As every breed, those dogs also have some health issues, that every owner should be aware of. Most of the cases might occur in every size of the Poodle, but there are also problems that affect only the certain size variation – standard, miniature or toy Poodles.
This article includes all Poodle health issues that can appear and that you should be prepared for.
Overview of the most common Poodle health issues
The Toy Sized Poodle can develop the following problems:
- Cushing’s Disease.
- Tracheal collapse.
- Bladder stones.
- Skin tumors.
Problems that can affect all the sizes are:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease.
- Sebaceous Adenitis.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
- Addison’s disease.
- Collapsed trachea.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Thyroid issues (both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid), as well as bloat.
Poodle puppies may have the following concerns:
- Hypoglycemia is one of the most common issues that can occur, as it is very serious health problem that every owner should be prepared for. The chance of this disease to develop in your puppy is very huge, as it happens extremely fast. The period for which the problem can affect your puppy is directly from birth to 4 months, as the miniatures and toy versions can develop it easier.
The reason behind this disease is the big stress or the small portions of food the dog receives. If the blood sugar level suddenly starts to go down, the end can be fatal.
If the illness starts to develop, you will notice the following signs:
- slowed breathing;
- falling down;
- shivering or head tremors;
- walking clumsily.
If you see those signs, be sure to take the puppy to the vet immediately, because it can slip into coma, as the results would be destructive.
Don’t stress if the puppy shows only one sign, as at young ages, most of the dogs are very sleepy and like to have many naps. If you are still not sure if everything is fine, you can go to the vet and check if everything is in norms. The best way to see is the puppy is dizzy is to stand it up and check the way it walks.
If the problem really exists, you should immediately find a way how to get to the vet and raise the puppy’s blood sugar levels. If you are not able to take it to an animal hospital, use honey and start rubbing it gently on the puppy’s gums.
Be sure to use only natural honey and not Karo syrup, because after you rub the honey in, it will absorb directly into the blood stream, which can make the situation even worse, as the syrup can start working as a laxative. Other method is to use warm water in combination with dissolved sugar, as the best way to get in into the puppy’s body is with hand feeding or small spoon.
If you did the process right, you should see results after few minutes, but it is required to get the puppy to the vet and be sure everything is going to be alright. Some puppies need extra help, as vets often use an IV in order to get the blood sugar levels in norms.
All the data will be monitored, as if a danger occurs, the doctors will take actions right away. Another way to see if your puppy is okay is to give it 2 teaspoons of sugar water. The whole test won’t cause additional problems.
Poodle Health Problems that can develop at every age and size
Hip Dysplasia is when the Poodle gets its hip joints weaken or deteriorated. It can affect your puppy via its parents. The reason why this problem develops is because the 2 sections that are hold by the ligaments are not strong and stable enough. Other reason might be the incorrect forming of the socket. The result is dislocated ball.
Although, the problems are thought to be genetic blemish, there are other things that can make the situation dreadful.
- Do not allow your Poodle to gain additional weight, as everything up the norms can affect the hips.
- Do not overdo the puppy’s training, because if it exercises too much before its adulthood, it can damage the hips very seriously.
- This reason cannot be controlled- if the growth rate is way faster than the normal one.
You can notice this between the 5th and 10th month of the puppy. At this age, the diagnose can be frightening, as the dog gets older, the following issues will be noticed:
- If you take a longer walk, you will notice weakness in the limbs, which occurs in the hind legs.
- Getting up will be harder.
- The rear legs will be lifted, as the dog will start to hobble and hop.
- The dog will use only its front legs to rise, as the rear ones will be dragged or numbed.
- The steps will be hesitant and small.
- You will see that walking uphill, climbing stairs, exercising, even jumping will be extremely painful for the dog.
This disease can be controlled, if the dog gets the proper medication, such as anti-inflammatory medications that will be combined with long rests. If you found the disease in its early stages, this method will work. For some other cases, the bones will start to wear down, which is often associated with ongoing dislocation issues. Surgery should be done, if the medicine does not work.
Epilepsy has 4 types of seizures, as the most developed one is the one that affects the canines.
If this issues starts to develop, the following signs will be noticed:
- Unconscious passing out.
- Won’t respond to your calls.
- It can stop breathing.
- The movements it does will look strange.
- The limb will be stiff.
- It can move only back and forth, or in place.
- Staring into nothing.
If you want to be helpful to your veterinarian, so he could identify the severity of the seizures and the type of the disease that your Poodle has, you can do the following:
Don’t try to hold the Poodle’s tongue, because this is wrong. If there are some objects around the dog, just make sure to move them away from it. The next thing is to achieve complete silence – turn off any noisy electronics such as stereo, TV, radio and so on.
Also turn off every brighter light and speak with low and calm voice. Put under the Poodle’s head a sleeping pillow and write down the following information:
- The time this happened;
- How long it lasted;
- All of the signs that the dog showed;
- What the dog was doing right before having a seizure;
- If you can, video the episode to show it directly to the vet, so he will know better what happened.
