Health Concerns

Like many highly developed dogs, Shih Tzus as a breed suffer numerous health issues. The more common Shih Tzu health issues include: Achondroplasia, Atopy, Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, Caruncular Trichiasis, Cataracts, Cleft Palate, Corneal Ulcers, Distichiasis, Endocardiosis (Heart Disease), Entropion, Familial Renal Disease, Hip Dysplasia, Intervertebral Disk Disease, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Micropapilla, Perianal Gland Adenomas, Portosystemic Shunt, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Renal Dysplasia, Sebaceous Gland Tumors, Tracheal Collapse, Urolithiasis and Ventricular Septal Defect. Some of these are further explained below.

You’d be surprised at the number of Shih Tzu health issues you could actually diagnose and treat yourself, at a fraction of the cost of taking your Shih Tzu to the vet. Written by vet John Bleby, The Dog’s Health from A-Z: A Canine Veterinary Dictionary, descibes how many canine illnesses can be self-diagnosed and treated, or avoided altogether, with a little knowledge and understanding. While this book cannot take the place of your vet, it certainly demonstrates that there’s much you can do to prevent many problems occurring in the first place. We are more than happy to recommend this excellent book which is certain to pay for itself in the fullness of time!

Please note however, the fact that the Shih Tzu as a breed may be susceptible to these illnesses does not necessarily mean that your Shih Tzu puppy will develop any of them. We list them here purely as a guide only.

Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopaedic disease in dogs. While this progressive disease affects mainly the larger breeds of dog, it also occurs in many of the smaller breeds including the Shih Tzu. This problem can be made worse, particularly for Shih Tzus, by carrying excess weight as a result of overfeeding by well-meaning but over indulgent Shih Tzu owners.

Cleft Palate (Palatoschisis)
Cleft Palate is another congenital birth defect caused by the unnatural compression of the head of the Shih Tzu and other Brachycephalic breeds of dog.

Entropion
A congenital medical condition, Entropion can be found in many dog breeds, including the Shih Tzu. It results in the eyelids folding inwards and causing discomfort when the eyelashes constantly rub against the cornea. Providing it is noticed early enough before the cornea is damaged, this condition can be treated by a relatively simple operation in which the excess skin of the outer eyelid is removed.

We would thoroughly recommend you take out insurance cover for your Shih Tzu. For the cheapest Shih Tzu insurance, please visit Compare Dog Insurance.