The most common and heartbreaking hereditary disease in our breed is Renal Dysplasia. With the kidney failing to develop normally the dog may exhibit such symptoms as vomiting, dilute urine, excessive water comsumption and failure to thrive. They generally die young.
BUN, creatine and urine specific gravity tests perfomed by your vet can comfirm that there is failing kidney function. These tests can still show a normal range, however, when there is as little as 30% kidney funtion and the dog not be proven free of RD. An ultrasound scan of the kidneys can show scarring and other indications of RD. At this time a surgical procedure called a wide-wedge biopsy is the only definitive test available to confirm a diagnosis of RD. The concern we have with this procedure is that a large piece of what may be the 30% functioning portion of the kidney could be removed leaving the dog in a more delicate state than before.
Research funded by the American Shih Tzu Club is being conducted to develop a genetic marker test done with a DNA sample to determine which dogs are afflicted or are carriers and could pass on the disease. A previous test developed offered by Vet-Gen has proven to be less than accurate so further study is being done.
For a more in-depth explanation of the above mentioned test please use this link:
Canine Portal Caval Shunt or Portal Systemic shunt is a disease of the liver that is occasionally found in Shih Tzu as well as a number of other breeds. This disease is caused by a shunt outside the liver. The shunt diverts blood around the liver thus preventing toxins to be removed from the blood by the liver. Surgery to close the shunt is difficult and rarely successful but without the surgery the result is death from the disease.
Puppies with this disorder usually appear thin, stunted, and act depressed. They may have sysptoms such as blindness, seizures, head pressing and circling. Affected puppies could also vomit frequently, drink and urinate excessively and the urine will have ammonium biurate crystals present when tested by the vet.
We require any puppy sold as a pet to be spayed or neutered as soon as possible after its sixth month birthday. We do not advocate early spay/neuter at this time. These surgeries will not affect your pets temperment. They are helpful to prevent unwanted puppies, heat cycles, leg-lifting and roaming in males and some forms of hormone related cancers.
Diet and Nutrition
We feed Purina ProPlan Chicken and Rice formula to all of our dogs. They love it. We give them ProPlan dog biscuits for treats. The house girls can beg us out of an occasion bite of chicken or cheese but no other table food is given regularly.
Never chocolate, onions or raisons as these can prove deadly to our beloved pets.
Fresh water is made available at all times using an E-Z Adapter Waterer which keeps the faces clean and dry.