What Are The Shih Tzu Diseases? Discover Now

In this blog, I will tell you everything about the Shih Tzu diseases and issues, shedding light on the concerning Shih Tzu disease symptoms. Shih Tzus, those delightful and affectionate companions, are not immune to health challenges. By understanding the common Shih Tzu diseases and their symptoms, you can ensure the well-being of your furry friend. Let’s explore these topics in simple, straightforward language, ensuring that you’re well-informed about your Shih Tzu’s health.

What Are The Shih Tzu Diseases? Discover Now

Shih Tzu Diseases

Generally, Shih Tzus are healthy dogs, and good breeders take measures to screen for common health conditions like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), and eye problems, as stated by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The cute and lovable appearance of the modern Shih Tzu comes from a mix of Lhasa Apso and Pekingese breeds. However, these adorable features can also lead to some health challenges.

Shih Tzu Known Health Issues

Pigmentary Keratitis in Shih Tzu

When it comes to health problems in Shih Tzus, their eyes are particularly vulnerable. One issue they can face is keratitis. It is an inflammation of the cornea, which is a really serious thing.

 If left untreated, it can lead to an ulcer. In some cases, surgery might be necessary to treat a corneal ulcer. Sadly, if keratitis becomes severe, it can cause blindness.

Proptosis (Bulging Eye Disease):

One more health problem that can affect Shih Tzus is proptosis. It’s when the eyeball pops out of its socket, and the eyelids close behind it. It is such a painful thing! If this happens, it’s a severe emergency. You must take your dog to a vet right away.

Shih Tzu Joint Issues

Shih Tzu Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is a common issue in Shih Tzu dogs where their kneecap gets dislocated. It cause walking problems for Shih Tzu Pups. Some dogs may show occasional limping.

 Others may become completely unable to move, which is really disappointing. This condition can lead to arthritis and other orthopedic problems as the dog gets older, so it’s essential to address it.

Signs to look out for include an abnormal gait and difficulty walking or jumping. Signs of pain or lameness in the back legs. 

Treatments range from arthritis medication and joint supplements to weight management solutions. Severe cases may require corrective surgery based on the dog’s pain and mobility level.

Shih Tzu Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that is commonly associated with larger dog breeds. It can also affect your beloved Shih Tzu. But it occurs when there is a misalignment in the hip joint. It leads to degenerative joint disease or arthritis. And it often worsens with age. 

It causes pain and difficulty walking. To identify hip dysplasia, look out for signs such as limping or an unusual walking pattern in your dog. They may struggle to jump onto beds or in and out of cars, which used to be easy for them in the first place. In severe cases, the pain may make it hard for them to stand up from lying down. It’s a sad condition for them as they can’t move much. 

Fortunately, there are solutions to help your furry pup. In extreme cases, surgery can be an option to restore mobility. Medications and calming aids can help remove the pain and allow your Shih Tzu to resume their normal activities. Be more empathetic to your dog in this tough time.

Prevention is also essential when it comes to joint problems like hip dysplasia. Be mindful during playtime and exercise. Avoid activities that involve jumping from high places or landing on hard surfaces. Your veterinarian can guide you on joint supplements that may reduce inflammation as your pet ages, potentially preventing walking difficulties in the future. 

Your little concerned steps can save them a thousand times, and your furry pup will be just fine.

Shih Tzu Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a condition that affects certain breeds like Shih Tzus, causing breathing difficulties due to their unique body structure. It’s a general term covering four main issues: stenotic nares (narrow nostrils), elongated soft palate, collapsed larynx (voice box), and trachea problems (abnormally small or collapsed windpipe). 

Among Shih Tzus, the most common problems are collapsed trachea, elongated palate, and stenotic nares. About half of the Shih Tzus with this syndrome have both elongated palate and stenotic nares.

These issues individually can lead to breathing problems, but if a dog has two or all three of them, breathing can become severely impaired. Stenotic nares result in narrowed nostril openings, while an elongated palate causes abnormal tissue growth at the back of the throat. Collapsed trachea happens when the cartilage rings in the neck weaken or collapse inward.

While dogs are born with this condition, symptoms may not show up until later in life, typically between the ages of 1 to 6.

The symptoms include coughing, noisy breathing, and difficulty breathing, which may worsen during or after exercise. In severe cases, the lack of oxygen can cause the dog’s lips or gums to turn blue, and the dog may even lose consciousness.

Managing the condition involves lifestyle changes, like using a collar instead of a leash, limiting and timing exercise, and using specific medications to alleviate symptoms. However, surgery is often recommended, especially if a Shih Tzu experiences multiple health issues related to the airway.

Collapsing Trachea in Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus can sometimes experience a problem with their windpipe called collapsing trachea. This happens when the cartilage in the trachea weakens, causing it to flatten. Because of such a condition, your beloved dog may have trouble breathing. It can be risky for their health. In serious cases, there’s a surgery option to correct the issue and help improve their breathing. It is a serious matter, do not make any delay about it.

