breeds. The compressed respiratory system of these dogs makes it difficult for them to breathe. Most popular small dogs such as Pug, Chihuahua and Shih Tzu etc are quite prone to this disease.


  • Panting
  • Gagging
  • Coughing
  • Snoring
  • Harsh sounds when breathing in
  • Narrowed nostrils (stenotic nares)
  • Increased inspiratory effort
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes (cyanosis)
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Temporary cessation of breathing

5.  Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

LCP  is a genetic disease that affects small-breed dogs. It is a hip-joint disorder involving a dog’s hind leg in the femur bone area. It occurs most commonly in toy and miniature breeds when they are between the age of 4 months and 1 year. The highest risk of occurring this disease is at the age of 7 months. It can cause pain, inflammation, stiffness in the dog’s legs resulting in problems in moving and walking.


  • X-rays show increased joint space
  • Limping
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Dog will not put weight on the diseased leg Inability to walk from time to time
  • Pain during physical examination when a veterinarian tries to extend the hip joint
  • Collapse of the femur bone head
  • Diseased leg seems to be shorter because the femur bone head has collapsed

If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms in your dog, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately and get them treated.

Author Bio

Monika B. is a dog owner and lover who frequently writes about prevalent dog issues in India, covers local dog news and shares information regarding dog health and care. She is a fashion enthusiast, loves shopping, traveling and listening to music.

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