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Know the Signs: 5 Most Common Health Issues in Pekingese

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on May 26, 2023

The Pekingese, a breed with a distinctive appearance and a storied history, is a well-loved companion dog known for its courage and dignity. Although the breed is generally healthy, Pekingese dogs are predisposed to certain health conditions. By understanding these common issues, owners can recognize the signs early and ensure their pets get the best care possible.

  1. Brachycephalic Syndrome

Due to their unique head shape, Pekingese dogs are prone to Brachycephalic Syndrome, a condition affecting dogs with short noses and flat faces. This syndrome is characterized by narrow nostrils, a long soft palate, and sometimes a narrow trachea, leading to breathing difficulties. Symptoms can include noisy breathing, snoring, coughing, gagging, or in severe cases, fainting, especially after exertion. If you notice your Pekingese struggling to breathe or overheating quickly, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately. Management may involve weight control, avoiding overheating, or surgical intervention in severe cases.

  1. Eye Problems

Pekingese dogs have prominent eyes that are susceptible to a variety of issues, including corneal ulcers, dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Watch for excessive tearing, redness, cloudiness, squinting, or rubbing at the eyes. Regular check-ups can help catch and treat these problems early, preserving your pet’s vision and comfort.

  1. Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

Due to their long backs and short legs, Pekingese are prone to IVDD, a condition where the cushioning disks between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space. This can lead to pain, nerve damage, or even paralysis. Signs include crying out in pain, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, weakness in the legs, and in severe cases, loss of bladder or bowel control. If you observe these symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment can range from medication and rest to surgery, depending on the severity.

  1. Heart Disease

Pekingese are at a higher risk for heart diseases, particularly Mitral Valve Disease, which affects the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently. Symptoms can include coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. If you notice these signs in your Pekingese, it’s crucial to visit your vet. Early detection can lead to treatments that slow disease progression and improve quality of life.

  1. Skin Problems

Finally, Pekingese dogs are known to have sensitive skin that can be prone to infections and allergies. Allergies can lead to itchy skin, redness, and recurrent ear infections. Look for signs such as frequent scratching, licking, biting at the skin, or bald spots. Regular grooming and attention to skin changes can help detect these issues early. If you suspect an allergy, your vet can help determine the cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

In conclusion, while the Pekingese breed can be prone to certain health issues due to their unique physical traits, most live healthy and happy lives when given appropriate care. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and a good exercise routine are key. Remember, early detection is essential, and being aware of these common health problems in Pekingese will ensure your cherished pet lives a long, comfortable life.

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