Yorkshire Terriers, like other dogs, are at risk of developing breed-specific health issues. Common Yorkie health problems fall into three categories: congenital, genetic, and acquired. Even getting a dog from a careful breeder may not prevent inherited conditions, as genes can skip several generations. You may not be able to control your dog from developing a problem, but if you recognize the signs of common Yorkie health problems, you can help your Yorkie get a faster diagnosis and start treatment.

Key Takeaways

Health Condition Description Treatment/Management
Hypoglycemia Deficient blood sugar levels, common in young Yorkies. Immediate sugar intake, long-term nutritional plan.
Legg-Perthes Disease Genetic disease affecting hip joints, common in younger dogs. Surgery with good prognosis for recovery.
Retinal Dysplasia Inherited condition causing vision problems, potential blindness. No cure, lifestyle adjustments for affected dogs.
Luxating Patella Dislocated kneecap due to improper tendon, tissue, and ligament development. Rest, anti-inflammatory meds, surgery for severe cases.
Collapsed Trachea Weak cartilage rings around trachea, genetic or caused by force. Weight management, harness use, medication, surgery for advanced cases.
Liver Shunt Abnormal portal vein, impaired blood cleaning by liver. Dietary adjustments, antibiotics, surgery for permanent solution.

1. Hypoglycemia

While most problems hit dogs in their older years, hypoglycemia is one of the few common health problems in Yorkies that typically appears young. Hypoglycemia is deficient blood sugar levels. This acquired condition occurs more in Yorkshire Terriers and other toy dogs than in other dog breeds.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include energy, drowsiness, lethargy, fainting, and weakness. Puppies (up to five months) are commonly affected, but this ailment can surface in adults too. Rubbing sugar or honey on your dog’s gums is a quick fix for hypoglycemia.

You can also feed your Yorkie protein-rich food every few hours. When you take your dog to the vet, they can perform medical tests and create a long-term nutritional plan. More info: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/endocrine/c_dg_low_blood_sugar

See also  6 Benefits Of Going For A Run With My Dog

2. Legg-Perthes Disease

Legg-Perthes is among the most common health problems in Yorkies. This degenerative genetic disease affects certain Yorkshire Terrier lines more than others. Unlike many degenerative conditions, it is prevalent in younger dogs between five and eight months old.

Legg-Perthes Disease weakens the hip joints by restricting blood flow to the femur. Without that vital blood supply, the hip joint weakens and becomes deformed. The bone collapses, and the cartilage around it cracks. Limping, lameness, and pain can indicate the presence of this disease. Surgery is the standard treatment for this disease, with a good prognosis for recovery.

3. Retinal Dysplasia

In most cases, Retinal Dysplasia is inherited. It can also be caused by damage to the eye from trauma or infection. This condition affects the tissue, or the retina, behind the dog’s eyeball. Vision problems occur as a result. In severe cases, the Yorkshire Terrier becomes completely blind. Dogs diagnosed with Retinal Dysplasia are discouraged from breeding due to the disease’s likelihood of passing to subsequent generations.

In mild cases, the dog has small blind areas and displays few, if any, symptoms. In more severe cases, your dog might stumble on stairs, run into furniture, and have trouble navigating around objects. Retinal Dysplasia is often discovered during a routine annual exam.

A certified Canine Eye Registry Foundation ophthalmologist can also administer an official test. There is no treatment for Retinal Dysplasia, but you can make life easier for your pet by keeping food, toys, and water in the same place, walking along the same routes, and not rearranging furniture.

4. Luxating Patella

Luxating Patella, or kneecap dislocation, is a congenital disability that causes improperly developing tendons, tissues, and ligaments around your Yorkie’s knees. As a result, the joint becomes unstable. When the kneecap slips out of place, your dog might yelp or let out a high-pitched sound. They might walk with a limp, an uneven skipping gait, or have trouble bending their legs.

See also  Yucky Coprophagia: How to Stop Your Yorkie from Eating Poop

If left untreated, Luxating Patella can result in your dog losing mobility. Bed rest, usually three to six weeks, is recommended in mild or moderate situations. Your vet might also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines and encourage you to walk your dog up hills to strengthen the muscles around the knee.

Surgery is reserved for severe or chronic cases and has about a 90 percent success rate.

5. Collapsed Trachea

Collapsed Trachea is a genetic condition that affects Yorkies and other toy dogs. In affected dogs, the cartilage rings around the Trachea are softer and weaker than those in other dogs. They can become tight or collapse as a result.

In addition to genetics, Collapsed Trachea can be caused by blunt force, such as an owner yanking on a young dog’s leash. Symptoms include gagging, labored breathing, noisy breathing, and coughing. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition.

Your vet might prescribe a low-fat diet if your pet is overweight. Using a harness instead of a leash and collar can alleviate pressure on the Trachea, and medication can be prescribed to reduce swelling. Surgery is performed in advanced cases and has a good prognosis.

6. Liver Shunt

Liver Shunt, or Portosystemic Shunt, is an abnormality in the portal vein. Consequently, blood flow to the liver is impaired, and the livers can’t correctly clean blood. Unclean blood then pushes toxins into vital organs, including the heart and brain.

Symptoms include jaundice, lack of appetite, seizures, muscle weakness, loss of cognitive function and vision, and weight loss. This condition is life-threatening and requires early treatment. Antibiotics and dietary adjustments are recommended in the early stages. Surgery is used to the problem permanently.

See also  Yorkie Tail Docking: Understanding the Controversy and the Facts


In conclusion, Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy dogs but susceptible to specific health problems. As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to be aware of these issues and watch for any symptoms that may arise. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can also help catch and treat any health problems early on.

We can ensure they lead long, healthy, and happy lives by staying vigilant and adequately caring for our fur babies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can cause Hypoglycemia in Yorkies?

Deficient blood sugar levels usually caused by inadequate nutrition or feeding schedule.

How is Legg-Perthes Disease treated?

Through surgery which generally has a good prognosis for recovery.

What lifestyle adjustments are needed for a Yorkie with Retinal Dysplasia?

Keeping their environment consistent, avoiding moving furniture and maintaining same walking routes help in navigating.

What are the symptoms of a Luxating Patella?

Symptoms include limping, an uneven skipping gait, and trouble bending legs.

How can Collapsed Trachea be prevented?

Using a harness instead of a collar, avoiding harsh tugs on leash and maintaining a healthy weight.

What are the indications of a Liver Shunt in Yorkies?

Symptoms include jaundice, lack of appetite, seizures, muscle weakness, and loss of cognitive function.

Related Posts