Listed below is a short description on some of the known health issues that affect the yorkshire terrier, for more information on a particular subject there are also links on the left to pages with more extensive information about some of the diseases.  These are only meant to help you know a little bit about the disease, and not to be used as a diagnosis. Only your vet is qualified to diagnosis your pet.


Bladder Stones






Collapsing Trachea


Cushing's Disease












Liver Shunt










Patella Luxation


Patent Ductus Arteriosus


Protein-Losing Enteropathy


Reverse Sneezing







BLADDER STONES --  more correctly called uroliths, are rock-like collections of minerals that form in the urinary bladder.  They may occur as a large, single stone or as dozens of stones the size of large grains of sand or pea gravel. Stones that form in the bladder may pass into the uretha.  All dogs can develop bladder stones.  Stones in the bladder eventually cause painful urination and blood in the urine.  Your dog may cry in pain, especially if pressure is applied to their stomach..

CAMPYLOBACTERIOSIS --  is commonly mistaken for Parvovirus, but needs different treatment.  It's a BACTERIAL imbalance in the digestive tract. It is a disease that produces acute infectious diarrhea in puppies and kittens.  This is NOT a new form of Parvo. Parvo tests will show a LOW positive & subsequent tests will continue to show low positives, will be inconclusive, or will give erratic results. This disease is so similar to Parvo, that some dogs have tested in the low positive for Parvo. But they do not have Parvo, and it has been recommended that three parvo tests are needed to exclude Parvo. This disease can be tested for specifically, so if you have an affected dog that appears to have Parvo, but in your mind know that, that could not be possible, have them tested for "Camby". It is important to note that this disease can be transferred between humans, dogs, cats and other livestock.  It starts with fecal mucus sheath & continues to get progressively softer until it is watery and contains blood. It then becomes explosive. Vomiting may accompany and may or may not also contain blood. Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a "slaughterhouse on a summer day" smell (similar to parvo diarrhea but with a floral hint). Feces are usually mustard colored. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intussusception . 

COCCIDIOSIS -- Coccidiosis is a diarrhea disease caused by a species of coccidia commonly found in the feces of puppies, and occasionally, adult dogs.   Coccidia are not worms; they are microscopic parasites which live within cells of the intestinal lining.  Because they live in the intestinal tract and commonly cause diarrhea, they are often confused with worms.

COLLAPSING TRACHEA -- Collapsing Trachea is a problem common to Toy Breeds. The trachea is a long tube that carries air from the neck to the chest. It is reinforced with rings of cartilage that help keep it rigid as air moves in and out of the tube. When the cartilage weakens, the trachea may collapse while the dog is breathing. While many affected dogs do fine, this isn't the case in all of the Toy's. The round cartilage rings may flatten, forcing the dog to try to breathe through an extremely narrow opening.   The symptoms of the condition---shortness fo breath, coughing, fatigue---usually appear after the age of five, although they can begin as early as birth. Generally young dogs tolerate collapding trachea pretty well until they get older.

CUSHING'S DISEASE -- Cushing's disease is the result of the overproduction of cortison, an natural steriod hormone, by the adrenal glands. It is rare in dogs under five years old. In about 80 percent of the dogs the disease is caused by a lesion in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain that overstimulates the adrenals, while in about 20 percent of cases one of the adrenal glands itself will have a tumor that excretes cortisol independent of what's happening in the body. About half of those tumors are maliganant and spread, and about half of them are benign and generally tend to stay small.

The symptoms of Cushing's disease can also appear if a dog is taking steriods for a medical condition and ends up with too much in his system. Steroids are found in a lot of creams, eye ointments and ear ointments, and if you get overzealous with their administration, that can cause these signs as well. When you stop using the products, these symptoms will go away.  The typical signs of Cushing's disease are increased thirst and urination, panting, hair loss (usually on the trunk) and weakness.

 GIARDIASIS -- Giardiasis is caused by a protozoan of the giardia species.  Giardia are one-celled  organisms that live in the small intestines of dogs and cats.  Dogs get the infection from drinking water from streams or other sources contaminated with infective oocysts.  Young dogs can develop diarrhea that may be acute or chronic, intermittent or persistent, and may be accompanied by weight loss.

