Genetic predispositions doesn’t necessarily mean your Pom will have any of these conditions. This blog is educate and inform of potential issues and stress the importance of annual check ups and routine testing to detect any early warnings and prevent any potential issues before they become more serious conditions.
Poms are susceptible to a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosis, in which a small vessel that carries blood between two parts of the heart does not close shortly after birth. This results in too much blood being carried to the lungs, fluid build-up, and strain on the heart. Outward signs may be mild or you may see coughing, fatigue during exercise, weight loss, shortness of breath, or weakness in the hind limbs.
Heart failure is a leading cause of death among Pomeranians in their former years. Most heart disease in dogs is caused by weakening of a valve and it slowly becomes deformed so that it no longer closes tightly. Blood then leaks back around this valve and strains the heart. This is called a heart murmur.
Sometimes the sinus node, which is the part of the electrical system that signals the heart to beat, doesn’t work properly. If your Pom has this condition, called sick sinus syndrome, they will have a very low heart rate and may faint with exercise. Mild cases can be treated with medication. If their symptoms are more severe, they may need more advanced care, like a pace maker.
Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Poms. This causes the lenses of their eyes to become more opaque (cloudy). Many dogs adjust well to losing their vision and get along just fine. Surgery to remove cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). This is an extremely irritating and painful condition that can ultimately lead to blindness. Surgical correction is usually successful if performed early.
Distichiasis is a condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside of the eyelid and rub on the surface of the eye. If untreated, these abnormal hairs can cause corneal ulcers and chronic eye pain. Several treatment options are available, and the prognosis is good once the hairs have been permanently removed.
Bone and Joint Problems
Sometimes your Pom’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of place (called patellar luxation). You might notice that he/she runs along and suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides. Then they kick their leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and then they are fine again. If the problem is mild they may just require arthritis medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from popping out of place.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Pomeranians are more likely than other breeds to have instability in the first two neck vertebrae (called the atlantal and the axial vertebrae). This can cause a sudden spinal-cord injury in the neck. If your dog is suddenly unable or unwilling to jump up or go up stairs, cries for no apparent reason, or tries to turn or lower their head when you pick them up, they are in pain.
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common condition in Poms. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. If your dog is suddenly unable or unwilling to jump up, go up stairs, is reluctant to move around, has a hunched back, cries out, or refuses to eat or go potty, they are likely in severe pain. They may even drag their back feet or be suddenly paralyzed and unable to get up or use their back legs.
If your Pom has an inherited condition called Hyperuricosuria (HU), they will have more uric acid in their urine. Uric acid acts like fertilizer for bladder stones and sometimes kidney stone development. Once stones are present they often must be removed surgically.
Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME)
GME is an acute, progressive inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). It can cause severe and often irreversible damage to the brain. Middle aged, small breed dogs such as Pomeranians are more susceptible. The cause is unknown. Three syndromes of GME have been recognized, and symptoms may be acute, leading rapidly to death, or they may chronically progress over several months. Response to therapy is variable and the prognosis is generally poor.
Water on the Brain
Hydrocephalus occurs when fluid builds up inside the skull and puts pressure on the brain. It is often present when the skull bones don’t fuse properly. Signs include seizures, difficulty training the puppy, dulled mental function, circling, and a spastic gait. It is usually diagnosed early in life, but occasionally we diagnose it in adult dogs.
The trachea, or windpipe, is made up of rings of cartilage. This. structure provides flexibility and strength. In Pomeranians, the cartilage rings are sometimes weak or have formed incorrectly. The trachea can collapse and become too narrow, which leads to coughing and difficulty breathing. Most cases of tracheal collapse are mild and are treated symptomatically with medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option.
Teeth abnormalities are often genetically induced and are relatively common in dogs, especially in dogs like your Pom. An overbite or underbite is called a malocclusion,. Oligodontia is a condition where only a few teeth are present. Misaligned teeth can also occur and cause lots of problems, but can usually be corrected with braces or extractions.
Poms are prone to a variety of skin problems, including one called sebaceous adenitis. You may notice that your dog has dry, scaly skin with patches of hair loss along the top of his head, back of the neck, and back.
Alopecia X or adrenal sex-hormone imbalance is known to causes patchy hair loss. It can also cause a fuzzy or woolly coat on each side of their body. Neutering often resolves the problem.
Poms are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Signs can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes.
If you notice any of these issues or just want to have your Pomeranian examined please contact Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital at 201-646-2008 or visit us at www.meadowlandsvethospial.con