If you’re like many dog owners, your pet is family: confidante, companion, and friend. If he also happens to be a pug, there are some health issues that you should know about and understand. Being aware of your pug’s potential health problems will help you to be a better pet parent. It may even save his (her) life one day.
Pug Specific Tracheal Collapse
Pugs have a delicate windpipe that can collapse easily. Breathing through a collapsed windpipe sounds harsher than normal ‘pug’ breathing and has been compared to a honking goose. The condition will worsen when your pug is straining on the leash, drinking water, eating, under stress, or excited. The condition is serious but can usually be successfully treated.
Elongated Soft Palate Problems in Pugs
An inherited abnormally, a long soft palate can extend into the throat, causing breathing complications. A vet can diagnose the condition and give you recommendations on trimming the palate.
Dry Eye in Pugs
Dry eye (Keratoconjuctivitis sicca) occurs when the tear glands provide inadequate moisture to the eye. Although there are environmental factors that can lead to dry eye, in pugs it is usually inherited. Left untreated, dry eye can lead to infection, scarring, pigmentary keratitis, and blindness. It will typically present in both eyes and require treatment for the life of your pet. Watch for a chronic, thick discharge from the eyes, redness, and scratching. If diagnosed early, most pugs respond well to treatment.
Entropion in Pugs
Entropion is also a congenital eye condition in which the eyelid rolls in, resulting in the eyelashes touching the surface of the eye. This can occur with either the upper or lower lid, and usually involves both eyes as well. Watch for squinting and frequent tearing. Entropion can be successfully treated with surgery.
Pug Encephalitis (Pug Dog Encephalitis – PDE)
PDE is a fatal condition that results from the inflammation and death of brain tissue. An affected animal will look as though he has a stiff neck. This will progress to seizures, depression, staggering, and blindness. Pugs will usually start to show symptoms before they are two years old, although the onset of symptoms can be delayed to the age of about seven in a small percentage of pugs.
Hip Dysplasia in Pugs
A malformation of the hip joints, hip dysplasia causes excruciating pain. It often doesn’t present in pugs until they are two to three years old. Sometimes the condition can be treated surgically. If this is not the case with your pet, pain medication, warm bedding, regulated weight, and regular light exercise can help control secondary symptoms like arthritis and manage the pain associated with this condition.
Portosystemic Liver Shunt and Pugs
Usually affecting young pugs, liver shunts can present as seizures, walking in circles, and drooling. An overall smallness in size can also be a warning sign. Both internal and external shunts can be controlled with a combination of medication and diet. Treatment methods have improved over the years, and the prognosis for this condition is good.
Your pug is a powerhouse of personality, but he’s also more delicate than he might look. Keep his facial folds clean in order to avoid dermatitis, his fur brushed to guard against hot spots, and keep him out of the heat and humidity. Yearly medical visits can help keep him healthy and prolong his life. Be aware of pug related health problems in order to recognize the signs of trouble, and discuss them with your vet immediately. You’ll be glad you did.