Hypothyroidism & Pomeranians

Hypothyroidism & Pomeranians

What Is Hypothyroidism?

pomeranianHypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive; in other words, it’s not producing enough thyroxin (the thyroid hormone). Thyroxin is a vital hormone that assists in almost all metabolic processes in a dog’s body. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is a very common disease among dogs. Pomeranians test results often return as within the average range, but low with the average.

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Chiari Malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) in Pomeranians

Chiari Malformation (CM) and Syringomyelia (SM) in Pomeranians

pomeranianOwners and breeders should be aware of a health problem affecting a small selection of Pomeranians, namely a Chiari-like Malformation. The information supplied here is to help prevent this heartbreaking, debilitating disease to spread through the gene pool of Pomeranians any more than it already has.

UK Pomeranian breeders and owners will find helpful information on the Kennel Club. The Mate Select section of the Kennel Club’s website (in the Health Check section) is where you’ll find information regarding Pomeranians that have been checked. To access the information, you must have the complete, properly registered name of a Pomeranian but anybody can gain access to this database. You can check your Pom’s immediate ancestors and also the names of any stud dogs that may be on a list for consideration. The screened list contains 8 names at present.

Important advice for owners and breeders of Pomeranians:

• If a Pom shows clinical signs of SM, he must be examined by a vet and then referred on to be screened and graded under the KC/BVA scheme.

• If a Pomeranian is graded, breeding must be ruled out completely.

• All close relatives of a Pom that has received any grade except Clear (either for SM or CM) must be screened before breeding can even be considered OR the owner must decide never to breed the dog.

Although it may be viewed as commendable for owners whose dog(s) are NOT affected to still get screened, the Club acknowledges that a member may not be able to (or want to) do so because anesthesia is used (making it a risky procedure) and it’s also expensive to undertake. It’s strongly recommended that you study the information below and, if you own a Pomeranian that displays symptoms, talk to your vet and also suggest that SM and CM be explored as possible diagnoses.

What is Syringomyelia?

pomeranianSyringomyelia (SM) is a very serious health problem where specific cavities inside the spinal cord close to his brain become filled with fluid. The nickname for this illness is “neck scratcher’s disease,” as a typical sign is where a dog scratches in the air close to his neck.

The rear half of a dog’s skull may not be big enough to contain the whole amount of the cerebellum. This may be too big as well, so it tries to squeeze through a hole at the skull’s rear (foramen magnum), and partly blocking the cerebrospinal fluid’s (CSF) normal flow down his spinal cord. This atypical CSF flow creates variable pressure and forms SM cavities (syrinx) in your dog’s spinal cord.

The good news is that SM is rare in the majority of dog breeds. However, it has become a common problem for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and has occurred in a few other breeds, especially in Toy breeds, and a few Pomeranians.

Unfortunately, as has happened in the Cavaliers, the SM/CM spread happens rapidly through a breed’s gene pool. Studies have demonstrated a link between the Chiari-like malformation (CM or CLM), which is also called Occipital Hypoplasia (OH), caudal occipital malformation syndrome (COMS) or Syringomyelia.

The spread and severity of Syringomyelia gets even worse in each new generation. SM/CM is a dog condition that occurs all around the world. It’s not limited by breed line, country or kennel and it’s believed by experts that this is a trait passed down from one generation to the next.

Symptoms.

pomeranianIt’s uncommon to detect SM in new puppies because symptoms are rarely noticed prior to six months and may not happen for a number of years.

Pain is the most significant indicator of this problem. Symptoms can vary enormously but the most common first sign is that a dog will feel hypersensitive in his neck region, making him scratch his shoulders and neck uncontrollably.

The next symptom is severe pain around his neck, head and shoulders, making him scream or yelp. As this awful disease gets worse, it destroys parts of a dog’s spinal cord and becomes so incredibly painful that he may contort his neck and sleep and eat while holding his head high. His legs progressively get weaker so he’ll find it hard to walk. Lots of dogs even get to the point where they’re paralyzed.

What’s next?

If you own one or more Pomeranians and any of them display any of the abovementioned symptoms, talk to your vet and get the recommended health checks done. Nothing is more important than the health of your canine friends.

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Pomeranian Puppy Limping (Juvenile Patella Luxation)

Pomeranian Puppy Limping (Juvenile Patella Luxation)

pomeranian dog
Your Pomeranian puppy
Why is your Pomeranian Puppy Limping ?