The canine epilepsy can be medicated, but have in mind that it can’t be cured completely. The most common used medicines are Dilantin, Phenobarbital and Primidone.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This disease affects the eyes and eventually causes blindness. Scientists are conducting many recent studies but they still have not found a cure for PRA. According to the preliminary tests, antioxidant supplementation can slow the process of blindness down with dogs, but cannot stop its occurrence.
The affected area of the eyes is the retina. The disease always occurs in both eyes simultaneously. Here are some of the early symptoms:
Problems with the night vision – your Poodle can seem to have hard time seeing when the lightning is low.
The eyes might appear shiny, because the dilatation of the pupils.
From the first occurrence of the symptoms to the point where the dog goes blind there typically passes 6 months.
The disease progresses slowly, so many of the dogs do not have big troubles coping and usually do quite well when being surrounded with love.
Sebaceous Adenitis is a skin disease. It is less common with Minis and Toys than with Standard Poodles, but still can occur to different extents. The disease leads to hair loss and is most common to 1-7 years old Poodles. The functioning of the sebaceous glands (their responsibility is the production of sebum on the skin) is impaired. If infected with the disease, the dog will lose hair and its skin will be dry and scaly.
Although the disease does not affect the life span (the problem is considered a cosmetic issue) it can cause huge discomfort and can lower the life quality of the dog. Also, because of the dry skin, skin cracks may occur, thus, leading to secondary infection vulnerability.
Keratolytic shampoos can be used as a treatment – they must be done 3-4 times every week. The therapy is soothing the skin, so it can remove the scales. For the infections you can apply topical antibiotics and Oxydex shampoo, too. Another helpful medicine is Propylene Glycol (50-70% solution)
Retinoids are used as controversial treatment. Their side effects include birth defects in puppies being born in a litter, whose mother or father has been treated with this medicine. Also, the retinoids are expensive. Another controversial treatment is Cyclosporine medication – it weakens the immune system of the dog, so other health problem might occur together with more skin infections.
Preliminary tests of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids supplements (used for skin issues) has been promising.
This disease affects mostly small breed dogs (Toy Poodle, for example) but can also be found among Standards or Miniatures. This condition is causes the kneecap to slip out of place. It is thought to be a genetic problem, but might also be triggered by an injury.
The symptoms might be presented on and off. If left untreated, the problem persists and might get worse. Some dogs experience pain only at the time when the kneecap slips, but after that they are fine again. After some hours or days, an inflammation is developed and this causes pain and another symptoms. Your dog might have this disease if it is showing signs like lameness, limping and holding the leg in strange position.
The treatment is similar to this for hip dysplasia – anti-inflammatory medications and bed rest, as well. Surgical repair is necessary only when the case is a severe one. Poodles with Luxating Patella are also more prone to suffering from arthritis in future.
This condition is presented at birth (medically, this is defined as a congenital degeneration). It affects the hips (especially, their bone ends) and is most often presented in Miniature Poodles and Toy.
The bone that is affected by the Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease suffers from reduction of blood supply. Thus, the dog feels lameness, weakness and discomfort. If the condition is not treated, the affected Poodle’s leg might stop growing. Thus, that leg will not grow as big as the other three.
Female dogs suffer from LCP Disease less common than males (the ratio is 1:4). Most likely to get sick are dogs from 4 months to 1-year-old.
The condition is very serious, although, the treatment is not difficult. If the dog gets strict rest for enough time (sometimes up to 6 months), the complete recovery is very likely to happen.
The Poodle might be forced to rest by being placed into a cage (or in crate) and being allowed to get out only for specific purposes like urination. Most Poodles are completely healed after 6 months and, since their femoral head is already healed, they can walk pain-free.
Surgery is necessary only if the femoral head collapses even during a period of rest.
Toy Poodle Health issues
Bladder Stones: Bladder stones are likely to occur in Toy Poodles. This happens if the concentrations of minerals in the urine are high or if bladder infections are presented. Immediate actions are necessary if the dog has trouble peeing, urinates more often or has bloody urine. Each one of these can be a sign of some sort of urinary tract problem (or bladder stones, in particular).
Skin Tumors: Abnormal cell growth can occur on the dog’s skin. This leads to skin tumors, which look like limps and go away only of surgery is performed. These tumors can be benign or malignant (in this case they may spread to other body areas).
In order to determinate what kind is the tumor, the vet will perform a biopsy. There is no need of further treatment if the limp is benign. In the second case, if the tumor turns out to be malignant, aggressive treatment is a must. If your dog has a skin limp, you have better get it checked by a veterinary.
Tracheal Collapse: If the dog’s cartilage rings in the windpipe are weak, tracheal collapse can occur. Warning signs about this medical problem are breathing troubles, wheezing or coughing.
Cushing’s Disease: Cushing’s is a very dangerous condition. It is caused by the increased production of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands. Hair loss is one of the symptoms, as well as a swollen abdomen (in the early stage of the disease’s progress).
