Lhasa Apso Common Health Problems 2


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This is the continuation of the first page on Lhasa Apso Common Health Problems. You can check out the other medical issues our dogs may have on the first page here.

Here are some more illnesses that our Lhasa Apso’s may encounter during their lifetime, always seek professional medical assistance if in any doubt on your Lhasa Apso health.

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes-Disease
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Ludd
  • Keratoconjunctivitis

Patellar Luxation

Your dog’s knee cap is called a Patellar. Luxation is when a bone becomes displaced from its original position Patellar Luxation means your dog’s knee cap is out of place. So what is this luxation? When your dogs Patellar has become dislodged from its place while the dog is in a normal standing position. A Patellar Luxation can arrive from a bad movement whilst playing or a malformation for genetic reasons. For this later source, it is advised to watch your puppies from birth for around six months as Patellar Luxation shows signs around four months old.

Patellar Luxation is one of the most common knee disorders that dogs may have. It is more common in females with a one and a half more chance of having this displacement of the knee cap. Patellar Luxation is more often found in small breed dogs so our Lhasa Apso’s are prone to have this.

What would be the signs to look for if you think your pet is suffering? You may observe that your dog is lifting the hind leg in the air for a while, they are doing this to relax the leg muscles, removing pain in the knee. Another sign which can alert you will be an abnormal walking for long periods this includes limping, hopping, or even dragging their leg.

As painful as it sounds your Lhasa will normally not feel pain once the kneecap is displaced, its that moment when it starts to becomes displaced that hurts them.

If you think this is a problem with your pet then take them to the vet, who will take Xrays from various positions to determine the severity of the Patellar Luxation. They will also manipulate the kneecap to see how much movement is in the knee joint. Drawing a fluid sample will help determine the diagnosis.

This medical problem thankfully can be cured with surgical intervention, there are no medications that can rectify this. Surgery then is the best answer to Patellar Luxation, 90% of treated dogs by surgery have a new lease of life as the lameness disappears.

Post-operation help is required by owners that have dogs who have undergone surgery. To this effect, the dogs will need to be walked slowly on a leash for four to six weeks to help the healing of the joints, no playing chase the ball or jumping during this period. Visit the vet on a yearly basis for checks, although your Lhasa has found a new lease of life and freedom again do remember that there is a forty-eight percent chance that the kneecap could become displaced again, albeit with less pain.


This problem, also known as LCPD, that dogs suffer from is due to a lack of blood to the head of the femur bone researchers believe. Once this starts to attack then the dog’s hip joints will start to disintegrate causing inflammation in the joints and bones, developing osteoarthritis and resulting in the associated pain.

The cause of this disease is still unclear, although mainly attacking small breeds like the Lhasa Apso. There are some breeds that this is genetically passed onwards, (ie: Manchester Terriers) Dogs that are affected are mainly puppies around the age of five to eight months old.

What are the telltale signs that you should be looking out for in LCPD

  • Hip joint pains
  • Becoming lame over a period of time
  • Difficulty walking
  • Diminishing muscles on affect leg

If you notice any of these signs in your Lhasa then veterinary care most be sought. Your dog will need to undergo a complete physical examination. Explaining your pet’s health history and the duration they have had these symptoms will help your vet in the diagnosis. Thereafter Xrays will be taken to assess the amount of deterioration and what necessary treatment is required.

To alleviate the pain and swelling it is advised to rest your pet and use painkillers. In most cases, unfortunately, surgical intervention is the only option available. This will be a heavy operation removing all the damaged and affected areas of the bones and joints.

After such an important intervention your Lhasa is going to need time to recuperate. The vet will suggest that your dog has reeducation therapy on the affected limbs. Also, your dog must not be allowed to lay around, soft exercise is highly recommended. If this is left out of the recovery period it may well delay the result of complete mobility later. It has even been known that some vets place small leg bracelets with light weights to help speed up the recovery process.

Following all operations, there will be regular visits for checkups to see that all the treatments and exercises are doing their job! This recovery period is slow and will take up to anything from three to six months for a complete recovery. Bear in mind if your pet is on the heavy side of the scales your vet will prepare a diet that you should stand by to help your Lhasa to reduce their weight and achieve a full recovery.