Young animals and children can experience growth spurts that may cause lameness and temporary unsoundness. When it comes to Pomeranians, the general age for them to experience this is between 5-18 months. This won’t happen to all Poms, but it’s far from being a strange occurrence.

The time period in which this spontaneous limp may appear often coincides with teething and is usually an indication of being fed an incorrect diet for many months. If the puppy is lacking calcium, please don’t start giving calcium supplements. Instead, look at immediately improving your Pomeranian’s diet by increasing his intake of dairy foods such as puppy milk, cheese and yoghurt.  Sorry the complete article is only available to our Premium members. Please join us now.

We know how much love you have for your dog but never let this stop you from seeking a second opinion and always explore all possible choices before seriously considering surgical intervention. I sincerely hope this information has given you a degree of insight and advice into this complicated health condition. 

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Health Problems and Testing for Pomeranians

Health Problems and Testing for Pomeranians

Health Testing Pomeranians, health testing breeders should do on Pomeranians, pomeranian health testPomeranian Health Problems

Pomeranians are Health Tested for the following:

 Eye Examination by a Ophthalmologist.

Cardiac Evaluation Advanced Cardiac Exam – OR Congenital Cardiac Exam – Recommend followup evaluation between 3 and 5 years of age.  

Patellar Luxation

Hip Dysplasia (Optional)

Legg-Calve-Perthes  

Hypothyroidism

Pomeranian health Test Results should be recorded on the Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC database.

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Liver Shunts Can Occur In Pomeranians

Liver Shunts Can Occur In Pomeranians

pomeranian puppyWhile the puppy develops inside his mother, there is an extremely small chance of a shunt occurring. While a dog is a foetus, he needs assistance from the mother’s liver to help detoxify his systems. Embryos don’t have a functioning liver until near the end of the gestational period. At the start of gestation, a naturally existing liver shunt pushes the blood into his liver and then out again where it heads straight for his heart. So the mother’s body needs to handle the detoxifying process for both herself and her foetus. Ductus venosus is the name of the liver shunt that works while a puppy is still developing inside his mother. Just before puppy is born, this shunt must close so the puppy’s liver will start to work properly on its own. If the shunt doesn’t close off prior to birth, leaving an open shunt, this is known as a patent ductus venosus and the puppy is born with this intra-hepatic liver shunt. This occurs if there’s a genetic anomaly, meaning that the blood gets routed around the liver when it should flow through it. The extra shunt also happens when the pup is growing in utero.

Indicators and symptoms

There are various signs and symptoms that a liver shunt may exist and stops the liver from performing its two main functions: • Distribution of protein to help the pup grow better and possess functional nutritional response. • Proper detoxification of the body. There are two types of symptoms to watch for: pomeranian puppy1. Toxicosis. This can depress the puppy’s central nervous system and cause diarrhoea, vomiting, stupor and lethargy. In the most extreme cases where the detoxification process isn’t occurring and toxins cross the brain-blood barrier, your puppy may experience seizures and various nervous system side effects. 2. Failure to thrive. If this problem happens, your puppy may not grow properly. His muscle tone can be poor; he may remain very small in size; he’ll sleep much more than normal, and he won’t develop as well as other puppies in his litter. Dog breeds that are prone to having an intra hepatic shunt include: Labradors, Samoyeds, Australian cattle dogs, Old English sheepdogs and Australian Shepherds. Small dog breeds more commonly have extra hepatic shunts and these breeds include: the Jack Russell, Lhasa, Poodles, Shih Tzu, Cairn Terrier, Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers.

Using blood tests to detect a liver shunt

Diagnosis a liver shunt in a puppy is extremely hard to do. If he’s born very small, doesn’t put on weight or thrive, and has visible issues with his central nervous system, they’re definite indicators to check. However, in mild cases it may be hard to correctly identify if the shunt isn’t very significant. Certain blood tests can help identify the presence of a shunt. The puppy’s Blood-Urea-Nitrogen (BUN) level may be low (this is a kidney measurement), as can albumin levels (a circulating protein). AST and ALT (liver enzymes) may be higher than normal and they indicate that the liver has been damaged. The main test to determine whether a liver shunt does exist is a test for bile acids. The liver creates these acids and they’re stored inside the gallbladder which then secretes them to enable your pet to properly absorb fat. They’re then absorbed by the small intestine and the back to the liver for recycling. If your Pomeranian’s liver doesn’t have sufficient blood flow to recycle the acids, their value can become very high when blood works are done. Most labs find that the values of the bile acid is lower than 20. You may be able to identify a liver shunt is present in your pet because her bile acids are more than 100. It’s essential that your vet does pre-anaesthetic bloodwork and checks your puppy’s internal organs is because puppies are usually neutered or spayed when they’re six months of age and checking that his organs work properly isn’t necessary for a puppy that young. If your puppy takes twice or three times as long to recover from an anaesthetic, the vet may be surprised, or even shocked, to discover the puppy does have a liver shunt. If his blood isn’t flowing properly, the anaesthetic can’t be dispersed properly because it’s the liver that processes anaesthesia. It’s the worst way to learn of the existent of a shunt. Your Veterinarian should always be proactive and check blood work and organ functions prior to having anaesthesia for the very first time. Your dog’s liver function must be sufficient to cope with anaesthetic at any time.

