Lhasa Apso health problems

Eye problems

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or dry eye)

Dry eye disease happens when the tear production is decreased or less than it should be, leading to a reduced moistening of the surface of the eye. If this is the case, you might notice a greenish, mucoid discharge and that the structures surrounding the eyes (sclera or conjunctiva) are becoming red.

If left untreated, dry eye disease can lead to bacterial infection of the conjunctiva, to ulceration of the cornea (the most outer layer of the eye globe) and chronic pain. Diagnosis is very quick (by using a small strip of paper to measure tear production).

Even though it cannot be cured, KCS can be efficiently managed by daily use of eye drops.

Bone and joint problems

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral disc disease or slipped disc happens in dogs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spine bulge or burst into the spinal cord space.

There are two types of IVDD and Lhasa Apsos commonly display Type 1, when the outer layer of the disc hardens allowing damage to the disc itself, which - after a forceful impact like jumping or landing - will burst.  When it happens, crying in pain will be the most predominant sign, along with lameness, arched back or anxious behaviour, especially when being gently stroked on the spine.

These signs require urgent veterinary attention, during which your veterinarian will perform a complete neurologic exam, often completed with imaging procedure, like an MRI.

Depending on how severe the condition is, management can vary from pain relief or physiotherapy to surgical treatment.

You can help prevent IVDD in your Lhasa Apso by keeping them at a healthy, lean weight, hence reducing the stress of their spine.

Lhasa Apso at the sea

Patellar Luxation

Commonly seen in small dog breeds like the Lhasa Apso, patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap (patella) moves sideways from the groove where it is meant to lie. This condition is inherited and while some dogs with patellar luxation will not show any sign of pain, some may become chronically lame and be in some discomfort.

Diagnosis is made by a simple physical examination at the vets and can be corrected by surgery, as well as helped with alternative therapy like hydrotherapy or acupuncture.

While it’s not always painful, the regular sideways movement of the patella can lead to significant arthritis and in severe cases, can also predispose to further knee injury like cruciate ligament rupture.

Skin problems

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common condition in which allergens present in the environment cause an allergic reaction of the skin. Common allergens include pollen or house dust. Presence of other allergens like fleas and mites or hormonal diseases can amplify or sometimes even hide the atopic disease.

The disease is commonly characterised by extensive itching, redness of the skin as well as the presence of ulcers or crust, with or without hair loss. Depending on the cause of your dog’s reaction, these symptoms may be seasonal.

Even though diagnosis can be straightforward, identifying the allergen and managing the disease often requires the help of a veterinary dermatologist.

Stomach problems

Pyloric Stenosis

Pyloric Stenosis is the narrowing of the exit area of the stomach preventing a part of the ingested food travelling down the intestines for further digestion.  Symptoms will not show in the first years of life but chronic vomiting and regurgitation, as well as weight loss, are common signs and problems associated with the condition.

Diagnosis often requires extensive studies with a specific x-ray capture that may indicate the restricted outflow, but surgery may also be needed for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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