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Health issues of the Miniature Pinscher

Legg's Perthes Disease:  A vascular necroses occurs when the bone that makes up the ball portion of the hip is damaged from the lack of blood supply, the reason for this is unclear.  A genetic defect is often thought seeing that this is a disease that will more commonly effect one breed over another with Min Pins ranking high on the list of infected breeds.

    Signs of this disease usually appear in infected dogs between four and eleven months of age showing lameness in the one leg.  The effects of this disease can differ from one dog to another depending on severity.  Some dogs are affected with mild discomfort, which would not require extreme medical attention while others may suffer in great pain and deformity of the hips and atrophy of the muscles.  In sever cases medical therapy will not successfully treat the condition and only a surgical procedure will restore health to the dog.

    Surgery to repair this painful disorder consists of removing the femoral head or ball portion of the hip joint.  This reduces the bone on bone contact within the joint.  Recovery from this type of surgery is slow and sometimes painful, taking up to a year before the joint heals to allow use of the affected leg.  Your vet will most likely offer pain reducing medication and anti-inflamatories during the healing process.

    Epilepsy:  In most cases, the true cause of seizure activity in a dog is never determined.  It is believed that the cause of this disorder can be passed down to litters when a dog suffering with seizure activity is used in a breeding program.  Congenial Epilepsy will generally appear in an infected dog between two-three years of age.

    Test must be run on a dog to rule out different causes of seizure activities which can range from Brain tumors, viral illness, trauma, liver disease, kidney disease or hormonal disorders to name a few.  If no cause of the seizure attacks can be determined the dog will be diagnosed with epilepsy.

    Seizure control is an area of debate. While some veterinarians feel control is not needed for mild cases or seizures that donít occur more than once a month, others feel that control steps should take place much sooner.  Treatment will depend greatly on the severity and occurrence of the attacks.  If your vet feels control is needed for your pet Phenobarbital is most often recommended.

   Although an epileptic attack is seldom fatal it is a heartbreaking and scary experience for the pet owner to witness.  Holding the pet down is seldom recommended for that can often cause more harm than good.  The best thing to do is move any objects the dog can injure itself on and remove all other pets from the area.


    Patellar Luxation: The patella or kneecap is a moveable bone located over the knee that connects the muscles of the thigh to the lower leg.  Patellar Luxation is a dislocation of the kneecap.  This is more often found in smaller breeds of dogs.  More often than not a dog was born with this condition and it was passed down from the parents infecting both legs.

    A symptom your dog may be affected with Patellar Luxation is to see him occasionally holding a leg in the air while he is running then start using it again later.  Sometimes the dog may cry out when this takes place for the kneecap or Patella has popped out of place, then returned.

    Depending on the severity, surgery is often recommended to make the dog more comfortable and to prevent crippling arthritis or deformities.  There are various techniques for correcting patellar Luxation, but regardless of the technique the purpose of the surgery is to re-establish the proper alignment of the quadriceps tendon, the patella, and the patella tendon to prevent a sideways slipping of the kneecap.

    All dogs used in breeding programs should be tested and certified through the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) with each dog being tested more than once at different ages as some luxation will not be evident until later in life.  Your breeder should show you proof that his/her dogs are tested and have an OFA certificate showing the parents are free of this defect.

    Luxatating Patellas 


A method of classifying the degree of luxation and bony deformity is useful for diagnosis, and can be applied to either medial or lateral luxations by reversing the medial-lateral directional references. The position of the patella can most easily be palpated by starting at the tibial tubercle and working proxi-mally along the patellar ligament to the patella.

Grade 1

Intermittent patellar luxation causing the limb to be carried occasionally. The patella easily luxates manually at full extension of the stifle joint, but returns to the trochlea when released. No crepitation is apparent. The medial, or very occasionally, lateral deviation of the tibial crest (with lateral luxation of the patella) is only minimal, and there is very slight rotation of the tibia. Flexion and extension of the stifle is in a straight line with no abduction of the hock.

Grade 2

There is frequent patellar luxation which, in some cases, becomes more or less permanent. The limb is sometimes carried, although weight bearing routinely occurs with the stifle remaining slightly flexed.

Especially under anesthesia it is often possible to reduce the luxation by manually turning the tibia later-ally, but the patella reluxates with ease when manual tension of the joint is released.

As much as 30 degrees of medial tibial torsion and a slight medial deviation of the tibial crest may exist. When the patella is resting medially the hock is slightly abducted. If the condition is bilateral, more weight is thrown onto the forelimbs.

Many cases in this grade live with the condition reasonably well for many years, but the constant luxa-tion of the patella over the medial lip of the trochlea causes erosion of the articulating surface of the patella and also the proximal area of the medial lip. This results in crepitation becoming apparent when the patella is luxated manually.

Grade 3

The patella is permanently luxated with torsion of the tibia and deviation of the tibial crest of between 30 degrees and 50 degrees from the cranial/caudal plane. Although the luxation is not intermittent, many animals use the limb with the stifle held in a semi-flexed position. Flexion and exten-sion of the joint causes abduction and adduction of the hock. The trochlea is very shallow or even flat-tened.

Grade 4

The tibia is medially twisted and the tibial crest may show further deviation medially with the result that it lies 50 degrees to 90 degrees from the cranial/caudal plane.

The patella is permanently luxated. The patella lies just above the medial condyle and a space can be palpated between the patellar ligament and the distal end of the femur. The trochlea is absent or even convex.

The limb is carried, or the animal moves in a crouched position, with the limb partly flexed.

    Medial Luxations 

These luxations are often termed "congenital" because they occur early in life and are not associated with trauma. Although the luxation may not be present at birth, the anatomical deformities that cause these luxations are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation. Patellar luxation in these breeds should be considered an inherited disease.

Medial luxation is far more common than lateral luxation in all breeds, representing 75 to 80 percent of cases, with bilateral involvement seen 20 to 25 percent of the time.

    Lateral Luxation 

  Lateral luxation in small breeds is most often seen late in the animal's life, from 5 to 8 years of age. The heritability is unknown. Skeletal abnormalities are relatively minor in this syndrome, which seems to represent a breakdown in soft tissue in response to, as yet, obscure skeletal derangement. Thus, most lat-eral luxations are grades 1 and 2, and the bony changes are similar, but opposite, to those described for medial luxation. The dog has more functional disability with lateral luxation than with medial luxation.

Resource: Orthopedic Foundation For Animals

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Preparing For & What To Expect With Your New Puppy

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Introduction to the Miniature Pinscher / Breeders: Finding a Reputable Breeder / Reading and Understanding Ads / Health Issues of the Miniature Pinscher / Preparing for & What To Expect From Your New Puppy / Caring For Your Miniature Pinscher, Cropping, Adopting an Older Miniature Pinscher / Training, Competition, Sports / Little Dog Lost: Pet ID & Tips On Finding Your Run-A-Way ( Written by: Joseph Christie) / Understanding AKC Conformation Competition: Basics / Miniature Pinscher Art / MinPinTalk Public Message Board / What is MinPinTalk 

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