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Pomeranian Health Problems

Whether you are buying a Pomeranian puppy for a pet or with hopes of someday walking in the show ring, you have to be cautious. Because of the popularity of these miniature dogs, unscrupulous breeders have been selling inferior dogs, puppies with inherited diseases and crossbreeds. Generally you should be prepared to spend a lot of money if you are after a dog with a number of champions in his bloodlines.

Skin Problems

It may be difficult to spot skin problems on your long-haired Pomeranian, but any persistent scratching indicate an irritation. Whenever you groom him, look for the reddish spots that may indicate eczemas or some rash or fungus infection. Rather than self-treatment, take him to the vet as some of the conditions may be difficult to eradicate and can cause permanent harm to his coat.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Patent ductus arteriosus is the most common congenital heart disease in dogs and usually causes heart failure and death unless corrected at a young age. PDA occurs twice as often in females as in males, most commonly in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, German Shepherd Dogs, Toy and Miniature Poodles, Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Shetland Sheepdogs and Pomeranians. About half of untreated dogs develop left-sided heart failure by 8 months of age.


Cryptorchidism is a birth defect when one or both testes fail to descend normally. The testes (testicles) develop in the abdomen and gradually descend into the scrotum. They should be present there at birth, or shortly after. If they have not descended by the time the dog is adult, he is described as either unilateral chriptochid (when one testis is still retained in the abdomen), or a bilateral chriptochid (when both have not descended). Check with your vet during the time of vaccination.


Entropion is an eye defect when the eyelid turns in towards the eyeball, allowing the hairs or lashes to rub against the surface. Either upper or lower lids may be involved, or a combination of both. Most often both eyes are affected. This can be very painful, causing the eye to water and perhaps stain the hair on the face. Surgery is often required to correct the problem. Signs include excessive tearing, red eye and squinting. It may result in damage to the eye which may be severe enough to cause partial or complete loss of vision.


Hydrocephalus, commonly known as "water on the brain", is a condition in which excess fluid collects within the brain cavity of the skull. It can be a result of trauma, but in Pomeranians and some other dog breeds, it is believed to be hereditary. Affected dogs should NOT be bred. The affected puppy develops more slowly than his siblings. In adult dogs, circling, pacing, seizures and paralysis may occur.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation, also known as "slipping kneecaps", is an inherited joint problem in many breeds of dogs, including Pomeranian. The kneecap moves in a groove at the lower end of the thigh bone. Some dogs are born with a groove that is not deep enough so that the patella (kneecap) slips out of the groove. In this case you will notice your dog hop for a few steps. The condition is corrected surgically.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

Intervertebral disk disease, known as "slipped disc". The intervertebral discs are the joints of the spinal column. They have a primarily mechanical role in providing flexibility to the spinal column and absorb shock in motion. This disease is the most common cause of paralysis in dogs. The condition may result from a trauma or premature aging process. The dog may be reluctant to move or exercise and cry when moving. At the advanced stage of the disease, loss of coordination, weakness, paralysis, lameness, urinary incontinence may develop. The condition needs to be corrected surgically.


Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the dog's body underproduces thyroid hormones causing disruption of the dog metabolism. The disease is most often caused by destruction of the thyroid gland. Signs usually develop during middle age and may include dull, dry coat, laziness, symmetrical hair loss, weight gain and a tendency to seek warm places. The condition is treated with thyroid hormone medication.


Methemoglobinemia is the presence of methemoglobin in the blood. Methemoglobin is a particular type of hemoglobin that has been altered and become useless for carrying oxygen and delivering it to tissues throughout the body. The condition may be acquired anytime in life by exposure to a number of different chemicals, such as nitrites, naphthalene (mothballs), local anesthetics, nitrate-accumulating plants and chlorates, or it may be congenital due a genetic condition. Signs may include bluish discolorations on the body surfaces (cyanosis), rapid, shallow respiration, and fainting. In case of chlorates poisoning, diarrhea, excessive salivation, labored breathing and cyanosis may develop.

Cyclic hematopoiesis

Hematopoiesis is the production of all types of blood cells. When hematopoiesis is disrupted, the number of neutrophils (type of white blood cells responsible for fighting infections) drops thus increasing the dog's susceptibility to stomach and respiratory infections. The defect resides in the bone marrow. The gene responsible for this disorder is closely linked to grey color gene. This disease is called cyclic because the drops repeat every 12 days. It occurs most often in grey collies, and is believed to be inherited. Affected dogs die after weaning and rarely survive over 6 months of age.

Sebaceous Adenitis

Sebaceous adenitis (SA) is a hereditary immune skin disease. It cannot be cured, but can be treated. In SA the sebaceous glands that adjoin the hair follicles become inflamed and are gradually destroyed. Most common signs include excessive dandruff, skin lesions on the back and ears, patchy hair loss. If left untreated, skin bacterial infections may develop. The disease occurs in many dog breeds. Affected carriers must NOT be bred. Treatment with cyclosporine has been reported to reduce the inflammation and regenerate destructed sebaceous glands. Long-term treatment is necessary to control the disease.

Tracheal Collapse

The trachea (windpipe) consists of a number of cartilagenous rings connected together by an elastic ligament. The ends of the cartilage rings are connected by smooth muscles and tissues. Sometimes tracheal cartilage and muscles become weak. This anatomical deformity occurs in middle-aged and older small-breed dogs. Obesity increases the chances of tracheal collapse. Signs usually include "goose-honk" or "seal-bark" coughing. The condition is treated with surgical implants (ring prostheses). With affected dogs, a harness should be used rather than a dog collar.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative disease of the eye layer called retina. In most cases it is hereditary and eventually results in partial or total blindness. There is no cure for this disease. Dogs carrying the defective gene responsible for the mutation in the retina, should not be bred.


The cataract is described as hazing or clouding of the lens in the eye. Cataracts impair vision and eventually cause blindness (if left untreated), but in most cases can be remedied by an operation. Cataracts develop as a result of inflammation, trauma, underlying disease (such as diabetes), or may be present at birth (congenital).

With the proper series of inoculations, your Pomeranian will be almost completely protected against the following canine diseases: rabies, distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis. Respiratory diseases may affect the Pomeranian dog or puppy. In general, a dog will lick his cuts and wounds and they'll heal. If he swallows anything harmful, chances are he'll throw it up. But it will make you feel better to help him if he's hurt, so treat his wounds as you would your own. Wash out the dirt and apply an antiseptic or ointment. You can tape up his nails to keep him from scratching, or make a "bootie" for his paws. It happens because he is forced to live in a human rather than a natural doggy environment. Being subjected to a draft or cold after a bath, sleeping near the air conditioner or in the path of air from a fan can cause one of these respiratory ailments: coughs, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia. The signs are similar to those in humans. However, the germs of these diseases are different and do not affect both dogs and humans so they cannot catch them from each other. Keep the puppy warm, quiet, well fed. Your vet has antibiotics and other remedies to help the puppy fight back. See if he doesn't overexercise himself.

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