Yorkshire terriers, or Yorkies, make lovely family pets. They tend to be energetic and friendly. However, like all dog breeds, there are some health problems that they are prone to. There's no guarantee that your Yorkie will develop any of these issues, but to be sure, you'll want to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of them as your dog ages:
A number of heart diseases are common in Yorkshire terriers. They may have valve diseases, which affect the way blood travels through the heart, or they may develop clogged arteries, which eventually lead to a heart attack. Signs that your dog may have a heart-related condition include:
Shortness of breath after small amounts of activity
Not wanting to engage in vigorous activity like climbing stairs
Seeming overly lethargic, rather than energetic as is typical for Yorkies
If you suspect that your Yorkie may have heart trouble, your vet can conduct a series of tests including x-rays and blood tests at your local animal hospital. Valve disorders may require surgery, but most conditions can be managed with medications to keep blood pressure and heart rates under control.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that becomes increasingly common as Yorkies age. The symptoms are very hard to miss. The dog may suddenly begin having convulsions, or in some cases, they may pass out suddenly. If you suspect the dog has epilepsy, it's essential that you take him to the vet immediately. Seizures can result in injuries and brain damage, so your vet will prescribe medications to reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures. Be careful not to get too close to your dog if he does have a seizure; most dogs become dissociated and may lash out and bite you unknowingly.
All breeds of dogs can develop cataracts, but they are somewhat more common on Yorkshire Terriers than in other breeds. The first symptom of cataracts, as observed by the dog's owner, is typically a cloudiness of the lens of the eye. This cloudiness progressively gets worse, leading to blurriness of the dog's visual field.
Though cataracts can be surgically removed in dogs, this surgery is risky and expensive, so most owners opt to make their dogs as comfortable as possible without the surgery. Cataracts do not cause any pain. You can make life easier for a dog with failing vision by keeping everything on one floor, keeping furniture in one place, and always accompanying them outdoors.
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