Extra diagnostic tests

pomeranian puppyOther diagnostic tests are the only way to learn if the puppy has a liver shunt and whether it’s intra (in the liver) or extra-hepatic (outside the liver). These include: CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, portography (testing the liver’s blood flow) and surgical exploration. If you know your puppy’s quality of life is poor, then it’s time to carry out these tests as they can be costly. If your puppy isn’t growing as well as he should, or has signs of central nervous system issues, it’s time to consider what tests to carry out. If his health is deteriorating to the point where he may have to be euthanised, that’s certainly a time to run these tests. Once the vet has got the results of all these tests and knows what the exact problem is, he can evaluate whether surgical intervention is appropriate because this is the best method for treating most liver shunt scenarios. However, if it’s an intra hepatic shunt, it’s harder to fix with surgery, the prognosis isn’t very good and there the risk of other complications occurring after the surgery has been carried out. On the other hand, extra hepatic shunts can be fixed quite easily through surgery. This can prevent further complications and ensure your pet has good quality of life.

Treating a liver shunt in your Pomeranian puppy

If your Pom does have a liver shunt but there are no visible symptoms and it’s only because of blood work that you learn that your pet has a problem, there are various forms of treatment that can be used (other than surgery). There are a number of herbal compounds and neutraceuticals that can help your pet’s body detoxify itself. These include: dandelion, milk thistle, acetyl methionine and SAM-e. You can also use various Chinese herbal remedies and other homeopathic concoctions to help his body become detoxified Look at the food you give your dog and how much nutrients are contained in each different type of food. As carnivores, dogs must be fed protein to live a healthy life. His liver processes protein so if there’s a shunt, he can’t deal with the protein he’s given and his diet needs to be modified so he eats less protein. He can’t be on a NO-protein diet or he may suffer from hypoproteinemia. pomeranian puppyBecause you feed him less protein, the type and quality of protein you do feed him MUST be top quality protein such as human-grade meats. In an ideal world, choose organic, raw meat as the base for his meals. It’s critical that you learn more about what constitutes high and low quality protein and your vet can offer advice in this matter. Many of the commercially available diets for dogs with liver shunts contain a low grade of protein. While it IS rendered, the dog will still have difficulty processing the protein. The perfect diet, if your beloved pet has a liver shunt, is a homemade diet. Then you know exactly what you’re feeding your dog. Talk to a pet nutritionist for expert advice so you’ll know what you can and can’t feed your dog. While food needs to be low in protein, it also has to satisfy his nutritional requirements with regards to vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants. Dogs with shunts are more prone to bladder stones due to a reduction in minerals in their diet. If you can give him sufficient nutrition, you’ll hopefully avoid that problem, as well as any additional stress on his kidneys. Your pet nutritionist will work with you to design a well-rounded diet that has less protein but more of the healthier foods to ensure he lives a long, healthy, happy dog, despite the existence of a liver shunt that prevents his liver from performing at 100% efficiency. Copyright Pomeranian.org. All Rights Reserved.

Worms Can Be A Very Serious Health Issue For Pomeranians

Worms Can Be A Very Serious Health Issue For Pomeranians

There are a number of different worms that can cause health trouble for dogs. It’s essential that you know them all so you can safely protect your beloved Pomeranian.

TAPEWORMS

tapeworm in dogsTapeworms are flat and have parts that spread across your Pom’s body. The head has muscular grooves or suckers that let the worm to connect to the intestines of your canine friend. A mature tapeworm growing in your dog may be up to 50 cms in length. It remains alive because it sucks the nutrients out of your Pom’s through his skin. In puppies, tapeworms can cause anaemia, inhibit growth and cause blockages in the intestines. Sorry the complete article is only available to our Premium members. Please join us now. Copyright Pomeranian.Org. All Rights Reserved.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and the  Pomeranian

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and the Pomeranian

Pomeranian PDAWhat exactly is Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)?

