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Caring For your Pomeranian

Pomeranian Health Issues

This dog breed is a sturdy little dog that suffers from very few health problems. Pomeranians health problems explained.

Pomeranian Patella Luxation

The most common health problem that can affect the Pomeranian, as in many of the “toy” breeds is patella luxation, or slipping kneecaps. Environment as well as genetic influences play a big part in the health of your Pomeranian. Correct Diet and Medication may improve this health issue. Pomeranian puppy knee problems sometimes resolve themselves with correct diet and exercise.

If the problem is severe, surgery may be your only option. The best person to talk to is your Veterinarian. Feeding your puppy a balanced diet may help prevent many health problems later in life.

Take care of your Pomeranian by keeping him or her trim and fit and never allow a young puppy to jump down from steps, beds or furniture. Pomeranians with a patella grading over 2 should be removed from any .

Pomeranian Breathing Problems

Pomeranian Collapsed Trachea

Pomeranians who make honking noises or cough-like sounds (much like a cat regurgitating a hairball) may have collapsed tracheas. An x-ray can diagnose the issue.

Collapsed Trachea in Pomeranians Treatment

Medication can reduce the symptoms. Severe cases may require surgical treatment. 

Pomeranian trachea problems can be deadly and immediate veterinarian treatment is required.

Pomeranian Wheezing Gagging?

Pomeranian coughing ?Any Pomeranian breathing issues such as coughing should be investigated.  and it could also indicate worms, heart disease or hairballs. Pomeranian puppies have been known to die from hairballs. Fur can be ingested by the puppy while sucking the mother.

Pomeranian Hair Loss

This problem is often referred to as Black skin disease, BSD,  or Alopecia X. An accurate diagnosis is often a very long, inconclusive and expensive exercise.

Many Pomeranian skin conditions can be the cause of the problem, such as Hypothyroidism or low thyroid, Cushing’s disease, eczema, mites, fungus infections and allergies.

Talk to the breeder of your Pomeranian for guidance with this problem and also ask your veterinarian for help to diagnose the cause and suggest suitable Pomeranian black skin disease treatment. More information in coat loss in Pomeranians.

Hypothyroidism in Pomeranians

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism 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, including the Pomeranian.

Prospective Pom puppy owners may request thyroid test results for the parents of the puppy they are contemplating purchasing. Pomeranians test results often return as within the average range, but low with the average.

Pomeranian Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

  • Constipation.
  • Dry skin.
  • Weight gain.
  • Infertility.
  • Feeling colder than normal.
  • Depression.
  • Low energy.
  • Dry thinning hair and loss of hair.
  • Thickening of the skin Hyper-pigmentation (darkening) of skin color.
  • Skin bacterial infections.

Potential Causes of Hypothyroidism :

  • Severe stress or trauma to your dog’s system (especially when he’s a puppy).
  • Insufficient iodine in his diet. A vitamin E and kelp supplement can usually fix this issue. Vitamin E aids in the body’s proper use of iodine.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis. His autoimmune system may attack his thyroid without an obvious reason. Place your dog on a hypo-allergenic diet comprised of rice-based food, premium lamb and Ultra Omega-Linic (containing vitamin E, salmon and blackcurrant oils and spirulina). This mix will generally help to relieve the problem.
    • Your vet might also tell you to give your dog thyroid medication.
  • Nutritional deficiencies (particularly zinc). Feed your pet premium quality food and a suitable multi vitamin & mineral supplement as often as your vet recommends.
  • Insufficient light. Don’t allow your dog to spend too much time in the dark and don’t turn off your lights too early when evening approaches. Each day, you should take your dog for a walk for exercise and so he gets exposed to natural sunlight.
  • Idiopathic atrophy. Your dog’s thyroid degenerates for no apparent reason.
  • Some medications that are used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism may actually cause the problem to occur.

Hypothyroidism in Pomeranians Diagnosis and Treatment:

Hypothyroidism in Pomeranians
Hyperthyroidism in Pomeranians

Your vet will need to do blood tests and a full examination before he can diagnose hyperthyroidism because some of the relevant symptoms can be caused by numerous other canine diseases. If the diagnosis IS hyperthyroidism, your vet will probably prescribe thyroxin.

The thyroid gland can be stimulated by ginger root and zinc. Daylight exposure, exercise and a suitable diet will also help him.

Follow the advice of your vet and you can try this treatment before you use thyroxin:

  • Rice-based food and premium lamb.
  • Half a multi vitamin/mineral Pet Tabs Plus supplement every day.
  • 1 x 200 mg capsule of 4:1 ratio ginger concentrate extract each morning and evening. To help your dog consume it, you can wrap it in a small amount of meat or a tinned food. You may also open the capsule and sprinkle the contents over his food. Then the taste is masked.
  • 1 “green” supplement. This might be a Phyto-Derm or spirulina capsule or spirulina powder. As above, you can mask the taste so your dog gets what he needs with no fuss. Make sure he’s big enough to swallow such things.
  • One Ultra Omega-Linic soft gel (containing black currant and salmon oils) (Salmon, Black Currant Oil) each morning and evening. The majority of dogs will consume the gel on its own. If not, prick it and squeeze its contents onto your dog’s food.
  • At least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
  • Exposure to light for 12 hours each day. Make it natural light as much as you can.

