Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Cairn Terrier puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Cairn Terriers, the best dog food diet for feeding Cairn Terrier puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Cairn Terrier dog breed

Cairn Terrier Health Problems and Raising a Cairn Terrier Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Cairn Terriers:

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

The most common orthopedic disease in Cairn Terriers is luxating patella (loose knees). Other orthopedic diseases occurring in Cairns are craniomandibular osteopathy and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Even hip dysplasia occurs in Cairns. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 64 Cairn Terriers and found 6% dysplastic. Compare that to Australian Terriers with a 2% rate.

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.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Cairn Terrier?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Cairn Terriers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Cairn Terrier puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Cairn Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

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

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


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
The best diet for feeding your Cairn Terrier is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" 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 many vets aren't telling you.


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.


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


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