Atopic Dermatitis

The second most common allergic skin disease that dogs can suffer from is Atopic Dermatitis. A terrible skin disease that originates from allergens, the skin of your pet becomes inflamed. Simple things like grass, mold, and other household allergens like dust mites can trigger this Atopic Dermatitis in your Lhasa.

Our pet dogs are prone to have allergic reactions just as we do to many things that surround us, the list would be too long for this post.

Reactions that your dog will have if they are allergic

  • Scratching
  • Rashes
  • Sneezing
  • A Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Biting their paws
  • Inflamed skin
  • Itching

Dogs that suffer show signs between the age of three months and six years. Sometimes the attack is so minimal that it may take several years before you can really see an attack of Atopic Dermatitis.

Areas that are frequently affected are

  • Ears
  • Toes
  • Nose
  • Ankles
  • Underlegs
  • Areas around the eyes
  • Groin

What can you do for your pet that is suffering from Atopic Dermatitis? If the symptoms are Atopy then your vet can give hyposensitization therapy. Injections can also be administered for allergens that are causing problems with skin disorders that will reduce the symptoms. These injections can reduce significantly the scratching and itching for your dog. There are certain medications that can be administered to relieve these problems including Cyclosporine, Corticosteroids, and Antihistamines. There are also sprays available on the market that can be used over the whole body to help reduce scratching.

When giving your Lhasa their bath try to use shampoos that are anti-allergen with cold water. You should continue visiting your vet on a regular basis, two to eight weeks in general, just to be sure that the treatment is working fine. If all is going well these visits can be extended to three to twelve months.


What is this illness HydroCephalus? Let’s take the two words and see what they mean in Greek. Take the Greek word Hydro, meaning water, and Cephalus meaning head or brain, now we can associate correctly these two words which will give us Water on the Brain. A terrible illness that again small breed dogs are susceptible to get

As we have determined above, this disease results as we know it like water on the brain, which is an accumulation of cerebral liquid in the skull. This build-up of fluid puts enormous pressure on the dog’s brain causing brain damage and in some cases death!

Small dogs like our Lhasa are prone to get this disease and it can also be hereditary, meaning some dogs are born already with the problem. In some cases where the problem is minor medication can treat the symptoms fine, sadly when newborn puppies are diagnosed to have Hydrocephalus they are put to sleep at birth as the cost of surgical intervention is too high.

If you see the signs below in your puppy or dog then contact you vet urgently, signs that should alert you to Hydrocephalus are:

  • A large skull
  • Toilet accidents in the home
  • Wide abnormal eyes
  • Eating difficulties
  • Not learning
  • Always seeming tired
  • Agitation
  • Vagueness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Turning in circles
  • Going blind
  • Freezing seizures
  • Eyes that become crossed
  • Breathing irregularities
  • Bizarre standing
  • Retarded growth
  • Falling into comas
  • Front legs kicking outwards when walking

Different types of Hydrocephalus can attack our dogs, this could be congenital or an attack later in life. Small breeds are very prone to getting this disease. This can arise from difficult labor, infection from the parents or even drugs that were used during the pregnancy period.

The most common cause of Hydrocephalus is brain cancer. Deficiency in Vitamin A can also bring on this illness, as will a certain virus called Parainfluenza, a swelling of the brain, also a disease called intracranial inflammatory are all triggers that set of a Hydrocephalus. 

In mild cases of Hydrocephalus, there is a medication (corticosteroids) that can treat the symptoms. This medication will reduce the amount of cerebral fluid build up and pressure on the brain. Other drugs can be prescribed if the dog is suffering from seizures.

The last chance is for surgical intervention, but this involves a brain surgeon with the costs that are prohibitive, sadly many dogs are put to sleep. If the cause is a tumor then radiation treatment may be used along with chemotherapy. If you detect Hydrocephalus early, with your vets help your pet Lhasa may stand a chance of having a good life ahead.

Ring Worms

Ahh!! even the sound of the word worms sends shivers down my spine, ringworms are not the same as tapeworms that are in the stomach, which can sometimes be seen coming out of the bottom of your dog!

Ringworms, on the other hand, can be seen as an infection just under the skin of your dog, the areas attacked regularly are the legs, head, ears, and paws! You will notice areas that are scaly with noticeable fur falling out to reveal bald areas. Be careful as an attack of ringworms does not leave a red itchy area that is noticeable to us. Just a portion of skin with no hair or fur should alert you to ringworms.

