Yorkshire Terrier Health Tests: What to Screen For

Yorkshire Terrier Health Tests: What to Screen For

In order to ensure the well-being of your Yorkshire Terrier, it is essential to be aware of the specific health tests that should be conducted. Yorkshire Terriers are prone to certain health conditions, and by conducting these tests, you can detect potential issues early on and take necessary preventive measures. This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights into the important health tests that should be performed on Yorkshire Terriers, helping you keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

Common Health Issues in Yorkshire Terriers

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a common health issue that affects Yorkshire Terriers. This condition occurs when the kneecap, also known as the patella, slips out of its normal position. It can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty in walking or running for your Yorkshire Terrier. Patellar luxation can be congenital, meaning it is present at birth, or it can develop as a result of injury or trauma.

Regular screening and early detection of patellar luxation are crucial to prevent further complications. Your veterinarian may perform a physical examination and recommend X-rays to assess the severity of the luxation. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition, ranging from non-surgical management, such as pain management and physical therapy, to surgical intervention to realign the kneecap.

Portosystemic Shunt

Portosystemic shunt, also known as liver shunt, is another health issue that can affect Yorkshire Terriers. This condition occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the portal vein and the systemic circulation, bypassing the liver’s normal filtering function. As a result, toxins that should be removed by the liver can circulate throughout the body, leading to various symptoms.

Some common signs of portosystemic shunt in Yorkshire Terriers include stunted growth, poor appetite, vomiting, urinary tract issues, and neurological abnormalities. Diagnosis of this condition usually involves blood work, imaging studies, and specialized tests like a bile acid test. Treatment options may include dietary management, medications to reduce toxin levels, or surgical correction to redirect blood flow in the liver.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a degenerative condition that affects the hip joint of Yorkshire Terriers. This condition occurs when the blood supply to the femoral head, which is the rounded end of the thighbone, is disrupted. As a result, the femoral head starts to degenerate, leading to pain, lameness, and difficulty in walking or bearing weight.

Diagnosing Legg-Calve-Perthes disease typically involves a physical examination, X-rays, and sometimes advanced imaging techniques like MRI or CT scans. Treatment options may include conservative management with pain medications and physical therapy, or surgical intervention to remove the affected femoral head. Early detection and intervention can help improve the prognosis and quality of life for Yorkshire Terriers affected by this condition.

By being aware of these common health issues in Yorkshire Terriers and regularly screening for them, you can ensure early detection and appropriate management, leading to a healthier and happier life for your beloved furry companion.

Genetic Health Tests for Yorkshire Terriers

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic eye disorder that affects Yorkshire Terriers and can lead to vision loss and blindness. It is crucial for Yorkshire Terrier owners to have their dogs tested for PRA to identify carriers and prevent the spread of this condition within the breed.

PRA is a progressive disease that typically begins with night blindness and eventually leads to complete loss of vision. By conducting genetic health tests, veterinarians can determine if a Yorkshire Terrier is a carrier of the PRA gene and provide appropriate care and management strategies to slow down the progression of the disease.

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the spinal cord of Yorkshire Terriers. It is essential for Yorkshire Terrier owners to be aware of this condition and conduct genetic health tests to identify if their dogs are carriers.

DM typically starts with mild hind limb weakness and can progress to complete paralysis over time. By identifying carriers through genetic testing, breeders can make informed decisions to prevent the transmission of the disease and maintain the overall health of the Yorkshire Terrier population.


Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder that affects Yorkshire Terriers and can lead to various health issues. Conducting genetic health tests for hypothyroidism allows owners and breeders to identify dogs with an increased risk of developing this condition.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in Yorkshire Terriers include weight gain, hair loss, lethargy, and skin problems. Early detection through genetic testing enables prompt treatment and management to ensure the overall well-being of the dog.

In conclusion, genetic health tests play a crucial role in maintaining the health and well-being of Yorkshire Terriers. By identifying carriers of progressive retinal atrophy, canine degenerative myelopathy, and hypothyroidism, owners and breeders can take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of these conditions and provide the necessary care to affected dogs.

Other Health Tests to Consider

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common health condition that Yorkshire Terriers may be prone to. This condition occurs when the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to instability and potential pain for the dog. To screen for hip dysplasia, your veterinarian may recommend a hip evaluation, such as an X-ray, to assess the condition of your Yorkshire Terrier’s hip joints. Early detection of hip dysplasia can help in managing the condition and ensuring a better quality of life for your furry friend.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is another health concern that Yorkshire Terrier owners should be aware of. This condition occurs when the cartilage rings in the trachea weaken, causing the airway to narrow and making it difficult for your dog to breathe properly. To screen for tracheal collapse, your veterinarian may perform a tracheal palpation or recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as a tracheal fluoroscopy or bronchoscopy. Early detection of tracheal collapse can help in managing the condition and preventing further complications.

Heart Conditions

Yorkshire Terriers are also prone to certain heart conditions that can impact their overall health and well-being. Some common heart conditions in Yorkshire Terriers include mitral valve disease and patent ductus arteriosus. To screen for these heart conditions, your veterinarian may conduct a thorough cardiac examination, including listening to your dog’s heart sounds and potentially recommending an echocardiogram. Regular monitoring of your Yorkshire Terrier’s heart health is essential to ensure early detection and appropriate management of any heart conditions.

Taking proactive steps to screen for these additional health conditions can help in maintaining the long-term health and happiness of your Yorkshire Terrier. Regular veterinary check-ups and discussions with your veterinarian about these health tests are important to ensure early detection and appropriate management, if necessary. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, you can help your Yorkshire Terrier live a healthy and fulfilling life.

In conclusion, Yorkshire Terrier owners should prioritize the health and well-being of their beloved pets by conducting regular health tests. By screening for common genetic and hereditary conditions such as patellar luxation, dental issues, and eye problems, owners can ensure early detection and prompt treatment, ultimately leading to a longer and happier life for their Yorkshire Terriers. Additionally, consulting with a veterinarian and following their recommendations for preventive care and testing can provide invaluable insight into the overall health status of these adorable and popular companions. Remember, a proactive approach to Yorkshire Terrier health tests is essential in maintaining their quality of life and preventing potential health complications.