Some purebred dogs are genetically predisposed to develop specific diseases at some point in their lives. Purebred dogs share certain traits, such as eye color, ear carriage and coat texture. Along with those traits, they also share the genes for congenital or hereditary diseases and disorders.
Miniature poodles are predisposed to several illnesses, diseases and disorders and share some of these maladies with their larger cousins, the standard poodle. Some of them are relatively minor such as allergies to certain foods; and atopy, or inhalation allergy. A complication of atopy, atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition caused by a reaction to an inhalation allergy.
Patella luxation, a condition where the kneecaps slide in and out of place; and epiphyseal dysplasia, which affects the development of the long bones, can be congenital among miniature poodles. Also present at birth is the predisposition toward osteogenesis imperfecta, which affects the normal growth and function of the bones; and osteochondrosis, which affects joint cartilage. Intervertebral disc disease is characterized by discs out of place and prone to rupture. Legg-Calve-Perthe's Disease and hip dysplasia are two disorders affecting the hip. In the latter, the hip ball and socket don't fit together well, and in the former a lack of adequate blood supply to the femur leads to loss of hip cartilage.
Several autoimmune diseases are seen in miniature poodles such as von Willebrand's disease and hemophilia A, both bleeding disorders; epilepsy and other neurological and brain diseases; Cushing's disease, or overactive adrenal glands; and hypothyroidism, overactive thyroid glands. Myasthenia gravis is an abnormality of the muscles and nerves.
Miniature poodles are prone to both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors that affect the skin such as basal cell and sebaceous gland tumors and squamous cell carcinoma.
Eyes and Ears
Deafness from a number of causes is seen in some miniature poodles, as is night blindness. Epiphora, or overproduction of tears, is most noticeable in white poodles who sometimes have red or brown tear stains. Cataracts, glaucoma, iris atrophy (diminishing irises) and lacrimal duct atresia (poorly formed or missing tear ducts) are all disorders of the eye. Progressive retinal atrophy, a progressive deterioration of the retina, can lead to blindness. Ear infections are common among poodles of all sizes.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.