Yorkies are fun and adorable, making them a great addition to the family. Unfortunately, as a mom to three Yorkies, I have experienced several Yorkie health problems over the years. Here are some of the most common health issues among Yorkshire Terriers and what signs you need to be aware of:
Periodontal Disease in Yorkies
Dental issues are prevalent in Yorkshire Terriers and go beyond bad breath! Since Yorkies tend to be tiny, their mouths are small, which causes their teeth to become overcrowded. In addition, the small size of a Yorkie’s head, mouth, and jaw make them more prone to dental disease. As a result of their tiny mouths, many Yorkshire Terriers experience a severe buildup of plaque that leads to tooth decay and dental disease. Periodontal disease can also lead to disease that can spread throughout your dog’s body. Therefore, regular dental cleanings are vital to keeping your dog’s teeth healthy.
Even with proper dental care, your Yorkie may require tooth extractions. My Yorkie had fourteen pulled over two years. Luckily, he never had any issues eating and was extremely healthy afterward. In between veterinary dental cleanings, brush your dog’s teeth daily. Regular brushing can lessen plaque buildup and avoid gum disease.
Signs of periodontal disease:
- Chronic halitosis or terrible breath
- Loose teeth
- Swollen, inflamed, or red gums
- Dog does not like having their face touched
- Possible aggression when their mouth is touched
- Difficulty eating or chewing (may only chew on one side of their mouth)
Patella luxations occur when the kneecap slides in and out of place on a dog’s leg. Patella luxations are common among Yorkshire Terriers and often happen with the kneecap shifting side-to-side towards the inside of a dog’s body. There are varying degrees of patella luxation. Your Yorkie can wear a stifle brace to support the kneecap, help stabilize the knee joint and keep the kneecap in alignment.
Yorkshire Terrier Vision Loss and Retinal Dysplasia
Every Yorkie parent should know the risks of vision problems their dog may experience. One of my Yorkies became diabetic at age eight. Within a few months, he developed diabetic cataracts and went blind seemingly overnight. We were lucky, and cataract surgery resolved his vision loss, but we were completely unaware of the signs he was going blind. Here’s what you should look for:
- Bumping into walls or furniture
- Sleeping more frequently and playing less
- May be unwilling to move from a safe spot
- Sticking close to your side (more than usual)
- Digging at eyes and face
- Visible changes to the eye, such as cloudiness or inflammation
Retinal Dysplasia in dogs is when a dog’s retina develops incorrectly. This condition leads to malformations of the retina, such as folds or even lesions. RD is most often an inherited condition. However, infections and even exposure to toxins can lead to Retinal Dysplasia. Luckily, most Yorkshire Terriers experience mild forms of the disease as it can lead to blindness in the most severe cases.
Collapsed Trachea in Yorkies
A collapsed trachea can happen with many small breeds but is incredibly common in Yorkshire Terriers. Dogs with a collapsed trachea will cough often, and it’s a distinct cough that sounds like a honk. The cough may become more pronounced after playing, being active, eating, or drinking. There can also be breathing problems, gasping, and even fainting. These symptoms will vary depending on how obstructed the airway is. Dogs that struggle to breath have bluish gums, or faint need to be treated immediately. Although there is no cure for a collapsed trachea, there are many ways your veterinarian can help your Yorkie.