After years of testing the thyroid levels of many Pomeranians I have found that low within the normal seems correct for most Pomeranians.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has a registry on canines health tests. For further details go to the OFA website and check out the testing available for Pomeranian thyroid issues.

Heart Problems

Pomeranians can experience heart problems. Issues ranging from extremely minor to life-threatening are common in all dogs. Like humans, heart disease in dogs is associated with genetic factors and poor lifestyle which includes poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise.

Again, any reputable Pomeranian breeder should have a plethora of information on a puppy’s lineage to help determine if heart issues run in the family. Click here for more information on Pomeranian Heart Issues.

Entropian or inward rolling of the eyelid

This causes the eyelashes to rub on the surface of the eye. Pomeranians with entropion show discomfort by squinting and may be sensitive to sunlight. Surgery can easily correct entropian. Surgery is best left until the Pomeranian is over 12 months of age. With growth the problem may correct itself. If left untreated corneal ulceration and scarring may develop.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP Disease) involves degeneration of the head of the femur bone. Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP Disease) usually only occurs in small dog breeds. Although the cause of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP Disease) isn’t known, recent research has come up with significant proof to suggest it is connected to blood supply problems to the femoral head. The reduced blood supply could be the result of injury, abnormal sex hormone activity or genetics.

Perthes Disease generally occurs in small dogs between 4 to 12 months of age. Loss of blood supply to the joint interferes with normal bone and joint development with the result, lameness and wasting of the affected leg. Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease affects both male and female dogs, but male dogs are four times as likely to develop the disease as female dogs.

Signs. In the early stages, your dog will experience pain when he extends his hip joint while exercising or being examined by the vet. He’ll also have a severe limp and as the disease progresses will refuse to use or put any weight on the affected leg. Once the disease has become more advanced, he will suffer a visible shortening of the affected leg.

Treatment. Surgery is the preferred method of treatment for Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease. Post-surgery physio will help and exercises such as swimming are encouraged to rebuild leg muscles.

Pomeranian Seizure or Idiopathic Epilepsy 

Known as idiopathic because the cause is not known and epilepsy basically means repeat seizures. Seizures might happen as a onetime occurrence for numerous reasons, however if the seizures are repetitive this is called epilepsy.

Pomeranian Seizures Treatment

Talk to your vet, who can advise on the best type of treatment. Medication may help Pomeranian seizures.

Hypoglycaemia

in young, very small and active Pomeranian puppies is not unusual. Discuss any potential problems with regard to hypoglycaemia and your new Pomeranian baby, with the Breeder prior to collecting the Pomeranian Puppy. Hypoglycemia, basically is very low blood sugar. Glucose is the form of sugar found within the bloodstream. Glucose is created in the course of the digestion of foods and it can be stored within the liver in a storage form called glycogen.

The majority of cases of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) in puppies are the result of insufficient or low quality food. Excessive exercise or even over handling a new puppy may possibly cause the puppy’s body to require more sugar than is accessible.

A young puppy with hypoglycaemia will certainly be lacking energy. Glucose (sugar) is the fuel the body burns for energy. Devoid of glucose sugars the puppy will be lethargic. In serious cases, the puppy might even seizure, and in very serious cases can become comatose and die. Glucose is essential for the brain tissue and muscles to function.

The dangers of Hypoglycemia depend on the severity or degree. Hypoglycemia as a consequence of insufficient food or excessive exercise or too much handling, is easily remedied.

If however the cause is a liver disease preventing the storage of glucose as glycogen, or intestinal disease interfering with the absorption of food, hypoglycemia might be chronic and even life threatening.

If your puppy is lethargic and fatigued as a result of low blood sugars, immediately supply glucose. Karo Syrup and honey are excellent sugar options and should be immediately given to your puppy. Please contact your veterinarian without delay. Nutrical High Calorie Supplement is an excellent supplement for very small and young Pomeranian puppies.

Liver Shunts

Open Fontanel & Pomeranians

At birth, People and dogs both have a small hole in their skull. This is called an “open fontanel” or commonly referred to as a soft spot. This soft spot in the skull usually closes. To understand this better, you need to know these facts.

The skull of a dog is made up of a couple of plate-like bones. They start separated, small and soft and allow enough flexibility to get the head right through the birth canal. As the puppy starts to grow, these plates grow around his brain and start to harden.

When they meet, they become fused. Four bones meet at the top centre part of his skull, the last place to be filled with bone. The space is called the fontanel and may be fully closed when the puppy is anywhere from four weeks to six months of age.

