Health Concerns Facing the Poodle

Like all purebred dogs, poodles are subject to some genetic weaknesses. As breeders carefully mate the animals to pass along the traits they are trying to achieve, unwanted traits are often passed along as well. Part of good poodle care is knowing the main health concerns facing your poodle and being ready to address them.

There are three sizes of poodle. The standard poodle stands taller than fifteen inches at the shoulder. The miniature poodle stands taller than ten inches, but no higher than fifteen inches. The toy poodle stands less than ten inches at the shoulder. In the case of very tiny poodles, such as the teacup poodle, much less.

Because the health problems do not affect all sizes equally, it will be noted in parentheses which poodles are most vulnerable to which problems.

Addison’s Disease (standard)

A potentially lethal disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones. Because adrenal hormones regulate so many bodily functions, the symptoms are often vague. They include weakness, decreased appetite with weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because potassium is affected by this disease, the poodle may go into crisis and suffer a fatal heart attack. Once diagnosed, the dog can be treated with hormones injected monthly.

Epilepsy (miniature and toy)

A seizure disorder which can be controlled by medications.

Hip Dysplasia (standard and miniature)

Occurs when the head of the femur does not fit properly into the hip socket. This condition causes pain and lameness. It can be treated with analgesics (pain killers) and surgery

Hypothyroidism (standard, miniature, toy)

Occurs when the thyroid gland is under-active. Symptoms may include weight gain, sluggishness, a brittle coat, and heart arrhythmias. Can be treated with medication.

Legg Calve-Perthes (miniature and toy)

This occurs when the “head” or top of the femur, the long bone in the poodle’s back legs becomes weakened. The poodle may limp or become irritable from pain. Some animals recover spontaneously, others require surgery to remove the head of the femur.

Patella Sub-luxation (miniature and toy)

This occurs when the kneecap pops in and out of the groove where it should be held in place by ligaments. Owners may notice the dog favoring one of its front legs until the kneecap pops back into place. This problem can be surgically corrected.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (standard, miniature, and toy).

Also known as PRA, progressive retinal atrophy occurs when the retinas, located in the eyes, do not receive enough blood. Blindness is the result. PRA usually strikes when the poodle is around five or six. There is no cure.

Sebaceous Adenitis (standard)

This is a chronic skin problem that occurs when the sebaceous glands are abnormal or sometimes altogether absent. Symptoms include hair loss, a scaly look to the skin, and multiple skin infections. The treatment includes therapeutic baths as well as antibiotics to treat the infections.

Undescended Testicles (miniature and toy)

Occurs when the male dog’s testicles are trapped in the abdominal cavity. This condition can sometimes be treated with hormone shots. If the testicles do not descend, they must be removed due to an increased risk of becoming cancerous.

Von Willenbrands (standard)

A bleeding disorder much like hemophilia.

With all these health concerns inherent to the poodle, good poodle care means regular visits to the vet. It is important that you know how to choose a vet for your poodle.

Comments are closed.