Yorkies may be small in size, but the breed comes with its fair share of health issues.
While some of the health problems Yorkies face are genetic and therefore impossible to avoid, there are other issues that can be affected by the dog’s environment. Read more below about the different health issues that are common to Yorkies, including Teacup Yorkies.
15 Most Common Yorkie Health Problems
Yorkies are a toy-sized breed of dogs, and they are at risk of quite a few health problems. From collapsed trachea to Retinal dysplasia, every single sub-breed has to deal with serious health issues throughout their life. However, you don’t need to worry because we’ll help you prevent most of them.
The first thing we’ll do is give you Yorkshire Terrier health information, which will prepare you for any eventuality. You’ll know about the different Yorkie health problems, how to identify them, and the treatment required for each. And if you are put in a situation where your puppy is affected, you’ll know what to do.
Second, we will tell you how to avoid getting any of these health issues in the first place. There are five tips and if you follow through on them, your dog will live a long, healthy, and prosperous life.
Yorkie health issues & diseases
The thing about Yorkie’s health problems is that they apply to almost all toy-sized dogs. And this especially holds true to their sub-breeds. So whether you’re looking for Yorkie poo health concerns or teacup puppies’ health issues, we’ve got you covered. Let’s go over a comprehensive list of all the things you need to know about.
Hypoglycemia is one of the most common health problems when it comes to Yorkie puppies. It is characterized by an unexpected drop in blood sugar levels and typically hits dogs below the age of five months.
There are several causes including bad quality food, lack of water, and stress. Anything that can cut down on glucose levels puts your Yorkie, including teacup Yorkies at risk of Hypoglycemia.
The condition is life-threatening, and if you suspect your Yorkie has fallen victim to it, get your pet checked by a vet immediately.
- twitching in the facial muscles
- fast heart rate
- quick breathing
Apply a sugar syrup on the soft tissue surrounding your pet’s mouth. Then you need to get your Yorkie to a doctor immediately and receive treatment to save it from long-term brain damage.
The vet will probably do a couple of tests including a glucose level test and recommend changes in your Yorkie’s diet.
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Periodontal disease – Teeth Problems with Yorkies
Yorkie health problems come in all shapes and sizes. Among the more common ones is Periodontal disease and your Yorkie’s teeth. It attacks your pet’s tiny jaws and several teeth and results in intense teeth decay.
The plaque developing in your pet’s mouth can spread to other organs, so you must get it treated as soon as possible.
- Bad breath
- Falling teeth
- Inflammation of the gums
- Hostility if you try and touch their face
- Inability to hold anything in their mouth
The easiest way to prevent your Yorkie from getting Periodontal disease is brushing their teeth every day. It’ll stop your puppy from ever having to live through the pain and discomfort associated with it. Additionally, get your dog’s teeth washed by a professional once a year.
There are two other steps you can take. First, get X-rays to catch the disease early on. Second, gather as much information as you can to be armed with the tools necessary to protect your dog.
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Legg-Perthes disease in Yorkies
The next of the Yorkie health problems are related to your dog’s bones. Specifically, its hip joint will begin to die.
And depending on the severity of the disease, your pet will receive varying treatments.
It is most common in dogs between four and twelve months and is passed genetically.
- decreased joint function
- losing mass on muscles
- pain and discomfort
- inability to bear any weight
The only way to find out if your dog has this health condition is through an X-ray. You should know that sometimes your Yorkie’s hip will heal on its own and never require treatment. However, some may get worse and develop arthritis.
Minor cases are treated with simple pain medicine, whereas, more serious ones need surgery. The procedure will either remove or replace the Yorkie’s hip. And it is completely safe; puppies that undergo the process always make full recoveries.
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Retinal dysplasia in Yorkies
Yorkie’s health issues can affect various parts of their body. And this one impacts the retina. In the worst case, getting retinal dysplasia can cause retinal detachment and blind a dog. Once it has been diagnosed, it doesn’t naturally get better or worse, except for cases that lead to blindness.
Typically, you’ll know if your pet has this condition in its early weeks.
There aren’t many obvious physical symptoms. You may notice your puppy having trouble seeing things, for example, they can’t see leftover food in their dish. In the mildest cases, you might not even have to deal with that since vision isn’t impaired. However, serious cases will result in complete blindness.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for retinal dysplasia. All you can do is make sure your Yorkie is living as comfortably as possible. Help it around the house, don’t move items like its pee pad or toy basket, and keep the walking path the same.
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Luxating patella in Yorkies
Sometimes your puppy’s muscles and tendons will be unable to keep the kneecap in place. Maybe the groove that usually holds it became too shallow, or perhaps the muscles were too weak. Either way, the kneecap will be dislocated, and this will cause a lot of pain.
At times this condition is caused by genetic transference. However, mostly, it is because of trauma. For example, if your dog falls and hits its knee, it might dislocate the kneecap.
Similar to the Yorkie health problems discussed earlier, this condition shows itself in the early years. However, it may take some time to be noticeable: up till three years.
