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Home > Dogs > 9 Toy Poodle Health Problems: Vet Approved Facts & Treatments

9 Toy Poodle Health Problems: Vet Approved Facts & Treatments

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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Toy Poodles are among the most popular dog breeds in the world and are especially well-suited to small-space living. Unfortunately, the breed’s popularity has led to a rise in opportunistic breeders who are not as concerned with health problems. If you’re considering welcoming one of these pups into your home, here are nine Toy Poodle health problems you need to know.

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The 9 Most Common Health Problems in Toy Poodles

1. Luxating Patella

Type of health problem Bone and joint
How it’s treated Surgery, medications

Luxating patellas1, or loose kneecaps, are a common problem in many small and toy breed dogs, including the Toy Poodle. In this condition, the dog’s kneecap slips out of place periodically because of an issue with the anatomy of the knee joint. You may notice your Toy Poodle hop or skip while walking and sometimes limp on the affected hind limb(s).

Luxating patellas can range from mild to severe, and treatment usually depends on how bad the issue is. Some dogs require surgery, while others can be managed with medications and joint supplements. This condition puts a dog at higher risk of developing arthritis or an additional knee injury. Luxating patella is an inherited condition, and before buying a Toy Poodle puppy, ask the breeder if there is a family history of bad knees.

white poodle checked by vet
Image Credit: Baronb, Shutterstock

2. Epilepsy

Type of health problem Nervous system/brain
How it’s treated Medication

Epilepsy is an inherited seizure disorder. Several breeds are especially prone to the condition, including Toy Poodles. Seizures can occur for many reasons, including low blood sugar or brain disease. When they happen without an apparent cause, the dog is generally diagnosed with primary or idiopathic epilepsy, which has a genetic basis.

Ask your Toy Poodle breeder whether there is a family history of seizures before you buy a puppy. These attacks generally don’t start until a dog is 1–5 years old. If your Toy Poodle is diagnosed with epilepsy, they will likely need to be on lifelong medication to control the frequency and severity of seizure episodes.


3. Bladder Stones

Type of health problem Urinary
How it’s treated Surgery, medications, diet change

Toy Poodles are one of several breeds especially prone to developing bladder and kidney stones. The stones are made up of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Crystals of these minerals are often present in the Toy Poodle’s urine, especially after infection. The crystals may begin to stick together, forming stones.

The stones can cause further infection, pain when your dog pees, bloody urine, and even kidney damage. In some cases, your Toy Poodle may attempt to pee out a stone, only to have it get stuck, preventing them from peeing normally.

Depending on the stones’ size, location, and mineral makeup, your vet may attempt to dissolve them through diet changes and medications. In many cases, your Toy Poodle will need surgery to remove the stones.

poodle pee in tree trunk
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

4. Cushing’s Disease

Type of health problem Endocrine
How it’s treated Medications

Cushing’s disease is a common problem in dogs, but Toy Poodles are especially prone to developing it. Cushing’s disease causes the dog’s adrenal glands to stop functioning properly, causing them to overproduce various hormones. It can take a long time to notice symptoms, but early signs include drinking, urinating, and eating more than usual.

Your Toy Poodle may also seem less active and eventually begin losing its hair. Cushing’s disease is easily diagnosed with a blood test. If your Toy Poodle develops Cushing’s disease, they generally need lifelong medication to manage it.


5. Cataracts

Type of health problem Eye
How it’s treated Eye drops, surgery

Toy Poodles are prone to several eye problems, including cataracts. The lens of the dog’s eye gradually hardens and grows cloudy as proteins from the eye settle in that location. Cataracts can be an inherited condition or a secondary issue from another disease, such as diabetes.

Eventually, cataracts can cause your Toy Poodle to lose vision. Dogs don’t rely on their eyesight as much as people, and most can adjust to their blindness. Your vet may suggest eye drops to keep your dog comfortable and household adjustments to help your Toy Poodle navigate life without vision. Often, cataracts can be removed with surgery.

Closeup on hand embracing pedigree poodle dog with cataract problem on his eye
Image By: ThamKC, Shutterstock

6. Legg-Calves-Perthes Disease

Type of health problem Bone and joint
How it’s treated Surgery, medication

This unusual joint condition is most common in dogs under 20 pounds and is inherited in many breeds, including Toy Poodles. Legg-Calves-Perthes disease affects the dog’s hip joint. In this condition, the femoral head, or the portion of the Toy Poodle’s leg bone that sits in the hip joint, begins to deteriorate.

Eventually, it leads to lameness, pain, and arthritis. Signs of the disease appear early, with dogs as young as 3 months. Treatment involves pain management and possibly surgery in severe cases.


7. Disc Disease

Type of health problem Nervous system/spine
How it’s treated Rest, medication, surgery

Toy Poodles are among the breeds especially prone to developing spinal disc disease. It occurs when one or more cushions between the dog’s spinal discs rupture or slip. Without the jelly-like structures’ protection, the spine’s bones can press on the dog’s spinal cord. Spinal disc disease can happen gradually or quickly due to sudden movement or activity. Treatment includes rest, pain medication, or surgery in severe cases.

white poodle resting in blue bed
Image By: PixieMe, Shutterstock

8. Diabetes

Type of health problem Endocrine
How it’s treated Medication, diet change

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in dogs, as in humans, but Toy Poodles are among the breeds especially likely to develop the condition. Dogs with diabetes are unable to keep their blood sugar at appropriate levels. If left untreated, diabetes can quickly become life-threatening.

Early signs of diabetes include drinking and urinating excessively and weight loss. Diabetes is easily diagnosed by a simple blood sugar check and will require lifelong treatment. A Toy Poodle with diabetes usually needs daily insulin shots and a carefully-controlled, low-carbohydrate diet.


9. Von Willebrand’s Disease

Type of health problem Blood
How it’s treated Extreme caution

Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited blood disorder that occurs in over 30 breeds, including the Toy Poodle. It’s most commonly associated with Doberman Pinschers because they make up most of the diagnosed cases. Dosg afflicted with the disease are missing a blood protein that helps blood form clots. Because of this, there exists the potential of uncontrolled bleeding. Before your Toy Poodle is spayed or neutered, your vet may suggest a blood clotting test for safety. There’s no treatment or cure for the disease. Owners of Toy Poodles with von Willebrand’s will need to be extra careful to avoid injury to their pups. In emergent cases of bleeding, blood transfusions can be performed.

French white poodle and veterinarian at the clinic
Image By: Baronb, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Because so many of the nine Toy Poodle health problems have an inherited and genetic basis, it’s essential that you take the time to research potential breeders thoroughly. Look for one who performs all recommended genetic and health screenings for their dogs. They should be open to any questions regarding the health history of the puppy you are considering.

Unfortunately, small breeds like the Toy Poodle are among the easiest for unethical puppy mill breeders to produce. No, you can’t avoid every medical problem in your Toy Poodle, but taking the extra steps to start with the healthiest puppy possible may save you a lot of money and heartbreak.


Featured Image Credit: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock

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