For Shih Tzu owners, it is important to know what the common health issues these dogs usually get are. Though there are only quite a few, knowing about the history and how the disease develops will help an owner to prepare and prevent the occurrence of these breed-related illnesses. Prevention is always better than the cure.
First are eye problems. Shih Tzu’s are naturally born with bulgy eyes enclosed in shallow eye sockets. Though, together with their fluffy faces, their big eyes can be quite cute to stare at, this anatomical state can predispose the dog’s eyes to foreign body infection that leads to inflammation, corneal ulcers, and epiphora – the abnormal increase in tear production. This can be irritating and antibiotic eye drops might need to be instilled to fight off the infection. Remember that the eyes are good bacterial media because it is always moist and few bacteria can easily multiply. Entropion, the rolling in of eyelids can also produce epiphora. The eyelashes can scratch and irritate the cornea and exposes the eye to further contamination. Furthermore, old Shih Tzu’s can also develop cataracts wherein lens transparency is lost and can progress to blindness.
Breathing issues include collapse caused by heatstroke on a hot weather usually complimented with high humidity. This decreases the available oxygen and for brachycephalic breeds – short snouted dogs such as Shih Tzu’s, breathing is difficult. This situation can be abrupt and the ultimate loss of blood perfusion to the brain and heart is fatal.
The last health issue revolves around the long back of this breed and called intervertebral disk disease. The vertebrate – the bones on the spine contain a liquid cushion called nucleus pulpous. When there is trauma or inflammation, this substance bulges and eventually leaks out causing intense pain. Weakness and paralysis are the usual consequences of this condition.
Though eye problems, heatstroke and intervertebral disk disease are commonly encountered by Shih Tzu owners, there are still ways to prevent these from occurring. Proper diet, complete exercise, clean and comfortable environment and regular visits to the vet will surely ease your burden of facing these Shih Tzu health issues.