Home / Health and Care / Yorkie Health Issues: What are The Most Common Yorkshire terrier Health Problems

Yorkie Health Issues: What are The Most Common Yorkshire terrier Health Problems

Yorkie health problems - photo of yorkie

Here we will show you some of the most common Yorkshire terrier health problems.

As any other dog breed, Yorkies are prone to a certain health conditions.

That’s why it is really important for all of us (as Yorkie parents) to know, which are these diseases and how to recognize them.

That way if it happens you can notice the symptoms early and start the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

Even though this breed is prone to certain diseases, this does not mean that your pet will eventually develop one of them.

Most Common Yorkie health Issues and Problems

The health issues, concerning the health of the Yorkshire Terriers can be divided in three groups – inherited, acquired and congenital.

The problem with genes is that they can be kept for several generations and after that to develop.

So even an ethical and good breeder to check what genetic diseases the parents may have, it is not still a hundred percent guarantee that the little puppies will be absolutely healthy.

Hypoglycemia in Yorkies

This disease generally affects the toy breed dogs.

The Yorkshire Terrier is such type of breed and if the dog tends to develop this disease, it generally appears between birth and the fourth month.

These first few months are the critical period in which the owner should keep an eye on the dog’s health.

It is really rare, but an adult dog can also develop hypoglycemia as a result of some severe problems, such as pregnancy complications, sepsis or liver disease.

What a hypoglycemia is?

This is when the level of the blood sugar drops really fast.

Sugar in the bloodstream is really important, because every part and element of the dog’s body depends on the proper balance of this substance in the blood.

The liver produces glucose and it is stored there while needed.

Some other important materials used for the process are stored in the muscle tissues.

Hypoglycemia affects the function of the brain, as well as the motor skills and when it happens there is only a little time when the puppy can be treated.

Hypoglycemia can occur due to different factors such as lack of nutrients, stress, born with less weight than average.

Any breeder, especially those who deal with breeding for years, will tell you that they have experienced hypoglycemia in the little puppies.

The good news is that there are certain symptoms for that disease,

but the bad is that a puppy may not show all of them, that is why it is important that the little puppies are being watched during the whole time, because a danger can appear only for a few minutes.

The symptoms that can appear quickly or one after another are shaking, drowsiness, seizures, confused behavior, weakness, depression, tremors and even coma.

A good veterinarian will be able to immediately diagnose the disease if the puppy has it.

And for the older dogs, a certain tests can be done. This includes: urinalysis, blood tests for sugar levels, X-rays, ultrasounds, serum biochemistry tests, evaluation for parasites.

What can you do when you see the symptoms?

The first thing that every breeder should keep on hand is honey, which is immediately rubbed on the dog’s gums.

Warming the body temperature can be achieved with warm heating pads, which should be placed around the body of the little puppy.

These are the two things that can be done to stabilize a bit the dog’s condition so that it can be taken for an emergency visit to the veterinarian.

For stabilizing the little puppy, veterinarians usually inject subcutaneously warmed dextrose solution or an IV drip.

It is also helpful if the adult dog is fed throughout the whole day with small meals, highly rich in proteins.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Yorkie health issues - picture of yorkieThis is an illness of the hip joint.

When the bones in the hip area begin to get inadequate circulation of the blood, they become weaker and after time they collapse.

This disease is sometimes developed in certain lines of the breed.

Legg-Perthes Disease usually appears when the dog is little, eventually between the fifth and the eight month.

The symptoms are: signs of pain, limping, leg going lame.

Seeing these signs, the diagnosis can be confirmed with an X-ray examination,

but because this disease does not develop so quickly, an X-ray may appear like a normal one, so it is recommended to repeat this examination after three weeks so that you can see if there are any changes of the bones.

If this is the right diagnosis, then the treatment for the Legg-Perthes Disease is a surgery.

The damaged part of the bone should be removed, After this procedure is done, the ligaments which are across the dog’s hip joint will strengthen enough so that they create a false joint.

Most of the dogs, especially when they get this disease while they are little puppies slowly and almost fully recover.

They can use their leg normally, and some that have irregularities can also have one productive life.

A dog after experiencing such a surgery will need at least a year to make a good recovery.

Retinal Dysplasia

This disease is when the retina of the dog’s eye has an irregularity.

Especially for the Yorkshire Terrier this disease is inherited that is why Terriers’ health is important when breeding this dog.

When such a dog of this breed has this disease, it should not be bred, because it will pass that illness to its generation.

The back of the eyeball of the dog is covered with a thin layer of tissue.

This is the place where the sense of vision occurs. When there is damage on this tissue, then vision is affected and even blindness may occur.

This is not the only breed that is prone to this disease.

The other breeds that tend to have it are:

Afghan Hound, Akita, Doberman, Australian Shepherd, Rottweiler, Old English Shepherd, English Springer Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Labrador Retriever.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

In some cases, which luckily are mild, there are no visual signs that can tell you that there is a problem with the dog.

