The Shih Tzu is a popular dog breed for people who are looking for companions. It is not a fierce breed and is known for being outgoing, happy, and affectionate. This makes it a great choice for those who are looking for a housedog. However, like all other dog breeds there are certain health problems or common ailments that can arise in your Shih Tzu that you should be aware of.
Shih Tzu health problems
This dog breed has a short but big face with bulging eyes. It usually suffers from a variety of eye issues. Eye infections are common because of its shallow sockets and large eyes that make it easy for foreign materials from the surroundings to get in, causing inflammation.
The Shih Tzu is also prone to corneal ulcers because of its bulging eyes. This eye problem can occur when the dog rubs its eyes using its paws. Foreign objects that scratch the eye can also lead to this ailment.
Another eye concern is cataracts. This dog breed is susceptible to vision loss if the condition affects one of the eyes. In situations where both eyes have cataracts, the dog may go blind.
The Shih Tzu can also suffer from entropion. This is an eye condition where one or both eyelids turn inwards, leading to eyeball irritation by the eyelashes.
The short face on the Shih Tzu is also blamed for some of its breathing respiratory problems. This dog breed usually finds it difficult to breathe when temperatures and humidity increases. A Shih Tzu can collapse on those very hot days. They are also more likely to suffer from heatstroke.
The dog is also prone to wheezing that occurs when nasal secretions fall on its soft palate, obstructing the windpipe.
Teething is often a difficult phase among Shih Tzu dogs, leading to swollen gums that are directly under the nose. This can make it difficult for the dog to breath, leading to wheezing, snoring, snuffling, and snorting. The dog may even have some nasal drainage during the teething period, making breathing even more challenging.
Shih Tzu owners also need to be aware of heart disease that this dog is known for. One of the most common conditions is chronic valvular heart disease. This condition is usually characterized by thickening and degeneration of the dog’s heart valves.
This dog breed can also suffer from ventricular septal defect, a form of congenital defect that affects the heart’s ventricular septum.
The Shih Tzus back is quite long and this may explain its susceptibility to neck and back problems. One of the most common issues is Intervertebral disk disease. Intervertebral disks are designed to protect the spine from pressure but they can rupture or bulge, leading to nerve problems and severe pain. This can cause paralysis if you do not get prompt treatment for your dog.
In spite of its increased risk of developing, back, heart, breathing, and eye problems, the Shih Tzu can live for many years when it gets regular medical attention.