Miniature Schnauzer Health Problems and Raising a Miniature Schnauzer Puppy to be Healthy
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
The most common health problems in Miniature Schnauzers:
Let's start with eye diseases, the most serious of which are severe cataracts (appearing anytime between birth and 6 years old and usually leading to complete blindness) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (appearing around 3 years old and always leading to complete blindness). A simple DNA test is available for PRA in Miniature Schnauzers, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.
Other eye diseases in Miniature Schnauzers include retinal dysplasia, lens luxation, and glaucoma.
Urinary stones are more common in Miniature Schnauzers than any other breed. Stones are especially dangerous in males, because their narrow urethra is easily blocked, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Two digestive system diseases, pancreatitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, are also more common in Miniature Schnauzers than in virtually any other breed.
An inherited lipid metabolism disorder predisposes some Mini Schnauzers to dangerous elevations in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. The result is intermittent abdominal distress and vomiting, and eventually liver enlargement and progressive liver dysfunction. A homemade low-fat diet is a must for affected dogs, along with Omega-3 fatty acids.
Liver shunt is a real concern in the breed, along with heart disease (especially pulmonic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus) and epilepsy.
Diabetes, hypothyroidism, megaesophagus, and kidney disease all occur in Miniature Schnauzers.
Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), non-tumorous growths, and tumors (especially sebaceous gland tumors).
A mild inherited skin disorder in Miniature Schnauzers is comedo syndrome, in which black crusty "bumps" form along the back, sometimes accompanied by patches of hair loss. Comedo (KOM-a-doe) is Latin and refers to blackheads, which are plugs of keratin and sebum that block the hair follicles. You may also see this spelled comedone (KOM-a-DOE-nee), which is simply the plural of comedo. Calendula, aloe vera, or vitamin E oil are soothing.
The most common orthopedic diseases are luxating patella (loose knees) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Hip dysplasia occurs, as well, though few Miniature Schnauzer breeders are testing their dogs, so we don't know how widespread the problem really is in the breed.
Blood-clotting diseases in Miniature Schnauzers include von Willebrand's, hemophilia A, and thrombocytopenia.
Myotonia is an inherited muscle disease in Miniature Schnauzers. Myotonic puppies have prominent, hyper-reactive muscles. They move with a stiff gait and have difficulty swallowing due to the exaggerated size and mobility of the tongue. There is no cure and affected dogs will never be able to exercise or eat normally. Approximately 2% of the breed is affected, and another 20% are carriers. Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for myotonia, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.
Other health issues occasionally reported in Miniature Schnauzers include autoimmune hemolytic anemia and lysosomal storage disease (neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis).
Cancer occurs in Miniature Schnauzers, although some individuals diagnosed with lymphoma may actually be suffering from mycobacterium avium infection (a form of tuberculosis). Affected Miniature Schnauzers have defective genes that cannot fight off this particular organism. Long-term antibiotics can send it into remission, but cannot cure it.
Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Miniature Schnauzer?
Yes, often you can.
- Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Miniature Schnauzers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Miniature Schnauzer puppy who is genetically healthy.
- 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 Miniature Schnauzer puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Miniature Schnauzer puppy or adult dog:
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Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
Copyright © 2000-2013 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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