And the disease can be diagnosed only after a full examination is performed, and this includes an eye exam.

Dog’s vision is affected in moderate and severe cases.

These cases are noticed when the dog bumps into objects, stumbles or seems confused at times. As it was mentioned above, the illness is inherited by the parents.

But in some cases, the disease can be also developed after a trauma of the eye or an infection.

In order to diagnose it early if the dog tends to develop this disease, it is important to take the dog for having regular examinations every year.

And if you suspect that your dog may have it, there is a certain eye exam, which is created by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and the test can be performed by a certified ophthalmologist.

Unfortunately there is not still a cure for this disease. When the dog has a mild case of the disease, they can live perfectly fine.

At severe cases, dogs still adjust quite well even though they partially or fully lose their vision.

Some owners do not even notice that their Yorkshire Terrier has a problem with its eyes, because terriers have a wonderful, excellent sense of smell and hearing.

After all, the owner can help his dog even it has one really severe case of the disease, and a completely blindness occurs.

The things that will make the dog’s life easier is when placing water, food and toys at the same place every time.

When walking, they should always take the same route.

And to keep the furniture and the layout of the home without any drastic changes, and if there are any changes, they should be slowly introduced to the dog.


The main symptoms that can diagnose cataracts in dogs include white opaque eye color and eye cloudiness.

These occur due to a change in the structure of the protein in the eye lens.

Depending on the situation, this can be hereditary or caused by external environmental factors such as diabetes, improper nutrition or trauma of the eye.

The biggest concern with cataracts is that they always impede the vision, so they always affect it.

The cataracts that are developing slowly are preferable, because they give the dog a chance to adjust its vision to the changes.

The fortunate part is that dogs usually can adapt pretty well to the poor vision if the cataracts develop slowly.

Another good thing is that they can be corrected surgically if they were caught on time at their early stage.

If you take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups, not only when needed, the chance if catching cataracts at early stage is very big and that way the chances for the dog to have good vision are greatly increased.

The regular visits to the veterinarian are very important part of the care that you take for your dog, so do not ignore them.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

The progressive retinal atrophy or PRA is a genetic condition in dogs that can cause bilateral (two-sided) retina degeneration. It can lead to partial vision loss or complete blindness.

If a puppy has PRA this will be known after the first two months and if that is the case, the dog may get blind by its first year.

When simply the owner decide to check the dog for PRA it can be difficult to recognize the condition because it is not painful and there are not any symptoms or other visible thing.

The owner can only watch out for personality changes in his dog that are connected with its vision,

for example if the dog has reluctance when going downstairs or when walking into poorly lit rooms.

However, a checkup to the veterinarian can diagnose PRA, especially if the dog is still a puppy.

Another reason why the regular visits to the veterinarian are so important. The doctor can look at the dog’s retinas with special tools and eventually see some signs of the disease.

The bad thing is that there is no cure for the condition.

Any dog that has PRA would live pretty decent life, because when the progressive blindness occur, the other senses will get much stronger and will keep up for the loss of the vision.

Luxating Patella

Yorkshire terrier health problems

It is also known as Kneecap Dislocation and happens when the kneecap gets loose of the hold, which is usually strong.

The kneecap of the little dog can remain out or it can move in and out.

If it is not treated while there is still time, the dog will have problems with this leg and could lead to zero motor functions of the affected leg.

There could be a few symptoms of that disease or only one, and they can also appear and stop for some time.

The symptoms that will give you a sign that the puppy is in pain and there is something wrong, is when it cries a loud ‘yelp’ when the kneecap slips out of its place.

There is a severe pain when this happens, after that the pain stops. But you may notice other symptoms if you do not hear that cry.

There is limping, bending the leg that has that problem or an odd way of walking of the dog.

Luxating Patella is diagnosed with the help of ultrasound and X-rays.

When the puppy suffers a mild or moderate case, then the treatment is a strict rest in bed for a period of three to six weeks and taking medications against inflammation.

The owner should know that is possible that the cap goes out again after it has happened once.

After this period of rest, the owner should help his dog to build stronger muscles around the knee.

After an examination to the vet and getting his approval, the best way for doing this is walking uphill. For the cases which are severe, an operation might be needed.

Collapsed Trachea

As the name shows, this disease is connected to the trachea when it gets narrow or collapses.

This illness usually affects toy breeds, and that is why Yorkshire Terriers are also prone to it.

There are few reasons because of which this can happen:

when there is a genetic weakness of the trachea,

or when a dog of such a small breed is attached to a collar or a leash and the owner pulls back too hard, this can cause collapsing of the trachea rings.

To avoid such a case, it is recommended to walk the Yorkshire Terrier with a harness instead a collar.

