Health Issues

The life expectancy of the Standard Poodle is between 12 -14 years, the miniature 12-15 years .  Like all dog breeds--and humans--poodles may have health problems, some common among all dogs and some specific to the breed and even to one Poodle variety. These health issues can and do effect many other breeds including the new designer mixes. Even when breeding tested clear parents there is no 100% guarantee that your puppy will not develop one or all of these problems. Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder who tests breeding stock increases your chances of getting a healthy puppy. With today's exciting era of DNA technology researchers are on the fast track to find abnormal genes and develop more tests to help eradicate genetic disease. Here are some health issues of concern to Poodle owners:
  • Addisons Disease - A disorder caused by a deficiency in adreno cortical hormonesmost commonly occurring in young to middle aged dogs.
  • Bloat/Gastric Torsion - A life threatening condition that occurs when the stomach swells with gas and then twists cutting off its blood supply.
  • Cushings Disease - This is a disease that occurs from the overproduction of cortisone by the adrenal glands. There are many warning signs of Cushings. Some of the more common ones are: excessive appetite, drinking large amounts of water, frequent urination, large pot belly, thin skin, hair loss on the body, thinning of hair and drastic change of texture of hair. This is usually seen in older dogs, but can begin much earlier in life. It can be very slow in progressing. There are tests to tell you if your dog has Cushings. If you suspect it, call your vet and get proper testing done to get a correct diagnosis.
  • Entropian - An eye condition in which the eyelids are grown inward, causing the eye lashes to come into contact with the eye itself.
  • Epilepsy -The most common cause is idiopathic epilepsy which is an inherited form of epilepsy. However, many factors can cause seizures besides idiopathic epilepsy.  Thus, when a dog begins to have seizures, it is very important for the dog to receive a thorough diagnostic work-up to determine the cause.
  • Hip Dysplasia - A condition in which the head of the femur fits improperly into the hip joint socket, causing pain and lameness. This misalignment can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, with proper diet and exercise the animal can lead a full and active life. In more severe cases surgical correction or euthanasia are the only alternatives. Diagnosis is generally done with an X-ray. The two preferred testing and rating systems for this condition are Pennhip and OFA certification.
  • Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEwS) is a fatal disease of the brain in newborn Standard Poodles. Affected pups are weak, uncoordinated, and mentally dull from birth. If they survive the first few days, their growth may be stunted. When normal puppies in the litter start walking, some pups with NEwS cannot stand at all and others struggle to their feet with jerky steps, falling frequently. Seizures develop in most at 4-5 weeks, and the puppies die or are euthanized before they reach weaning age. Researchers have identified the gene mutation that causes NEwS, and a DNA test is now available that allows breeders to avoid producing affected puppies by never breeding two dogs to each other if they are both carriers of the abnormal gene.
  • Patellar luxation- is the dislocation (slipping) of the patella (kneecap). In dogs the patella is a small bone that shields the front of the stifle joint. This bone is held in place by ligaments. As the knee joint is moved, the patella slides in a grove in the femur. The kneecap may dislocate toward the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the leg. This condition may be the result of injury or congenital deformities (present at birth). Patellar luxation can affect either or both legs. The most common occurrence of luxating patella is the medial presentation in small or miniature dog breeds. Shallow femoral groove, weak ligaments and malalignment of the tendons and muscles that straighten the joint are all conditions that will predispose a dog toward luxating patellae.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)- refers to a group of diseases affecting the retina at the back of the eye. These diseases cause the retinal cells to become increasingly abnormal over time. In most cases, the eventual outcome is blindness. Some form of PRA has been recognized in over 100 dog breeds, including Toy and Miniature Poodles. PRA is inherited, meaning the disease genes that cause PRA are passed from generation to generation. In Toy and Miniature Poodles, one specific type of inherited PRA predominates, although at least one more type is present at a low frequency in the breed. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for PRA. A DNA test offered by OptiGen is available to detect the genetic mutation that causes prcd-PRA in dogs
  • Sebaceous Adenitis - A chronic skin disorder resulting from abnormal and/or inflamed, or in some cases a total absence of, sebaceous glands. Symptoms include hair loss, formation of silver-gray scales and secondary skin infections with an offensive odor. Therapeutic baths and antibiotics for secondary infections are the recommended treatments.
  • Von Willebrand's Disease - A disorder that involves a tendency to bleed easily, is caused by a deficiency in the von Willebrand factor, a protein found in the blood plasma.
Environment, diet, and medical care all play a vital role in your Poodle's health and life span. Please see my puppy page & links page for valuable information regarding vaccinations and diet.