In some cases, this fontanel never shuts so the puppy has a permanent hole in the top part of his skull. Any dog can have an open fontanel but it’s a problem mostly associated with toy dog breeds such as Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus, Maltese and Chihuahuas.

This condition is hereditary so if a dog has it, he/she should never be allowed to breed. In most cases this isn’t a problem to be concerned about. Nor will it be fatal. Most holes do eventually shut as the dog gets older. In cases where it doesn’t close completely, you need to be extra cautious that your puppy doesn’t get hit in the head or directly on the soft spot.

There’s no treatment for an open fontanel except for taking added precautions such as not touching that area and ensuring your puppy doesn’t get into fights with other dogs or even playing too rough.

The good news is that most puppies with open fontanels do lead long, healthy lives. The membranes covering the hole are quite strong as well. If you have young children, it’s definitely unsafe to have a puppy with an open fontanel. They won’t understand that they can’t play rough or hit him on the head and that can prove dangerous for the puppy.

When buying a new puppy, it’s a health question that should be asked of the seller. Does the puppy have an open fontanel? An open fontanel is very common is most toy dog breeds and very rarely is the cause of any Pomeranian health issues.

Hydrocephalus in Pomeranians

You can’t talk about fontanels without talking about hydrocephalus. In addition to having an open fontanel, in extremely rare cases, a puppy will also have hydrocephalus. This condition occurs when there’s too much fluid around and in the brain and this puts pressure on the brain and the tissues that surround it.

The head will often be dome-like in shape as a result. The fluidic spaces become swollen, causing this extra pressure and it can damage and stop the brain tissue from developing. The puppy’s head is generally bigger than normal and he has problems with coordination as well.

This very serious problem is generally fatal within the first six weeks of a puppy’s life. This condition can be congenital or acquired as a result of excess fluid and an open fontanel.

Symptoms of hydrocephalus include:

blindness, seizures, an unusual way of walking, permanent restlessness, impaired intelligence, circling, inability to be housetrained, loss of balance (i.e. falling to one side), confusion, sleepiness, aggression, delayed motor control, dullness and a learning impairment. The outlook for puppies with these extra symptoms is very grim. These cases are generally diagnosed by the time the puppy is four months of age.

Diagnosis. If your puppy has an open fontanel and exhibits some of the symptoms mentioned above, take him to the vet. These will usually be a strong indicator that your puppy does have hydrocephalus. However, various scans can also be performed to confirm this. Scans may include: an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI and an EEG. The vet will decide which scans would be best for your puppy’s particular situation.

If you notice these symptoms in your puppy, you should discuss it with your vet who may then refer you to a veterinary neurologist. Sometimes this neurologist can surgically drain some of the excess fluid to provide your beloved pet with a little relief.

He can put in shunts to drain the fluid in the brain to other parts of the body to help ease the pressure. Medications such as cortisone and water tablets can sometimes help as well. However, it’s expensive to treat your dog if he has an open fontanel and hydrocephalus and it’s usually unsuccessful, especially in the long term. Puppies rarely ever last more than two years and many owners opt for their puppy to be put down as an act of kindness.

There are two types of hydrocephalus: Non-obstructive hydrocephalus is caused by either a reduction of the absorption rate of the cerebrospinal fluid or an increase in its production. Less pressure is placed on the brain than in the obstructive type and your puppy may not demonstrate any clear symptoms.

Obstructive hydrocephalus happens when the fluid builds in the brain’s ventricles because of an obstruction of the circulatory system. A brain tumour is often the blockage here. This causes serious problems such as intense pressure within the skull that presses against the sensitive tissues in the brain. This may cause permanent, irreversible damage to the puppy’s brain and may also prove fatal. 

If hydrocephalus is a diagnosis, then you need to catch that early and get your puppy treated to see if his life can be extended safely or not.  

Testicle Descent Abnormalities

Male Pomeranians may have the abnormal descent of their testicles (one or both). If this is the case, castration is the routine route taken. Ignoring this issue (which is thought to be inherited) can place the pup at a higher risk of testicular cancer.

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.

Conclusion

Ethical Registered Pomeranian breeders are helping to improve the odds of there puppies being strong and healthy by removing any Pomeranians affected with genetic problems from breeding stock. Knowledge is the answer.

Breeders of registered purebreds are breeding their breed for the betterment of the breed and long term love of that breed. Breeders of cross breeds are only breeding for short term monetary gains.

Breeders of cross bred puppies are really only “breeding in the dark”, they have no idea what is behind their breeding stock, what genetic problems are hidden, but hope that by crossing two unrelated breeds, problems that affect both breeds will not be present in the resulting litter. Breeders of purebred dogs are very aware of any health problems in their chosen breed.

Testing for genetic problems is now available & Breed Clubs support these endeavors by dedicated breeders.

Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.

Copyright Pomeranian.Org. All Rights reserved.

References and Further Reading:

[1] Denise Leo “The Pomeranian Handbook”.

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Pomeranian Spay or Neuter Facts

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