Cataracts: A cataract causes blurring of the lens of the dog’s eyeball. The center of the affected eye will be white and unclear. Your dog will start experiencing sight loss and can begin to run into walls or furniture.
Common Miniature & Standard Poodles Health Issues
Von Willebrand’s Disease – Von Willebrand’s causes issues with the clotting of the blood. The disease is divided into three types. Type I is the mildest and the most common type. Rarest and more severe are the type II and type III.
The most common symptoms of von Willebrand’s Disease are:
- Bleeding from the nose
- Gums are bleeding
- Bleedings during hot weather or while whelping (for female dogs)
- Bloody stool and urine
The disease is incurable but, yet, manageable. If your dog is having mild bleeds, they can be controlled if you apply pressure to the affected area. The treatment for more severe cases is transfusion. For control of the bleeding are used also thyroid supplements, if your dog is hypothyroid.
Common Standard Poodle Health Problems
Gastric Tortion-Bloat – The disease is called ‘Killer bloat’ or only ‘Bloat’. It occurs when the gas or fluid in the stomach of the dogs is too much. If the gas bloats out, gastric dilation can happen. Gastric torsion is the word for the partial rotation of the stomach. If the rotation is full, then the name for it is gastric volvulus. Both of this problems can be life threatening.
Most commonly by Gastric Tortion-Bloat are affected Standard Poodles that are:
- Between the ages of 4 to 7
- Are males (The male Poodles that suffer from bloat are 2/3’s of all of the sick dogs)
- Are eat a lot of dry kibble
- Are exercising within 2 hours after eating
- If any symptoms of ‘Killer bloat’ are presented, then you should take immediate measures. Here are the signs of the disease:
- The dog produces huge quantities of saliva and slobber
- The dog is very restless
- Vomiting (sometimes clear fluid)
- There is evidence of abdominal pain (you can understand if the dog experience abdominal pain by pushing on the stomach wall – if the Poodle does not whine or groan, then it is okay)
- Swollen stomach
- The dog is breathing rapidly
- The dog’s gums are pale
The condition is considered a medical emergency and as such should be treated immediately. Emergency surgery is performed if the disease is confirmed.
Addison’s disease – or, medically, hypoandrenocorticism. This happens when the adrenal glands produce insufficient levels of aldosterone and cortisone hormones. The symptoms are vague and, because of this, the disease is usually not diagnosed early, which is the biggest problem with Addison’s.
The disease is seen in every dog breed. Still, most commonly affected are the Standard Poodles. Mostly, the condition occurs in female dogs which are in their middle ages, but male dogs can also develop the disease.
The initial symptoms are vomiting and other gastrointestinal disturbances. Another early sign of hypoadrenocorticism is lethargy; poor appetite is also an early symptom. But since the signs might come and go, the condition is easily missed.
If your dog has Addison’s disease, when stressed or with high potassium levels (which can interfere with the functioning of the heart), it will experience more severe symptoms.
Some of the symptoms are:
- Decreased appetite
- The thirst is increased
- Diarrhea, often bloody
- The dog is weak and is losing weight
- Spasms of the muscles
- Slow heart rate
For diagnosis, blood and urine tests should be run. If your dog has hypoadrenocoticism, it can be put on life-long replacement therapy that consists of aldosterone and cortisone. The treatment can make the dog healthy again, especially if the disease is early diagnosed. The prognosis is pretty good, if a treatment is started.
Health Care Tips for Poodle Owners
In order to survive, a dog needs food, water and a shelter. But if you want your god to be healthy and happy, you will have to do more than simply providing the three basic needs. Do you know what a Poodle needs?
First, quality food – The health of your pet is directly connected to the food it eats. Yes, the shopping is much easier if you could just grab the first bulk bag of dog food you see. But you should remember that your dog needs quality food that can be helpful in preventing health problems – allergies, overweight, etc.
Plus, if you make sure that your dog is eating healthy, you can give the Poodle more years to live.
Exercise – This is also a very important aspect for good health. For maintaining proper muscle mass, healthy heart and well running metabolism, you need to walk your dog at least one time per day. But you should also remember that if your pet exercises too much, this can be a reason for ‘Killer Bloat’ in Standard Poodles or knee luxation issues in Toy or Miniature.
Companionship – Mental health is also very important. The dog needs love, care and attention. Socialization with people and relaxing with the family can help for the decreasing of the stress and maintaining good health.
Dental care – The dental care should not be overlooked. It the teeth of the gums are infected; this can be a cause for a lot of serious issues in Poodles. Also, everyday teeth brushing with quality paste and brush is important.
Regular Vet checks – You probably have routine checkups with your GP in order to make sure you are healthy. It is vital not to forget to schedule regular checkups with the vet as well, not only when the dog is ill.
Worm, flea & tick prevention –Your dog is at risk of being infected with heartworms, fleas and other parasites. So you need to use proper prevention treatment to keep you dog healthy and parasite-free. Do not forget this!