When mammals are born, they need to adapt to a new environment. While still a foetus, they live in amniotic fluid while the mother supplies all the oxygen. When they’re born, the new environment is where they must breathe air and gain enough oxygen through lungs of their own. The PDA is a crucial part of this process. It’s a tiny blood vessel that runs between that pulmonary artery (its function is to supply blood to a new baby’s lungs). It connects to the aorta (thus being channelled to all other body parts). Prior to birth, the majority of blood in the heart uses the ductus arteriosus to bypass the lungs. Shortly before birth, his lungs become much more functional. Once the baby arrives, he no longer gets blood from his mother, he starts to breathe by himself and the amount of blood running through the PDA drops significantly and, after a few days, shuts fully. If it doesn’t shut, the dog has PDA and how much it does or doesn’t affect him can depend on the size of the opening of this ductus.

What Are the Main Dog Breeds That Can Have problems With PDA ? 

This is the number one canine heart defect. Many breeds can potentially face this problem, and it’s more common in female dogs. Dogs that are in the highest risk category for PDA are the: pomeranian, chihuahua, Kerry Blue terrier and Shetland sheepdog. Dogs that are in a higher risk category are the: Irish Setter, collie, Bichon Frise, Keeshond, toy and miniature poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, German Shepherd, English Springer Spaniel, cocker spaniel, Maltese, The frequency or type of inheritance of numerous disorders and breeds of dogs have either been studied with inconclusive results or haven’t been studied at all. The listed breeds are only the dogs where enough practitioners agree that PDA is a significant problem.

What Does PDA Mean For You and Your Pomeranian?

How badly your dog will be affected will depend on how serious the PDA is in each individual case. It may be a tiny blind pocket that comes off the aorta and doesn’t make trouble at all. There can be different amounts of blood flowing through it and that affects how badly the problem becomes.

The most common problem is caused by the left-to-right shunt within the heart. The aorta’s blood is higher pressure than the pulmonary aorta. There may be a larger amount of blood getting into the dog’s lungs, causing a build-up of fluid (known as pulmonary oedema) and the left part of the heart has an overload.

Symptoms may include: weight loss, decreased ability to exercise, coughing and, later on, congestive heart failure. If he doesn’t undergo surgery, it may prove fatal. A less typical issue is the right-to-left shunt. It may exist at birth or it may happen due to the size of the dog’s PDA is so big that lung pressure and also the resistance of said pressure, increases dramatically. This brings the circulation back to what it was prior to birth, when a certain amount of blood from the heart’s right side completely bypasses his lungs. Therefore, his body recirculates blood that’s low in oxygen, causing your pet to be breathless and have weakened rear legs which could cause him to collapse.

How Does a Vet Diagnose Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)?Pomeranian PDA

The first indicator is when the vet can hear a continuous heart murmur while he’s examined prior to being vaccinated. Certain image machines can help diagnose this problem. Your puppy usually won’t have symptoms corresponding to PDA.

Murmur: A continuous “machinery-like” sound that disappears in a right-to-left shunt.

Electrocardiogram: An enlarged left atrium, dilated left ventricle, and hypertrophy (hypertrophy in the right ventricle with a right-to-left shunt).

Radiographs: Over-circulation of the pulmonary artery, enlargement of the left ventricle and atrium, a dilated descending aorta and major pulmonary artery (hypertrophy of the right ventricle with the right-to-left shunt).

Echocardiography: Enlarged left side of the heart and dilated aorta and pulmonary artery (hypertrophy of the right ventricle with the right-to-left shunt). Others: Indicators of heart failure on the left side and pulmonary oedema. In the right-to-left shunt, blood in the lungs and blood (poorly oxygenated) from the dog’s pulmonary artery are mixed in his descending aorta. This can cause weakness in the dog’s hind legs and cyanosis. Unsaturated blood from arteries also ends up in the kidneys, thereby causing polycythaemia, hypoxemia and hyperviscosity, often exceeding 65% PCV.

Treatment Options For a Pomeranian With PDA?

If your dog is under two years old, surgery is almost always recommended if the left-to-right shunt has worked. The vet ties up the PDA and is generally successful. Surgery can be carried out on puppies as young as eight weeks old. It must be done as soon as possible, before the heart works to overcome the defective ductus.