HGE or HEMORRHAGIC GASTRIC ENTERITIS--- is particularly dangerous to the toy and smaller breed dogs. Any kind of bacterial diarrhea can quickly dehydrate a dog, and the tinies are at greater risk, as they have little weight to lose before they are dehydrated and need IV rehydration. Your dog can get infected anywhere. Then it can be from 2-10 days after exposure, that your dog can come down with this problem. The symptoms start with vomiting, lethargy, refusing to eat, and progressing to mucous covered stool, loose stools, severe diarrhea and bloody diarrhea. It is important to have a culture done first so that you know exactly what bacteria you are treating, and get them started on antibiotics. DO NOT waste time, especially with the tiny toy dogs , as they do not have the spare fluids to lose thru diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea.

HYPOGLYCEMIA-- If you are going to become a toy dog owner you will want to familiarize yourself to the symptoms of hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia is when the blood sugar levels (glucose) fall well below normal.  Glucose is what the body uses as fuel and is necessary for the brain tissue and muscles to function.  Hypoglycemia is often seen in toy breeds, and frequently in young toy puppies.   It can cause your puppy to become confused, disoriented, drowsy, have the shivers, stagger about, collapse, fall into a coma, or have seizures.   Typical signs are listlessness, depression, staggering gait, muscular weakness, and tremors -- especially of the face.  Puppies with a severe drop in the blood sugar develope seizures or become stuperous and go into a coma.  Some puppies may only exhibit weakness or a wobbly gait, and occasionally a puppy that seemed just fine is found in a coma.  Most of the time the symptoms can be controlled by eating, or by giving some glucose such as honey water to the puppy. If not treated it can result in death.

LEPTOSPIROSIS-- Leptospirosis is a disease is caused by spiral shaped bacteria called leptospires. It occurs worldwide and can affect humans as well as many wild and domestic animals, including dogs and cats. Dogs become infected by leptospires when abraded skin comes into contact with the urine of an infected host.  The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection.  The organisms quickly spread through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general malaise which can last up to a week.

LIVER SHUNT-- Also called Portosystemic shunts, are abnormal veins that allow blood from the intestine to bypass the liver.  Normally, blood flows from the intestines to the liver. where the by-products of digestion are metabolized. When there is a shunt, blood bypasses the liver with disastrous and often fatal consequences. Ammonia and other toxins are not metabolized or removed from the circulation, resulting in signs of hepatic encephalopathy (type of brain inflammation caused by high levels of ammonia and other toxins in the blood).   Symptoms can be dramatic, including stunted growth, persistent vomiting and diarrhea, weight loss and seizures. But they can also be subtle--increased urination, thirst and salivation. Liver shunts are operable, but not always successfully. The errant blood vessels may be inside or outside of the liver, and the ones inside the liver are much more difficult to repair

LAYPHANGIECTASIA  is an obstructive disorder involving the lymphatic system of the gastrointestinal tract,  resulting in Protien-Losing Enteropathy.   As part of the normal circulatory system, lymph fluid is collected from tissues throughout the body and returned to the blood by way of the lymphatic vessels. In intestinal lymphangiectasia, normal drainage is blocked so that intestinal lymph leaks into the intestines instead of being returned to the circulation. This results in the loss of proteins, lymphocytes ( a type of white blood cell), and lipids or fats into the stool.  Intestinal lymphangiectasia may be congenital (present from birth) due to malformation of the lymphatic system, or it may be acquired in association with another disease.

PANCREATITIS -- Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an elongated gland that serves many functions in the process of digestion and metabolism. When digestive enzymes that normally are excreted into the intestinal tract are activated in the pancreas instead, they cause inflammation. Foods high in fat, or a lot of greasy table scraps, tend to trigger pancreatitis.
This is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease. Mortality is upwards of 20 to 25 percent. Affected animals will have severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is also a danger.

PARVOVIRUS -- Canine parvovirus is an acute, highly contagious disease of dogs that was first described in the early 1970's.  The disease is transmitted by oral contact with infected feces.  Parvo affects dogs of all ages, but most cases occur in pupies 6 to 20 weeks of age.  Parvovirus is characterized by severe, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, high fever and lethargy. The diarrhea is particularly foul smelling and is sometimes yellow in color. Parvo can also attack a dog's heart causing congestive heart failure. This complication can occur months or years after an apparent recovery from the intestinal form of the disease. Puppies who survive parvo infection usually remain somewhat un-healthy and weak for life.

