Schnauzer Health and mobility | Walking pets

The Schnauzer is a playful and affectionate breed that loves its family. With its distinctive look, most people know the Schnauzer for its mustachioed face and thick eyebrows. This is a breed with a lot of personality! This unique breed comes in miniature and standard sizes, with the Miniature Schnauzer weighing between 11 and 20 pounds and the larger Standard Schnauzer weighing up to 50 pounds.

Although generally easy-going, Schnauzers are known to be a little feisty and can be barky, but their big personality is part of their charm. Like any other dog, there are certain breed-specific genetic health risks that every Schnauzer mom and dad should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know about your Schnauzer’s health.

Fibrocartilaginous Embolism in Miniature Schnauzers

A black schnauzer walks in a small dog wheelchair

Also known as FCE or stroke. FCEs are more common in Miniature Schnauzers than in any other breed, with a study showing 24% included cases involved Miniature Schnauzers. A stroke can happen very suddenly and usually occurs after a dog has been very active. Sudden paralysis, dragging legs, and a stumbling gait are common signs of a dog with FCE.

Depending on where the stroke occurs in the spine, a dog may have only one side of its body affected or only the front or rear legs. With prompt treatment and rehabilitation, most dogs can walk again. During treatment, a dog wheelchair may be used to help support the dog and keep him mobile while he recovers. A Schnauzer wheelchair can help the dog overcome balance issues, help him stand or walk, and assist him throughout his FCE rehabilitation.

Eye Problems – Cataracts

Although known for their bushy eyebrows and dark eyes, the Schnauzer is predisposed to several eye problems, including cataracts. Cataracts can appear at any age, with a cloudy film covering the lens of the eye. A cataract can cause blindness, which can be treated in some cases with corrective eye surgery.

Other eye problems that Schnauzers are likely to suffer from include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and glaucoma. Make your Schnauzer’s eye health a priority and have his eyes examined during each annual exam. Between veterinary exams, watch for any visual changes in the eye, including discoloration or cloudiness of the eye, as this may indicate a change in a dog’s vision.

Hip dysplasia

Schnauzer puppy running in the field

Although hip pain can affect any size dog, hip dysplasia is more common in the larger Standard Schnauzer than in its smaller cousin. Hip dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that can impact a dog’s mobility and cause joint pain. There are varying degrees of hip dysplasia. Young dogs may be diagnosed with this condition, but they may not feel the effects of hip disease until they are much older, as the dysplasia can progress over the years.

Early diagnosis is essential to keeping your dog’s hips healthy. For young Schnauzers diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it is best to keep your dog at a healthy weight and introduce him to a common supplement at a younger age to promote joint health and relieve occasional stiffness. Your veterinarian will check your Schnauzer’s hips during his annual exam, looking for any signs of discomfort and impact on his range of motion.

Dislocating patella

Patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap slips out of the patellar groove. This is quite common in smaller dog breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer. A healthy kneecap should move up and down as the dog’s knee flexes and moves. When the kneecap dislocates, it dislocates and moves out of place, which can cause discomfort and impact a Schnauzer’s ability to move normally. When this happens, you may see your dog hold his hind leg behind him while he moves on three legs until the kneecap snaps back into place.

Depending on the severity of the patellar dislocation, the knee may come back into place on its own, with assistance, or, in more advanced cases, surgery may be recommended.

Myotonia congenita

A genetic muscle disease that causes hyper-reactive muscles that contract easily. When the muscle stiffens, the muscles can bulge, making the Schnauzer’s movements difficult. And in some cases, it can even impact the Schnauzer’s ability to swallow. The disease is incurable and affects approximately 2% of the breed, with approximately 20% of all Schnauzers genetic carriers of the disease. Any Schnauzer showing signs of myotonia congenita should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Understanding Your Schnauzer’s Health

It is important to know that the Schnauzer is, overall, a healthy dog ​​breed that makes an excellent pet. While it is important to understand the health risks so you can be aware of any signs of changes in your dog’s mobility or health, with regular checkups and a healthy lifestyle your Schnauzer should experience a long and happy life.


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