7 Illnesses Small Dogs Are Predisposed To

If you have any experience keeping dogs, you will know by now that they are prone to different kinds of diseases and might fall sick too. Different dog breeds have different sicknesses that they are predisposed to. Knowing the type of illness that affects your dog and the symptoms of these sicknesses that you are to look out for makes it easy for you to take care of the dog and get them back on their feet when they are down.

The thing with dog diseases is that it affects the dog across all ages. It's not just the old ones or the young ones that are prone. It's all of them. Also, they may catch these diseases from anywhere. That is why you have to watch your dog carefully and be quick to call a vet if you notice any illness signs in them.

Different breeds of dogs with their different sizes have different sicknesses or diseases that they are predisposed to. If you have a small dog, here are seven common illnesses that you should look out for.

Wobbly Kneecap

This is also called patellar luxation and is very common in Shih Tzus and some other toy breeds. When a dog has a wobbly kneecap, the kneecap pops out of its position occasionally, and this might cause the dog to limp, skip a step, or hobble.

In many cases, the kneecap will usually pop back into position on its own. However, if the condition is severe in a dog, they may require surgery so that the problem can be corrected, preventing it from causing arthritis in the dog.

Canine distemper

This is also known as hard pad disease as it causes the dog’s footpads and nose to harden. It is a viral disease that is very contagious and can be transmitted through shared materials like food bowls or by airborne exposure. While all dogs can be affected by this disease, it mostly affects puppies and other dogs susceptible to airborne diseases.

If you notice canine distemper symptoms in your dogs, such as paralysis, fever, coughing, running eyes, and vomiting, you should take them to a vet. Most of the time, this illness is fatal, even though vets prevent secondary infections and provide supportive care. So, it is best to prevent your dog from having distemper by keeping them away from sick pups and through vaccination.

Ear infections

According to one author from write my term paper, dogs with furry and floppy ears such as the Cocker Spaniel are very susceptible to developing ear infections. Cleaning the dog’s ears regularly within a few weeks intervals and occasionally flipping the ears back a little to give them more room is the best thing to prevent the dog from developing an ear infection. You can also keep the canals of the ear dry by carefully trimming any hair that grows under the ears. If you are able to minimize ear infections from frequently occurring in these dogs, then you may have prevented a bigger problem in the future.

Canine parvovirus

This is called parvo for short and is a very contagious virus that spreads to dogs that contact or are looking to feast on another dog’s feces that has been infected already. The problem in dealing with parvo is that once it gets into the dog’s system, it starts to attack the dog’s internal organs, and at that point, it is more difficult to kill the virus.

Treatment of parvo includes giving the dog fluids and electrolytes and trying to prevent secondary infections, but it is fatal most of the time. You can ensure that the dog is safe by vaccinating the dog and making sure they don’t contact any form of feces.

Portosystemic shunt (PSS)

Portosystemic shunt is a congenital disability that affects the blood vessel and is found commonly in small dog breeds such as the Yorkshire terrier. The portal vein in a dog is meant to carry toxic substances to the liver, from the intestines, and thus cleanses the blood. However, if a dog has PSS, the portal vein does not take the blood through the liver, and this means that the toxic substances in it are not removed.

PSS in dogs can result in poor growth, seizures, confusion, and vomiting. Treatment of PSS often involves surgery, mostly for the dog to continue living its healthy normal life.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease in dogs can result from a bacterium associated with tick bites (mostly deer ticks). Once this gets to the bloodstream, it moves towards the joints and makes the dog feel joint pain. If it isn’t treated early enough, it can be fatal. Common symptoms of this disease are fever, pain, limping, and loss of appetite.

Treatment of Lyme disease involves giving the dog some antibiotics. It can also be prevented by vaccinating the dog and physically checking the body for any sign of ticks after they have been exposed outdoors.

Kennel cough

This is a respiratory infection that is highly contagious and s irritation and inflammation of the airways. It is referred to as kennel cough because of its ability to spread quickly among animals near one another like dog parks, shelters, doggy daycare, and boarding kennels. If a dog directly contacts another infected one by sharing properties or coughing, they also get infected. Although all dogs can be infected, unvaccinated dogs, puppies, and old dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to this disease. 
Vets prescribe antibiotics to treat kennel cough alongside cough suppressants, and the dog needs to rest. Once the dog becomes lethargic or listless, take them to the vet again to ensure they haven’t got pneumonia. However, you can prevent them from getting this disease by vaccinating the dog and separating it from other sick dogs.


These are some of the common diseases that affect dogs, especially small dogs. You must know them, so you know what to do if your dog gets sick or infected. However, you can prevent your dog from contracting most of these diseases by ensuring they are vaccinated.

Author Bio Jessica Chapman is a writing editor at assignment help from Chicago. She is into sport and politics, enjoys traveling. Find her on Facebook.

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