PATELLA LUXATION (slippping kneecaps, slipping stifle*)--is a relatively common condition in the Yorkie and often results in the intermittent lifting of one or both hindlegs when walking or running. It is possibly recessively inherited and therefore it is sensible not to breed from afflicted animals. Today, veterinary orthopaedics are such that corrective surgery is usually extremely successful.

- Stifel--the hindleg above the hock.

PATENT DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS (PDA) -- is in every mammal at birth.  It is a duct that blood flows through while the fetus is still using the mothers oxygen supply.  When the baby is born and starts to breath this duct is supposed to close.  It should close with in a few hours to a few days.  PDA is the most common congential heart defect in dogs.  It  is usually detected by your veterinarian when he hears a continous machinery heart murmur during a check-up.  Then there are tests that are done to confirm it.   All of the information that I have gathered give one to several, reasons that it might not.   Some are genetic, and some are classified as random events.   Some are even classified as polygenetic.

PROTEIN-LOSING ENTEROPATHY--  is a fancy way of saying that protein is being lost from the body through the intestine. This is a serious problem as the body's proteins are not easily replaced and the only way to replace them involves the absorption of protein constituents (the amino acids that make up proteins) from the intestine. If the intestine is actually leaking nutrients out instead of absorbing them in, the result is a nutritional disaster. Protein Losing Enteropathy is an inherited immune-mediated disease of the intestines. Many dogs don't show clinical signs of this disease until they are over the age of 5. Abnormal fluid accumulation may occur secondary to decreased protein levels in the blood.

REVERSE SNEEZING (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex*)
--is a dramatic, rapid inhalation and exhalation of air through the nasopharynx. Dogs may do this when they have a mild irritation at the back of their throat. Often confused with seizuring or gasping for air, it is usually a harmless event. 

Reverse sneezing isn't really a health problem, but something that dog owners should be aware of as it is very common in toy breeds.  It  is characterized by honking, hacking or a snorting sounds. It usually happens when a dog is excited or can sometimes happen after drinking, eating, running around, or while pulling on the leash. The dog will usually extend his/her neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound, it is reverse sneezing.

Usually by gently rubbing the throat of your dog, the spasms will stop after they swallow a couple of times and that's the end of it. Other dogs respond well by taking them outside for some fresh air. Or you can plug the nose holes forcing the dog to breathe through her mouth and that will usually stop an episode as well.

Reverse sneezing is a harmless condition and medical attention is not necessary. It is important to not confuse reverse sneezing with a collapsing trachea.


SURGICAL ANESTHETIC -- In the event that your toy dog would need surgery or for some other reason need to have anesthetic administered ask if your vet uses isoflurane, or sevoflurane. These are the safest and most often used anesthetic's for the Toy Breeds.
--In case your pup ever swallows broken glass or some other sharp objects you can try the procedure listed here, if you can not get to a vet , providing that you have some 100 % cotton balls, not the "cosmetic puffs" that are made from man-made fibers, and half-and-half or cream.   [ Always consult with your vet if possible first.]

Should your dog eat glass, pour some of the half-and-half in a bowl. Dip cotton balls into the cream and feed them to your dog.
Dogs under 10 lbs should eat 2 balls which you have first torn into smaller pieces. Dogs 10-50 lbs should eat 3-5 balls and larger dogs should eat 5-7. You may feed larger dogs an entire cotton ball at once. Dogs seem to really like these strange "treats" and eat them readily. As the cotton works its way through the digestive tract it will find all the glass pieces and wrap itself around them. Even the teeniest shards of glass will be caught and wrapped in the cotton fibers, and the cotton will protect the intestines from damage by the glass. Your dog's stools will be really weird for a few days and you will have to be careful to check for fresh blood or a tar like appearance to the stool. If either of the latter symptoms appear you should rush your dog to the vet for a checkup but, in most cases, the dogs will be just fine.


How to administer Canine CPR

Plants that are potentially hazardous to your pet


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