A dislocation is a painful event, and your Yorkie will cry out as soon as it happens. They may stop walking entirely, limp, or stretch their back leg to fix the damage.
Treatments depend entirely on the severity of your Yorkie’s case. The vet can give anti-inflammatory medicines or recommend exercise. Extreme cases may call for surgery.
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Collapsed trachea in Yorkies
The typically C-shaped trachea will become flat like a line. In serious cases, this leads to a complete collapse, whereas minor cases only impact one cartilage ring and don’t cause as much harm. Serious cases threaten your Yorkie’s life.
Experts believe that the condition is caused by a dog’s genetic disposition. And it is more common in overweight Yorkies.
It can also be caused by a dog pulling on its collar, which is why we recommend attaching a Yorkie’s leash on a harness rather than on a collar.
- difficulty breathing
- honk like cough
The first step of treatment is calming your dog. A dog owner and Yorkie have a special connection; use it to de-stress your pet. Then use home remedies to help with coughing. If that doesn’t work, go to a vet. They’ll probably give you anti-inflammatory steroids and cough medicine.
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Liver shunt in Yorkies
Liver shunts are a congenital disability; they develop while your Yorkie is a fetus. A part of its liver will not close fully and since this organ is responsible for removing harmful nutrients from the body, your Yorkie will collect a lot of toxins.
There are two types of liver shunts. One affects the inside of the organ, while the other impacts the outside. Toy-sized dog breeds tend to develop the former.
- Lack of development
- Improper growth
- Being unresponsive
Your vet will start treatment will blood tests and MRIs. Once they know where the problem is, they’ll start treatment.
In most cases, your Yorkie will need surgery. These procedures often have complications that can negatively impact your dog’s health.
After treatment, get a nutritionist to make a diet specific to your puppy and its needs. Fill it with low-protein food items, and help your pet live the best life possible.
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Pancreatitis in Yorkies
Pancreatitis is one of the most severe and common Yorkie health problems on this list. It is caused by intense fat consumption and results in the pancreas inflaming. The condition can develop very slowly over a few months or spring upon you instantaneously. Either way, it is a deadly illness and must be dealt with.
Most readily available dog foods are filled with preservatives and additives to compensate for the lack of nutrients and organic enzymes. Therefore, a dog’s pancreas needs to produce an enormous amount of enzymes to make up for it. And this overexertion makes it fail.
- reduced appetite
- abdominal pain
Treatment is twofold: during and after an episode. For minor cases, avoid food and water consumption. If it is serious, you’ll need to a step beyond that and hospitalize your tiny dog.
Once the episode has passed, adapt your Yorkie’s diet to include low-fat foods. Your vet may also recommend medication.
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Cataracts and Eye Problems in Yorkies
Cataracts is another eye-related Yorkie health issue. It comes about when your dog’s eye lens changes their protein structure. How do they get it? The answer varies for each case. Some cases are inherited, others are caused by diabetes, and some happen because of poor diets. Your Yorkie can also get it if there is eye trauma.
Irrespective of why your puppy has the condition, its vision will be affected. And it won’t be able to see properly.
- opaque white eye color
- cloudy eyes
Some dogs adapt to the change in eyesight. However, this is dependent on two variables. First, the condition needs to develop slowly. Second, it needs to be a minor case.
For cases where the Yorkie cannot adapt due to its severity or the speed of development, you will need to consult a vet. And it is most likely that they will recommend getting surgery. If so, don’t be worried because your pet will make a full recovery and regain perfect eyesight.
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Skin Allergies in Yorkies
Yorkies have very sensitive skin. And the slightest change in their environment will cause a serious allergic response. This could be a new shampoo, fleas, or even the material of your clothes.
Depending on the material and extent of exposure, the severity of this allergy will change.
- hair loss
- irritant skin
Since there are numerous causes of allergies, there are multiple treatments. And depending on the specific material and severity of the reaction, the cure will differ. However, you won’t be able to figure it out yourself and will need professional help.
Take your dog to a vet, and they will tell you what the best way forward is. Some cases require medication, whereas others just need you to take your Yorkie out of its current environment.
If you can identify the specific material causing the allergy, remove it from your house. For example, if a particular shampoo has chemicals harming your dog, find another shampoo.
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Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis shows up in middle-aged Yorkies and we don’t know what causes it yet. The research is surface level and hasn’t been able to pinpoint an exact reason. However, most specialists do generally agree that this condition is a response to bacteria.
This lack of information is extremely harmful because the condition is one of the most serious Yorkie health problems on this list. If your dog gets it, it will dehydrate and die within 24 hours.
Immediate medical attention is essential in saving your dog’s life when it comes to Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis.
- decreased appetite
- bloody diarrhea
If your pet has Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, a vet will start them on aggressive fluid IVs. This will fight dehydration and give your Yorkie the necessary liquids.
On top of this, there are a few special conditions where your toy-sized pet will need additional medication. If the dog is getting sick during treatment, the vet may also have to give it anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medicine. And if it has a bacterial infection, the vet will prescribe antibiotics.