The good news is that a long, healthy life is probable if surgery is conducted early enough. If your dog has heart disease indicators, surgical procedures have bigger risks and the vet will try medication before surgery goes ahead. Medication is used instead of surgery if the shunt runs from right-to-left. Restricted exercise, plenty of rest and avoiding stress are also elements that should be focused on. Your vet will check your dog regularly to see what works well and what doesn’t in his quest to control issues that may happen because of low oxygen blood.

 Breeding with PDA Diagnosed Pomeranians 

A Pomeranian who has been diagnosed with PDA must NOT be used to breed, regardless of whether there has been surgical intervention. 

Always discuss concerns with your vet.

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Does Your Pomeranian Have Bad Breath?

Does Your Pomeranian Have Bad Breath?

Pomeranian Bad BreathEverybody knows what bad breath (a.k.a. halitosis) is as soon as we smell it. It’s caused by the build-up of bacteria in your dog’s gut, lungs or mouth that has an awful smell to it. If this smell persists, it can indicate that you need to get your dog checked out. Maybe his mouth needs dental attention. Perhaps he has a problem in his kidneys, liver or gastrointestinal tract. Whatever the cause, it’s a problem that should be taken seriously. Bad breath can be a sign of many serious health issues and it is always best to have your Pom vet checked.

How can I stop my Pomeranian from having bad breath?

Gum or dental disease is the major cause of canine bad breath. Small dogs such as the Pomeranian are particularly prone to tartar and plaque. However, if the smell persists, he could have more serious problems such as the issues previously mentioned above. How can I find out what is causing my dog’s bad breath? Take your dog to the vet because professional help is needed to correctly diagnose the cause. He may have to do a physical exam and even some lab work. Your Veterinarian will have questions for you with regards to your Pom’s diet, exercise habits, oral hygiene and overall behaviour.

When should you see the vet?

If your dog’s breath suddenly has a smell you don’t recognise, see the vet. Here are some examples of problems that need treating urgently: Fruity or sweet may indicate the presence of diabetes, especially if your dog has also been urinating and drinking a lot more than normal. “Urine breath” may indicate a kidney problem. A very foul smell as well as poor appetite, vomiting or a yellowish tinge to his gums or corneas can be signs of liver problems.

What’s the treatment for a Pomeranian’s Bad breath?

The treatment will depend on what the vet thinks the cause is. If it’s plaque, he may need his teeth professionally cleaned. If it’s a dietary issue, you may have to change some of his food. If it’s an issue with liver, kidneys, lungs or the gastrointestinal region, you’ll need to discuss the specifics with the vet.

How Can I Stop my Pomeranian getting Bad Breath?

Lots of people assume that dogs have bad breath when they’re at a particular age. This isn’t actually true. You need to be proactive in the oral hygiene area of your dog to help prevent problems as he grows older. Get him regularly checked by the vet to avoid problems before they become serious. Ensure your vet checks and track’s your pet’s breath and teeth regularly. Primarily feed your Pomeranian home cooked food,  meat from your butcher and a small amount of premium dog dry food. Canned dog food, some commercially-prepared “treats” and poor quality dog food cause unnecessary tooth decay.

Healthy treats would include home-made doggie treats. Boiled beef heart or liver, cut into small pieces and put in the freezer with zip lock bags is a tasty and healthy home-made treat. This treat will last frozen for a couple of months. Another safe treat is small cheese pieces. The Healthy Home cooking for your Pomeranian Booklet contains recipes for healthy dog food and treats.

Brush your dog’s teeth daily if possible. Use a canine toothpaste because human toothpaste may cause an upset stomach. Give puppies toys to chew on as early as you can. This helps clean their teeth. Make sure toys don’t have pieces that can be choked on or chewed off. Give your Pom marrow bones regularly. (Beef femur that’s cut into one inch slices by the butcher). Ensure there aren’t any sharp edges. If you are worried about hygiene, boil the bone quickly to kill germs. You can give your pet other toys, pig ears, rawhide chews and hooves.

For your Pomeranian’s safety, avoid all imported treats.

Get recommendations from your vet for safe oral health products you can use. If your pet’s gut isn’t healthy, his breath may be bad too. In a healthy animal, an intestinal balance is achieved because the pathogenic microorganisms are outnumbered by the beneficial microorganisms. Diseases, chronic stress and antibiotics can kill the beneficials and let the pathogenics multiply wildly. That’s when foul-smelling waste is created and the bad breath occurs as a result. Apart from good oral hygiene, your pet needs probiotic  supplements, green supplements (e.g. spirulina) and digestive enzymes to make his breath smell better. Always seek your vet’s advice if problems don’t settle down.

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