Ringworm is not an actual worm! it is an infection a dog can pick it up when digging around in the garden, it is more likely to show up like a rash. Nearly all attacks of ringworm can be treated with medicine and the success rate is almost one hundred percent recovery. Combined with the medicine it is advised that all the bedding be washed as well to prevent further transmission of this illness.

Although the word worm is used in this illness there are no physical worms involed. Yes I just hate worms. Ringworm is a fungicidal infection that can be, and wait for this! it can be passed from humans to dogs and vise versa!!

What are the signs that your pet Lhasa is having an attack of ringworm?

  • Areas of hair loss
  • Scaly skin
  • Brittle claws
  • Infection in their claws

All dogs love to dig in the garden, so the risk of contracting ringworm is higher. Remember it is a fungus spore that is found in the soil. Beware it can also be passed from one animal to another! Puppies with a lower developed immune system stand more chance to get this medical problem than older dogs who have an immune system that has had the years to develop.

Once your pet has contracted ringworm it can be found anywhere on their body from the head to the tail. This will show up on the skin as a redness combined with a soreness causing discomfort for your dog. These spores of ringworm fungi can lay dormant for several months in your dog’s bedding, brushes, combs etc.

What can you do to determine if your dog has ringworm? Regular close examination of your pet is crucial, checking to see if there are any telltale signs as noted above. Another way if you have an ultraviolet lamp is to scan their body, not all the ringworm attacks will glow under this light, and to complicate matters other skin diseases can glow! To get a reliable result it will be necessary to take hair and skin samples and get them tested in a laboratory to be certain.

If your pet dog has unfortunately contracted ringworm then the curing remedies consist in the mild case’s to bath your pet in a fungicidal shampoo. After an ointment can be applied to the affected area’s. It might also be helpful to shave the affected areas. This treatment should be carried out for six weeks at least, if not the ringworm fungus can return to your dog.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

KCS in medical terms is an illness that our Lhasa are subjective to get. Their eyes are the target for this condition which can cause their eyes to become dry. No dogs are exempt. Often neglected this illness can be detected at an early stage with an ophthalmic examination.

This particular disease attacks the eyes as an inflammatory condition resulting in less tear production therefore dry eyes. We, as well as our pets, need tears to lubricate our eyes but when there is a deficiency in tear production KCS will be the result. Our tears, as well as those of our pet dog’s, are made up of mucus, fatty liquid, and water, this is good to keep the eyes lubricated correctly.

Adverse conditions that hinder the production of this tear liquid will result in the eyes becoming dry through lack of irrigation. The result of this lack of tear fluid will be your dogs having red and sore eyes,

Signs to look for in your dog

  • Irritated red eyes
  • Squinting
  • Blinking
  • Keeping their eyes closed
  • Discharge of yellow mucus in the eyes
  • Ulcers in the eyes

Today with so much medical progress this illness is no longer a problem if the disease is found in the early stages, with medication most cases can be cured but need lifetime control. If this is found too late then scar tissue may have developed over the eyes which cannot be reversed.


Related Questions

1 How much are veterinary costs?

I live in France and our regular visit is 50€ and that is just to say hello! but this can vary from one vet to another. Checking the web for this post I see in the USA the prices can vary from one state to another, 50$ rising to 250$ depending on where you live. Phone around to find the price that fits your budget. A recent CBS survey with Petplan reveals we spend yearly between 700$ to 1500$ on health care for our dogs!! This is not something to be taken lightly.

2 Can grass kill your dog?

Yes it can !! It seems scary to think about it but it is not the blade of the grass. The culprit is the dard, awns, foxtails, mean seeds or whatever name you give it in your country. If you find them on your pet them remove them quickly before they have time to work their way inside your dog’s body, creating havoc and pain. My Lucky had one in his ear that I did not see soon enough which slowly worked itself so far inside his ear I had to visit the vet to get it removed. The only sign I had was seeing Lucky rubbing his ear along the ground. Be extremely careful with your male Lhasa Apso’s, being small breeds and low to the ground in long grass these dards can enter their penis and cause excruciating pain my vet told me! Because of the way the dards are formed they go in but never come out. Think of it as when a bird swallows a fish, it is always head first, the fish scales stop the fish coming back out of the bird’s mouth, so the dards on the grass do the same they have long spikes that all go the same direction.

If you would like to learn more about the other health problems our Lhasa Apso’s are prone to get I sujest you check out this post I have published

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