Hypothyroidism in Shih Tzu

Hypothyroidism in Shih Tzus is when the thyroid gland doesn’t work properly. It badly affects their metabolism. It can happen at any age but is more common in older dogs. The symptoms are – hair loss, weakness, and weight gain. It is a matter of real concern. If left untreated, it could lead to a coma because they are really vulnerable in case of feeding problems. The good news is that this health problem can be treated and managed effectively with medication. So, with your proper care and love for your pup, Shih Tzus can live a healthy life despite this condition.

Shih Tzu Diseases – Breathing Problems

Shih Tzus belongs to a breed with a flat face, which can lead to a condition called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. This means they may have narrow nostrils, an elongated soft palate, and tissue that gets sucked into their airway when they breathe. 

These abnormalities can make breathing harder and even dangerous for them. If your Shih Tzu snores, breathes noisily, has trouble with exercise, or can’t tolerate heat well, they might be experiencing these issues.

Other signs include coughing, gagging, retching, and vomiting, which can worsen in hot or humid weather. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight and monitoring their exercise can help with milder cases. It’s essential to avoid exposing them to hot and humid conditions and minimize stress.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Procedures like removing tissue from the nostrils, shortening the elongated palate, or taking out the everted laryngeal saccules might be required to improve their breathing, as advised by veterinarians at the VCA Hospitals.

Intervertebral Disk – Shih Tzu Diseases

Intervertebral Disk Disease is commonly found in dogs with shorter legs and large backs. It can be risky for their spine’s structure. It is a painful condition, and it controls their fluent movement. And it happens when a disk slips out and puts pressure on the spinal cord.

This condition leads to muscle spasms, weakness in limbs, difficulty walking, and extreme sensitivity to touch. Your loving dog will face an extremely hard time if this happens. 

As the disease advances, it may even cause complete paralysis in the dog. This can be really frustrating for your dog and you, also, right? Surely, there are treatments, medications, and surgical options that can help decrease or manage the symptoms of Intervertebral Disk Disease.

Shih Tzu Diseases – Dental Issues

Shih Tzus are beloved for their adorable squishy flat faces, but this cute feature can cause problems with their teeth.

Because of their small jaws, these flat-faced dogs, including Shih Tzus, often experience dental crowding and misalignment.

As a result, they have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. To keep your Shih Tzu healthy, it’s crucial to regularly clean and take care of their teeth. Yeah, they are also like humans!

Watch out for symptoms of periodontal disease, such as bad breath, tooth root abscesses, loose or missing teeth, tartar buildup on teeth, difficulty eating or chewing, and pawing at the face or mouth. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address their dental health promptly.

Shih Tzu Genetic Disorders Disease

Shih Tzu Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a condition where the cells in the eye’s retina slowly degenerate, causing eventual blindness. It’s a genetic issue with no known external causes or ways to prevent or cure it. So, if your dog is diagnosed with it, the most important thing is to help them adjust to living without sight and provide the support they need to navigate their world. Your empathy, in this case, will make their life easier!

Cataracts in Shih Tzu  

If your furry friend’s eye appears cloudy or hazy, they might have cataracts. These are usually passed down through generations, but injuries or diabetes can also trigger them. Older Shih Tzus, around 8 years or older, are more prone to cataracts. Ignoring the issue can make cataracts cover more of the eye’s lens, making your dog’s vision worse and potentially causing more health troubles for your Shih Tzu. It is also hazardous for their regular movements. So it’s essential to get them proper care and treatment.

Shih Tzu Hypoallergenic Dogs disease

While Shih Tzus are often considered hypoallergenic due to their minimal shedding, they can still experience allergy issues themselves.

Allergies are relatively common in Shih Tzus, and those with longer hair, like the Shih Tzu, may be more susceptible to skin irritation and infections, which can worsen allergy symptoms. Regular grooming and good hygiene practices can help reduce the risk of such problems.

Up to 20% of dogs are estimated to develop allergies during their lifetime.

Shih Tzus can experience different types of allergies:

Environmental Allergies: They might be allergic to pollen, dust, mold, and other indoor or outdoor allergens.

Contact Allergies: Allergic reactions can occur from contact with certain materials like fabrics, cleaning products, or shampoos.

Food Allergies: While rare, some Shih Tzus may develop allergies to specific types of food, such as beef, chicken, dairy, or grains.

Symptoms of allergies in Shih Tzus can include face rubbing, itchy skin and rear, licking their feet, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing or reverse sneezing, and runny discharge from the eyes or nose. Some dogs may also experience chronic gas or stomach problems.

Shih Tzu Dog Health Issues

Usually, Shih Tzu dogs are pretty healthy, but like all pets, they can sometimes have health issues. It would be wonderful if they never got sick! But by knowing about these typical dog health problems, you can do your best to keep your furry friend joyful and well.


In conclusion, awareness of Shih Tzu diseases and issues, along with the ability to recognize Shih Tzu disease symptoms, is crucial for responsible pet ownership. By keeping your Shih Tzu’s health a top priority and staying informed about potential ailments, you can provide them with a happy and healthy life. I hope this guide has equipped you with the knowledge you need to safeguard your beloved Shih Tzu from these common health challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

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