Pappilon Dog Health Issues

The Papillon is a toy dog breed and during their 12 to 15 years lifespan, Papillons may be affected by a number of dog health issues. Some health issues are specific for all toy breeds, while others typically affect Paps only.

Permanent Blindness

Blindness can occur in Paps mainly due to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This condition can have a gradual onset, typically starting from the age of 6. You may detect early signs of PRA if you perform regular visits to a pet ophthalmologist, who can perform tests to identify if the disease is present.

Your dog can gradually lose his eyesight and you may notice that he no longer reacts to different visual stimuli, or may frequently bump into objects. The blindness is not reversible, but the dog may adapt to being blind by compensating with other functions, such as the sense of smell or hearing. 

Knee Joint Luxations

Papillon dogs and other toy dog breeds may suffer from knee joint luxation, and this can be genetic or caused by an injury. If genetic, the knee joint luxation can be detected as early as when the dog is 4 months old. A female Papillon that is pregnant or in heat may also suffer from temporary knee joint luxation.

Thyroid Problems

Papillon dogs are often affected by hypothyroidism, which is a lack of sufficient hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormones are critical in maintaining a proper metabolism. Hypothyroidism can be treated, and the thyroid glands may be stimulated with medication. Thyroid problems may be avoided by keeping the dog fit and feeding him a balanced diet that doesn't contain too many carbohydrates.

Low Blood Sugar

Most toy dog breeds are susceptible to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This may be due to a liver that doesn't administer the glucose properly. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:

  • Pale gums
  • Shaking
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased body temperature

If you notice these symptoms you need to administer some honey or maple syrup. Rubbing syrup on the dog's gums can speed up the time it takes for the sugar to gets into the dog's system. You should also warm up the dog, so that he won't suffer from hypothermia. Hypoglycemia is more frequently met in Papillon puppies.

Oral Cavity Problems

Paps have a small mouth and may be more prone to dental and gum diseases. A lot of Paps over the age of 4 lose their teeth due to either cavities or periodontal disease. A regular brushing combined with annual professional cleaning of the teeth can reduce the risks of oral cavity problems.

Reversed Sneezing

Reversed sneezing is not necessarily considered one of the major dog health issues. However, this is a condition caused by the spasm of the trachea and is common in Papillon dogs. The triggers of reversed sneezing include the inhalation of dust or pollens, or when the dog is overly excited.