As a dog owner, nothing breaks your heart more than seeing your adorable Yorkie falling ill.
The pain and discomfort can be quite obvious from their personality shifts. They don’t play as much, they don’t enjoy treats anymore, and they generally just don’t seem energetic or bubbly.
So what are common health problems in Yorkies? Yorkshire Terriers are prone to a number of genetic diseases and health problems. These include:
- Periodontal Disease (Dental)
- Distichiasis (Eye)
- Hypoplasia (Joints)
- Luxating Patellas (Joints)
- Legg–Calvé–Perthes Syndrome (Joints)
- Tracheal Collapse (Breathing)
- Portosystemic Shunt (Liver)
From this list, one thing is clear: a lot could go wrong with the health of your beloved furry little bestie. Some of these problems are hard to predict and prevent. Others are simple injuries and infections which, with care, you can definitely avoid.
To help you out in the journey of raising a healthy Yorkie, let us look at some of these health problems so you understand what you are dealing with.
You will also learn what you can do to help reduce your doggy’s risk of getting sick or, at the very least, help them get through the hard times if they already are.
What Are Common Health Problems In Yorkies?
Yorkies, as earlier stated, are generally very prone to health problems. Most of these problems are related to genetics, nutrition, and age. However, trauma also plays a huge role, as the little doggies get injured easily.
There are several genetic conditions that affect Yorkies, with some being more serious than others. Here is a list of the most common ones and what they cause in the little pooch.
Periodontal Disease (Dental)
A common one here is the retention of milk teeth which exposes the dog to an increased risk of dental infections, in addition to causing dental pain.
Portosystemic Shunt Of The Liver
This is a disease of blood vessels that tampers with liver function by causing blood toxins and nutrient-rich blood to reach the liver.
This is the sprouting of eyelashes from the wrong position on the eyelids. It often causes irritation of the eye and may eventually lead to ulceration of the cornea.
Yorkies also suffer from several skeletal disorders, including skeletal hypoplasia, luxating patellas collapsing of tracheal rings, and Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, which affects the femur head.
For the most part, these skeletal issues are either genetic or spontaneous. However, they can be a result of trauma, in which case traffic accidents and at-home falls are the most typical causes of injury in Yorkies.
Finally, you have to look out for malnutrition disorders when raising a Yorkie. These include both undernutrition and overweight states, including obesity. The best way out of this is through good nutrition, in which case Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Small Bites is a winner for Yorkie. In addition to being rich in healthy nutrients and low in fats, it contains compounds like EPA and chondroitin, which help with joint and bone health. Call that a win-win!
- A small kibble food shown to support hip & joint health from day 1
- Promotes mobility and joint health in small-breed dogs with EPA from fish oil
- Supports an adult dog's joint health with natural sources of glucosamine & chondroitin
Despite all these health problems, the life expectancy of a Yorkie is quite impressive. In fact, they can live between 13 and 16 years, which makes the Yorkie’s lifespan one of the longest in dogs.
Vulnerability Of Yorkies – Do Yorkies Get Sick Easily?
Clearly, Yorkies have a lot to deal with when it comes to their health. This can be explained by several factors that make the Yorkshire Terrier breed particularly susceptible to illness. Understanding these will give you a better perspective on what makes them vulnerable so that it is easier for you to protect your furry bestie when and where you can.
They Will Eat Just About Anything
Yorkies have very adventurous palates, and this sometimes gets them into trouble. They may encounter potentially poisonous food or objects that result in food intolerance and other serious complications like kidney disease from foods like grapes.
Yorkies are vulnerable to a host of diseases and anomalies based on their genetic makeup alone. They range from simple inconveniences to life-threatening conditions. At this point in time, there is not much that can be done to accurately predict or effectively prevent these conditions.
They Play Too Much
Yorkies love to play, whether it is running about indoors or chasing balls outside. This, however, puts them at risk for trauma if it is a fall down the stairs or getting run over in the street. It also doesn’t help that they are small and fragile, which makes these injuries even more serious than they would be with other dog breeds.
Thick Coats Hide A Lot
These pooches have long and beautiful fur. However, this is not always a good thing. The coats hide all manner of nastiness, from dead skin and dirt to parasites, including fleas. It is for this reason that Yorkies tend to suffer from various skin problems. Fortunately, it is nothing good grooming practices cannot prevent and fix.
Health Problems Grow With Age – Older Yorkie Health Problems
As Yorkies grow older, they inevitably grow weaker in every sense of the word. This deterioration affects everything from physical strength to immunity. The result is an overall worsening of health problems as well as the appearance of new age-related ones.
The bones and joints are usually the first to go south with Yorkies. Their short build and the generally weaker skeletal system just make things worse. Yorkies mainly suffer from back leg problems, such as hip deterioration and Legg-Perthes disease. Yorkie front leg problems, on the other hand, are often trauma related.
