Lhasa Apsos, an ancient Asian breed, are generally healthy little dogs. Like all purebred dogs, there are certain diseases and conditions they are predisposed to getting, but that doesn't mean your Lhasa will be affected. For best results, buy your puppy from a reputable breeder offering a health guarantee.
One of the most common diseases affecting Lhasas is renal dysplasia, an often fatal kidney disease. This is an important reason for getting a health guarantee from your puppy's breeder, as good breeders screen for this predisposition and don't breed dogs carrying the genes for renal dysplasia or sell affected puppies. If your dog constantly drinks and urinates, loses weight and generally seems unthrifty, kidney disease could be the problem. Your vet can prescribe medication to help combat the disease, but the kidneys may eventually fail.
When canines suffer from allergies, they don't usually sneeze or deal with stuffy noses like people. These allergic reactions appear as skin issues, including constant scratching, baldness and red, inflamed lesions. Affected Lhasas usually experience the first episode between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Your vet will take skin scrapings and blood tests to determine what allergen affects your dog. If it's fleas, topical or oral flea medications usually cure the problem. If other allergens are involved, desensitization shots, special baths and medications may clear up the dermatitis.
Lhasas are prone to dry eye, formally known as kerrativitis sicca, which results in lack of tearing. If your dog constantly scratches at his eyes, or his eyes appear red, take him to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Progressive retinal atrophy also appears in Lhasas. This eye disease progresses as its name implies, eventually leading to loss of vision. Since loss of night vision is one of the primary indicators, take your dog to the vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist if he seems unable to see in the dark. Cataracts may affect older Lhasas, but these may be corrected surgically.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Lhasas are one of many breeds predisposed to degenerative disc disease. The actual "slipped disc" may result from a fall or other injury, but often it just happens with no obvious cause. The dog has difficulty walking and getting up, along with obvious pain. He may suffer paralysis. Depending on the severity of the rupture and age of the dog, treatment options include surgery or medication.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.