By the way we have an article about choosing a harness for your Yorkie or other small dog.

The symptoms for causing a collapse of the trachea are: gaggoing sounds, noisy breathing, troubled breathing and coughing.

When it is a severe case, the dog may faint due to the loss of air.

For diagnosing the disease, you need to take your dog to a veterinarian for examination and perform an X-ray.

The treatment is done step by step for reducing trauma and open again the normal airways for breathing. If it is a severe case, then a surgery is the solution for this situation.

It is a good prognosis after a surgery and most of the dogs live an active lifestyle after that.

Portosystemic Shunt

This disease is a presence of abnormality of the portal vein. This vein brings the blood to the liver and cleaning it.

So when this condition is developed by the dog, important organs of the dog’s body get poisoned because the unfiltered blood starts flowing throughout the entire body.

The symptoms of this disease are: loss of appetite, smaller stature, loss of coordination, weak muscles, diarrhea, sporadic vomiting, drooling, behavioral changes.

At a later stage it could even cause coma.

This disease is diagnosed when there are high serum bile acid levels or when there is a fasting increase of blood ammonia.

When the disease is diagnosed, the best treatment is a surgery.

If a surgery can not be performed, then the variant is to treat the dog with antibiotics, dietary protein restriction, and other medicine that will help for reducing ammonia production.

Skin Allergies

The Yorkies can have problems with the health of their skin when they develop some kind of allergy due to chemical exposure, pollens, fleas, molds or any other known trigger.

Note that these dogs have sensitive skin and even using a improper shampoo can trigger allergy reaction.

To be sure that the shampoo (or other hair product) you are using is suitable for your dog, you can read our Yorkshire terrier shampoo guide.

You will learn how to choose proper cosmetic products for your dog and also what to avoid.

If you see excessive scratching, itching, skin irritation and even hair loss think about the possibility of a skin allergy.

Keep in mind that some allergies caused by stinging from a bee or wasp can threaten your dog’s life.

If you think that your dog have some kind of a skin allergy, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

When it get examined you will be given a prescription to start treating the symptoms and make your pet feel good again.


This is very serious disease and you should be aware of the symptoms.

They include vomiting, diarrhea and pain in the abdominal area.

Keep in mind that just because your dog have any or all of these symptoms does not mean in any way that it have pancreatitis.

The aforementioned symptoms can indicate also something like a common stomach bug.

If you have doubts that your dog has pancreatitis, you should take it to the veterinarian immediately.

The doctor will prescribe the necessary medication treatment and also can suggest a good diet.

Pancreatitis is a disease that is caused from big inflammation in the pancreas due to fat, toxicity and bad diet.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

The hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite in your dog.

These lead to rapid dehydration, which is very serious and can lead to death.

Another disease that requires immediate medical attention.

Jaw & Dental Issues

The Yorkies are small dogs and it is logical that they have quite small jaws.

This can lead to some issues like overcrowded mouth. The dogs can also have teeth problem when their puppy teeth do not fall before the adult ones growing up.

This can lead to a disease of the gums, tooth loss and bacteria building in the mouth.

Issues like these can be healed easily with regular teeth brushing. Just get some dog toothpaste and do it yourself.

You can also take your dog to the veterinarian for tooth extraction when the mouth get overcrowded.

If you do not do this, the Yorkie might suffer from pain in the mouth and the jaw and this will lead to hard eating and the dog can become malnourished.

For a small and lightweight dog the weight loss is not preferable, because it can lead to hypoglycemia and other health issues.

A few tips for making your Yorkie happy and keep it healthy.

Yorkie puppy health - pictureThese tips may seem obvious to you, but it is good to repeat them once again, so that you are sure that you are doing everything right.

All those things will ensure a happy and long life for your Yorkshire Terrier.

Be sure that you always feed your dog with food of high quality.

This is one of the main things for keeping your dog’s health, because most of the digestive problems come exactly from food with does not meet the required quality.

Be sure that your dog gets all the vaccination, flea prevention, heartworm medication and deworming.

Do not think that this might not happen even though your dog goes out rarely than usual, it should receive all the shots needed.

And after a vaccination, the puppy should be kept away from public places for a period at least of two weeks.

Properly groom and take care of your dog, you need to keep an eye on the ears, dental care prevention of the teeth, and clipping the nails.

Do not allow the children to play roughly with your dog. It is a toy breed and it could be hurt really easily.

You should also always keep an eye of your dog – watch out for the symptoms, described above and be careful not to hurt it.

If you want to make some changes into the dog’s routine, you should also introduce it slowly to the dog.

If you would like you can see our article about the Yorkshire terrier lifespan.

There you will see what are the most common causes of death for both puppies and adult dogs.

Also we share with you different tips on how to extend your dog’s life expectancy,

and what you might be doing wrong right know, without even knowing.

About yorkiemag

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *