Most common health problems in Cairn Terriers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Cairn Terrier

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Cairn Terrier, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Cairn Terrier already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Cairn Terrier dog breed

Cairn Terrier Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Cairn Terrier health problems

Chronic allergies (causing terribly itchy skin) are common in all terrier breeds.

Bone and joint diseases are a problem in Cairn Terriers, which cause pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery. First there's luxating patella (loose knee joints), but also hip dysplasia and another degenerative hip disease called Legg-Calve-Perthes. Young Cairns can suffer from craniomandibular osteopathy (excessive bone growth on their jawbone).

Several hereditary eye diseases occur in Cairns, the most common being cataracts, which can progress to blindness.

There are quite a few other diseases to be concerned about in Cairn Terriers, including epilepsy, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease....

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Cairn Terrier have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, luxating patella, and heart disease, your Cairn Terrier has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Cairn Terrier, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Cairn Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Cairn Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Cairn Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Cairn Terrier
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Cairn Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Cairn Terrier
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Cairn Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Cairn Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult Cairn Terrier need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Cairn Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Cairn Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Cairn Terrier health problems

Allergies (causing itchy skin and often leading to bacterial skin infections called pyoderma) are common in all terriers.

Bone and joint diseases are a problem in Cairn Terriers, especially luxating patella (loose knee joints). Other orthopedic diseases occurring in Cairns are craniomandibular osteopathy (excessive bone growth on the jawbone) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a serious degenerative hip disease. Even hip dysplasia occurs in Cairns. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 100 Cairn Terriers and found 10% dysplastic. Too high.

The most common eye disease is cataracts. When cataracts appear before 2 years old, they often progress to blindness. Another eye concern in the Cairn Terrier is lens luxation leading to secondary glaucoma. Occasionally, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) has been reported in Cairns.

Ocular melanosis (pigmentary glaucoma) is an eye disease that occurs ONLY in Cairn Terriers. Appearing at 8-12 years old, pigment granules form in the whites of the eye, making it harder for fluid to drain out, which leads to elevated fluid pressure (glaucoma) in the eye. Older Cairns should be checked yearly for pigment changes in their eyes.

Lysosomal storage disease (specifically, globoid cell leukodystrophy) is a degenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord. It appears at 2-6 months old and is rapidly progressive, with death usually occurring prior to a year old. Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for GCL so you can find out at any time whether your Cairn Terrier has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease where your Cairn's lungs become chronically inflamed and scarred to the point where he has a very hard time breathing. It appears around 9 years old and the prognosis is very poor.

There are quite a few other diseases to be concerned about in Cairn Terriers, most of them serious. These include epilepsy, heart disease (mitral valve disease), blood-clotting diseases (von Willebrand's and hemophilia B), kidney disease (polycystic kidneys), liver shunt, pyruvate kinase deficiency, cerebellar ataxia, hypothyroidism, and hernias.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.