Miniature Pinschers are classified as toy breed dogs. They are intelligent, energetic, and strong willed. Generally, they enjoy good health and live long lives (up to 17 years). However, just like any breed, they are prone to certain health problems that typically affect Min Pins.
Here is an overview of the most common problems of Miniature Pinscher:
Alopecia in dogs is a medical term for full or partial fur loss. It is often a symptom of other health conditions, like: allergies, certain parasites, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, or even nutritional deficiencies. Treatment for alopecia depends on the treatment of the underlying problem that caused it. It is important, then, to have the dog examined and properly diagnosed by a veterinarian.
Cataracts, similar like in humans, affect the lenses of dog's eyes. The disease starts as a minor clouding of the eye and it usually progresses until the dog becomes blind (either partially or fully). Cataracts can be inherited or may develop as a result of another health issue, like diabetes. They usually develop in older dogs, but may happen at any age. Cataracts are treated with surgery.
There is no possible way to prevent cataracts, but to minimize the risk, you should buy your puppy from a certified breeder. Ask for the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) certification of the dog's parents. You can also access the information on the CERF website to see if your puppy's parents have a history of inherited eye problems.
Corneal dystrophy is a genetic disease of the eyes in which lipid or calcium accumulates in the dog's cornea. The calcium or lipid deposits are often located either in the outer layer or the middle layer of the cornea. The affected dog's eyes will have cloudy white spots on its eyes. The condition may result in blindness. Corneal dystrophy can develop on its own, be inherited, or happen as a result of another condition, like: an eye inflammation or a metabolic disorder.
Corneal dystrophy is treated by removing the white matter from the dog's eyes, but it is not uncommon for it to reappear. Some veterinarians recommend putting the dog on a diet that contains less than 10% fat, which may reduce the white spots. As in the case of other inherited eye diseases, your Miniature Pinscher breeder should provide you with the CERF certificate.
Diabetes mellitus is a problem of the insulin hormone, which is responsible for metabolizing sugar. There are two types of diabetes mellitus: the most common - type I, in which the dog does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin and type II, in which insulin cannot be utilized. The most common symptoms of diabetes mellitus are: excessive thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, blindness, and overall weakness. The disease often affects older female dogs, especially if they aren't spayed because estrogen might alter insulin levels in the dog's body.
Entropion is a deformation of the eyelid in which the eyelid turns inward. It may affect one or both eyes. It may irritate the eye and, in the long run, could result in corneal ulcers. The condition can be a hereditary or acquired - caused by other eye diseases. It is treated by corrective surgery. To minimize the risk of your Min Pin getting entropion, make sure the breeding dogs are CERF certified.
Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by excessive fluid pressure inside the dog's eyeball. It usually leads to poor vision and blindness. The dog's eye will look irritated and red, pupils may be dilated. The dog can either be born with the disease due to eye abnormalities, which is called primary glaucoma, or it can acquire glaucoma as a result of another condition, like a tumor, lens luxation, etc. - secondary glaucoma.
Glaucoma is treated with surgery and/or medications, depending on the stage of the disease and its cause.
A hernia is condition where one part of the body protrudes into another part of the body through an opening or a tear. The dog may be born with it, or he may acquire it later on, especially after an injury. Hernias are usually corrected surgically, but if the hernia is small and does not cause the dog any problems, it can be controlled through diet and medication.
Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease of the hip joint. If not treated, it will get progressively worse and eventually cause arthritis. Symptoms of hip dysplasia depend on the stage of the disease and may involve: limping, lameness, hind leg pain, and arthritis. Oftentimes, the dog with mild hip dysplasia does not show any symptoms until the joint is severely malformed. The disease is usually associated with medium and large breed dogs, but it can also affect Miniature Pinschers. Treatment for hip dysplasia depends on progression of the disease and may involve medications and /or surgery.
Hip dysplasia is thought to be hereditary and most reputable breeders have their dogs tested and certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, also called dry eye, is an eye condition caused by insufficient production of tears by the tear gland. Symptoms may include: a red eye, white or green eye discharge, and a glossy film covering the eye. If untreated, it may lead to other eye disorders and may even result in poor vision. The disease is often the result of an autoimmune problem in which the dog's immune system attacks the tear gland. However, it can also be caused by other factors, like: reaction to medication, infections, corneal ulcerations, nerve damage, or trauma to the gland.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is treated with medications, like: artificial tear drops, ointments, antibiotics, steroids, or drugs that affect the dog's immune system. Sometimes, surgery may be required.
Legg-Calve Perthes (also called Legg disease, Calve disease, coxa plana, osteochondritis juvenilis, or avascular necrosis of the femoral head) is a disorder of the hip joint in which blood flow to the hind leg's bone which fits into the hip socket (femoral head bone) is restricted. Limited blood flow eventually causes the femoral head to die. Symptoms may include: limping, pain in the hip, chewing at the hip, lameness, and muscle loss in the affected leg. Surgery of the hip is usually required and is often followed by physical therapy.
Legg-Calve Perthes occurs in puppies of small breeds like Miniature Pinschers. It is said to be hereditary, but it may also be caused by injury or hormonal imbalances.
Luxating patella or dislocated kneecap is usually caused by an injury, but it can also be inherited. The condition is common in small breeds and can range from mild to severe cases. It can affect one or both knees. Symptoms may include: limping, pain in the knee, jerking of the leg when walking or running. Treatment depends on severity of the condition. In mild cases, the luxating patella can be adjusted by the vet and then treated with glucosamine and other joint supplements. In severe cases, knee surgery is performed. In both situations, the dog should be restricted from exercise until full recovery and fed a proper diet to prevent excessive weight gain, which could make the case worse.
Pannus, also called chronic superficial keratitis, is an eye disorder in which there is an inflammation of the cornea. It usually affects both eyes of the dog. Symptoms may include: discomfort and even pain in the eye, frequent blinking, discoloration of the eye, and loss of vision.
Pannus is hereditary and, unfortunately, incurable. The inflammation can be reduced with medication, but the dog will have to take that medication for the rest of his life.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), also called progressive retinal degeneration (PRD), is an inherited eye disease that affects the retina and eventually leads to blindness. The retina is the rear part of the eye that allows the dog to see. Deterioration of the retina always results in loss of vision. Symptoms may include: night blindness - in the early stages of the disease, dilated pupils, and progressively, complete blindness. Currently, there is no treatment for PRA.
Urolithiasis is a condition of the urinary tract in which small deposits of minerals, called stones or bladder stones, form in different sections of the tract, but are usually found in the bladder. Symptoms may include: pain while urinating, straining to urinate, excessive urination, accidents in the house, blood in urine, vomiting, or loss of appetite. The formation of the stones may be triggered by bacterial infections of the urinary tract, but also can be a result of congenital defects, like portosystemic shunt (condition of the liver).
Treatment varies depending on size, location, and amount of stones present. Special prescription food may be required that is supposed to break up smaller stones. Large stones that block the urinary tract can be removed surgically. In case of infection, antibiotics are required.
There are many other health conditions that could affect Miniature Pinschers. If your dog is showing any symptoms of sickness, it is best to take the dog to the vet immediately rather than trying to guess what the problem is. On the other hand, even if the condition is very common to the breed, it does not mean that your dog will be affected.