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Jaw & Dental issues and Other Yorkie Teeth Problems
Since Yorkshire Terriers are tiny, their jaws are pretty small too. And this leads to a bunch of problems. If they stuff their mouth too much, they can lose teeth. On the other hand, if they bite on a bone that’s too hard or one that splinters, they’ll end up damaging their jaw.
But even if none of that happens, your Yorkie could just not lose their baby teeth at a young age and end up with dental issues at a later time.
- bloody mouth
- discomfort while eating
Your vet will examine your Yorkie and prescribe treatment according to its specific problem.
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Overweight Yorkies and those with weak lungs are particularly vulnerable to Bronchitis. If it lasts for more than two weeks, the condition will be chronic. It’s also progressive, which means you need to get it treated quickly.
- difficulty breathing
- regular coughing
Take your Yorkie to a vet; they will prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine. Most commonly, a vet will recommend corticosteroids or pentoxifylline. Both are great options when it comes to reducing swelling in airway walls.
Then go to a nutritionist and formulate a diet with foods that boost the immune system and will make your dog stronger.
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Lymphangiectasia is a protein-losing enteropathy in dogs. It debilitates the intestinal lymphatic network and leaves your Yorkie unable to absorb proteins or any other essential nutrients into its blood. The condition is hereditary.
- abdominal swelling
- losing appetite
- difficulty breathing
- losing weight
- chronic diarrhea
There isn’t any curative therapy for Lymphangiectasia. There are some studies that show the benefits of changing your dog’s diet and adapting it to this condition. For instance, low-fat foods are recommended by specialists.
Other possible treatment routes include steroids, antibiotics, and surgery in the most severe cases.
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Dry Eye Syndrome
Yorkies with Dry Eye Syndrome can be identified easily. It is common in older dogs whose tear ducts don’t make as many tears as they once did. And it is worse in dogs will underlying illnesses like arthritis, lupus, thyroid disorders, or eye allergies.
Since there are little to no tears, the infected dog’s eyes will suffer from severe dryness and inflammation. A clear membrane covers its eye’s white part.
If left untreated, the condition can completely destroy a Yorkie’s tear glands. It won’t be able to produce tears at all. And in the worst case, this extreme dryness will lead to blindness.
- Dog keeping its eyes closed
- Fewer tears
- Excessive blinking
- Red and irritated eyes
Most treatments for Dry Eye aim to stimulate a dog’s tear glands. Because if they can produce more tears, the dryness will decrease significantly. The easiest way to do so is by prescribing a medicine called cyclosporine.
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Tips for preventing Yorkie health problems
Prevention is always better than reactive measures. Anything that stops your dog from being put at risk is great.
We recommend the following five steps. They can stop your dog from contracting an illness and avoid putting them through pain and discomfort.
1. Find the right breeder
You may have noticed that a lot of the Yorkie health problems listed above are passed on by parents. Choosing the right breeder makes sure that your puppy has healthy parents and won’t ever need to deal with them.
The American Kennel Club collects information on breeders. Use their list as ground zero. It’ll cut down on your work and ensure reliability.
It is always better to avoid breeders who deal in teacup Yorkies. This sub-breed is bred for size instead of health and has a lower life expectancy than the typical Yorkie.
You should always check a breeder’s references before hiring them. Ask about the heredity of dogs they have provided and make sure none of them have genetically passed diseases.
Lastly, ask to see your puppy’s parents. This will help you verify if you’re getting a pure-breed and if they have any illnesses that will be passed down to their child.
2. Choose the right food
Getting your Yorkie the right food will help prevent several illnesses. Avoid cheap and poor quality food since it causes way more harm than good. And fill your pet’s diet with healthy and organic food. It might cost more but you’ll save tons of money down the line; vets and specialists charge a lot.
If you aren’t sure what companies make the best food and whether or not your pet is getting a balanced diet, talk to a nutritionist. Even your local vet will be able to help out. If they recommend removing a certain item from your Yorkie’s diet, don’t do so immediately. Phase it out over some time to make sure you don’t upset your dog’s stomach.
Lastly, be careful with how many treats you give your puppy. Most are filled with sugary preservatives and too many of them can cause health problems.
3. Create a safe environment
Household items are filled with toxic materials. If ingested, they can cause serious Yorkie health issues. And so you must remove them from your dog’s environment. Some of the more common items are washing powders, air fresheners, and candles.
Air purifiers are a great option for dog owners, especially those in charge of Yorkies with respiratory illnesses.
Dogs love exploring. And toy-sized pups like Yorkshire Terriers will always be up for a walk. This exercise helps develop their mind and body.
Just remember to utilize a harness and not a collar when using a leash.
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There are several Yorkie health problems. And each causes more discomfort than the last. You can help your puppy avoid most of them by giving it a proper diet and loads of exercise. Additionally, acquire your Yorkie from a trusted breeder so that you don’t have to deal with any genetic illnesses.
The most important thing to remember if the preventative tips outlined above don’t work is that your dog loves you and needs to be able to lean on you. It is vital that you provide emotional support if it is sick and shower it with affection.