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Common Diseases of Maltese Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 19, 2016
Common Diseases of Maltese Dogs

Animal file: Maltese

It's crucial to know about the different illnesses that are likely to affect your Maltese in order to prevent them and react to any symptoms in time. Some signs of disease, such as brown ears, diarrhea, an allergy or vomiting are easy enough to recognize; if you notice these symptoms in your Maltese dog, go to a vet as soon as possible.

However, some diseases are more tricky to notice and identify. In this AnimalWised article we'll discuss the most common diseases of Maltese dogs, as well as those that particularly affect this breed. Infectious diseases are the most widespread, as tends to happen with all dogs in general. Some hereditary diseases, on the other hand, occur more regularly in some breeds than others.

You may also be interested in: Maltese Dog Names - Male And Female

Infectious diseases that affect Maltese dogs

Viral diseases are undoubtedly the most dangerous for all breeds of dogs, because many of them can turn out to be fatal or leave them suffering significant consequences for the rest of their lives.

Fortunately, nowadays there are some very effective preventive treatments, such as vaccines. Dogs are more and more often vaccinated against rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus, canine hepatitis and diseases caused by canine coronavirus. These viral infections have been greatly reduced in the countries where vaccines are available, and outbreaks are much rarer than they used to be. Make sure your Maltese dog has been properly vaccinated.

Among the infectious diseases caused by bacteria we can find kennel cough and leptospirosis. While these last ones can be treated with antibiotics, there are also some very effective vaccines available. Here you can take a look at the recommended vaccination schedule for puppies and adult dogs.

Common Diseases of Maltese Dogs - Infectious diseases that affect Maltese dogs

What hereditary diseases affect Maltese dogs?

Hereditary conditions usually appear through the close in-breeding of dogs, that is, among those with high consanguinity. This means that their gene pool is much smaller, and chances of recessive genes that carry the disease are increased.

The most common hereditary disease among Maltese dogs is the dislocation of the patella. This condition is characterized by a slight deformation in the tibia and the patella (knee joint, of either one knee or both), which causes the patellar ligament to move inward or outward when the knee bends, causing a locking of the joint and lameness. The lameness can be of various degrees depending on the severity of the deformation, ranging from intermittent to constant.

Cryptorchidism, or testicular retention, is a disease in which one of the testicles does not descend from the abdominal cavity into the scrotum. Testicular retention causes the development of tumors in the long term. The only possible treatment is castration.

Can a Maltese's dog life be compromised by hereditary illnesses?

The answer is yes. One such example is the disease known as the "persistent arterial duct". At the time of birth, the line of communication between the pulmonary artery and the aorta needs to close. If this line of communication doesn't close, the puppy has a very short life expectancy. It is more common in female dogs than in males.

Hydrocephalus is another hereditary disease which consists of an increase in intracranial pressure, which often causes sudden and unexplained seizures and behavioral changes. The life expectancy of these animals isn't usually very high.

It is recommendedto not use any Maltese dogswhich have been diagnosed with a congenital illness for breeding.

Common Diseases of Maltese Dogs - Can a Maltese's dog life be compromised by hereditary illnesses?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Common Diseases of Maltese Dogs, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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2 comments
Sanjay
I have a maltese dog.13-14 years old. He has a problem with its teeth decay. Its spreading and even it reached to its ears and brain i guess coz these days my dog tilt his head and screachs its head and ears and when i touched it it cries out of acute pain. Its mouth got strong rotten smell u can feel it from a feet away. We have alreday gone through its tooth cleaning and scrubbing under a surgen an year ago. But now its more serious. Pls help me. I can't see him like this.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Sanjay,

If a medical issues like this deteriorates you have to take them to a qualified vet. Even if they have been before, the symptoms may have developed or they could be presenting as a different disease.
yoshi
my dog suffers from some type of allergy, the dog scratches even until it bleeds, the area affected is spreading - at first were the legs and paws, then the belly area and now also the neck area...change of diet to kangaroo meat and sweet potato have been ineffective, any advice?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Yoshi,

It is possible your dog has an allergy, but it also sounds like it might be possible your dog has a parasitical infestation. This could be in the form of scabies, mange or many other possible conditions. Unfortunately, we are unable to diagnose in these comments. The only course of action is to take them to a vet for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. We hopeyour dog gets well soon.

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