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Common Medical Issues in the Pomeranian Dog

Pomeranian dogs have been popular ever since Queen Victoria had a favored one over 100 years ago.  They originated from the northern Germany/Poland area, which explains their thick hair coat, which comes in a variety of colors, though reddish-brown is the most common.

Young Pomeranians should be checked for patellar luxation (slipping of the kneecap out of position).  The mild form of this orthopedic disease can be safely monitored, but with more severe disease associated with limping surgical correction is often needed.  Pomeranians are one of the breeds that can be born with a portosystemic shunt, where the blood from the intestines isn’t filtered properly by the liver.  These puppies usually exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, and they may act “spacey” or demented after eating a meal or they may even have seizures.  A specific blood test, called a bile acid stimulation test, will be high in these dogs.  Surgery is usually recommended to help correct the problem although some cases can only be treated medically.

Older Pomeranians can develop breathing problems.  If coughing occurs that sounds like a goose honking, then tracheal collapse is likely.  This is a weakening of the cartilagenous rings in the windpipe, which can be treated with cough suppressants and antihistamines.  However the respiratory problem can get severe enough to require that a permanent wire stent must be inserted into the trachea in order to keep the airway open.  A cough or trouble breathing can also be a sign of heart disease.  These dogs commonly get leaky heart valves as they get older, which is heard as a murmur by your veterinarian.  Over the course of years, the leaky valve can cause heart failure, so regular monitoring is needed.

Every breed has its issues, but as long as you don’t mind an energetic ball of fur and have a competent groomer, Pomeranians will give you 13-17 years of good company.

Jonathan Miller, DVM,MS,DACVS (Surgery)

Dr. Miller received his DVM degree from the University of Illinois, completed a rotating internship at the Atlantic Veterinary College, a surgical internship in Houston, and completed a residency in surgery at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Miller has interests in both general and orthopedic surgery with a special interest in laparoscopy and arthroscopy.