To help mitigate these problems, you could invest in bone and joint-friendly supplements like the Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for dogs. The chicken-flavored chewables contain glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and CoQ10, which help promote skeletal health.
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Respiratory deterioration is another common set of problems with older Yorkies. This comes in different forms, including lung fibrosis, collapsing tracheal rings, and pneumonia.
Finally, cancers in Yorkies tend to occur mainly as they get older. The most common are blood cancers and tumors in the gut or reproductive system. Fortunately for the little pooch, there are a few ways of increasing their survival odds. Spaying, for example, helps reduce the risk of reproductive system cancers. With the rest, your best hope is early detection through regular vet visits.
Clearly, older Yorkies have it really rough when it comes to health. One of the best things you can do for your furry bestie in this stage of their life is to ensure that they have proper nutrition. Eukanuba Senior Dry Dog Food is a fantastic option here. In addition to having a healthy balance of essential nutrients, it contains compounds like glucosamine for joint health and DHA for optimum brain function.
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Yorkie’s Breathing Problems
These dogs are known for having several breathing problems. Whether it is heavy or noisy breathing, it is never a good sign when your Yorkie starts to breathe weirdly. This can happen for a number of reasons.
The first group of suspects is infections and inflammation of the airways. This includes pneumonia, bronchitis, and reactive diseases like asthma. They cause inflammation that narrows the airways leading to difficulties in breathing. You may notice your dog gets short of breath very easily and may even struggle to do so while resting.
Fibrosis of the lungs is another possible reason why your Yorkie may be breathing all so weirdly. It is associated with age and is basically where the lungs begin to harden. This limits their capacity to expand, and your dog, therefore, has a tough time breathing which usually manifests as constant panting.
Collapsing of tracheal rings is a common problem with Yorkie. It is a spontaneous condition with genetic ties that mainly affects older pooches. It has a very characteristic honking cough, as the loss of patency essentially blocks the upper airways. It is a severe condition that needs immediate professional care and may even necessitate surgery.
Finally, the weird breathing could be a result of anxiety. Yorkies are angsty little fellas who are very prone to anxiety. Whether it is fear of separation or due to getting startled, the psychological state could trigger attacks with breathing difficulty.
Pet Wellbeing Lung Gold For Dogs is a fantastic product to check out if you are dealing with weird breathing. It opens up the airways and allows your pooch to breathe clearly and freely again. It is particularly awesome for dealing with asthma and respiratory infections.
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Do Yorkies Have Digestive Problems?
Yorkies have notoriously sensitive digestive tracts. This is wildly ironic, considering how fond they are of foraging through trash and eating just about anything they can come by.
Their digestive system problems, however, go far beyond diarrhea or some vomiting from eating spoilt leftovers or inedible stuff they found in the trash. Fortunately, with foods like Zesty Paws Probiotic Dental Sticks for dogs, you do not have to worry about this kind of poisoning and trouble. The probiotics, in particular, help promote gut flora for overall digestive health.
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Food allergies are among the most common causes of digestive problems with this breed. They cause a variety of reactions ranging from mild abdominal discomfort to serious vomiting, diarrhea, and other systemic manifestations.
Some common allergies with Yorkies include:
- Wheat and grain
- Meat by-products
Food allergies are common, but not all Yorkies suffer from them. Food intolerance, on the other hand, cuts across them all. This is a group of reactions that could either be mild or fatal that result from the consumption of certain foods. The best-known food intolerance with these doggies is grapes and raisins, and it can cause kidney failure. Others include chocolate, raw or undercooked meat, onions, garlic, chocolate, and so much more.
Some digestive problems that Yorkies suffer are not related to the chemical nature of the food but to the physical state. They have very weak jaws and teeth and, as a result, do not do justice to hard foods like bones. Swallowing these could cause trauma along the digestive tract.
What Can I Give My Yorkie For An Upset Stomach? If your Yorkie is suffering from digestive problems, the best thing to do is to avoid any heavy meals. In fact, consider changing the dog food to something lighter and taste blander. In the meantime, you can give them something to relieve the discomfort, which drugs like Pepto-Bismol can help out.
Why Do Yorkies Get Eye Boogers? Boogers and eye discharge in Yorkies may be normal as it is the eyes’ way of cleaning themselves. However, if it is in excess, then it could be a sign of prolonged eye irritation, as is the case with conditions like distichiasis. It could also be irritation from long and poorly groomed fur.
What Do Yorkies Usually Die From? Yorkies often die from diseases of old age. These include cancer, lung fibrosis, and pneumonia. It could also be a result of complications of long-standing genetic conditions. Finally, trauma is a major cause of death for small and fragile little dogs, with car-related incidents being the main culprit.