Your feisty miniature schnauzer is so alert and active it's difficult to think that anything can slow him down. However, common medical problems in the breed can affect his health, vision and appearance. Regular veterinary checkups can nip certain problems in the bud with proactive treatment or dietary changes. A healthy miniature schnauzer might live 15 years or more.
Your miniature schnauzer's beautiful eyes are topped by his bushy eyebrows. Unfortunately, the breed is predisposed to eye issues, so it's important to ascertain that your puppy's parents both have certification through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals' Eye Certification Registry. Cataracts can plague miniature schnauzers, but surgery often can restore vision. That's not the case with progressive retinal atrophy, which starts in young dogs as night blindness and causes complete vision loss within a year or two. Entropion, a condition in which the eyelid inverts and lashes rub against the cornea, also requires surgical correction.
Certain skin issues are so common in miniature schnauzers that they've earned the nickname "schnauzer bumps." This is basically schnauzer acne, with blackheads erupting along the dog's back or other areas. A healthy diet, good grooming and regular bathing can help prevent schnauzer bumps. If your dog develops these blackheads, don't squeeze them or use human acne medication for treatment. Take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and suitable canine topical or oral acne drugs. Miniature schnauzers also might suffer from the yeast infection Malassezia dermatitis, which causes hair loss, itchiness, secondary infections and a foul smell.
Kidney and Bladder Stones
If you've ever experienced a kidney or bladder stone, you know the pain they cause. Miniature schnauzers bear the dubious distinction of the breed most likely to form such stones. Ask your vet about a preventive diet to keep stones from forming. If your schnauzer exhibits any urinary tract problems, such as blood in the urine or straining to pee, take him to the vet immediately.
Miniature Schnauzer Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism occurs when the dog doesn't produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone, which regulates many of the body's systems. Symptoms include dull coat, lethargy, behavioral changes and weight gain. Fortunately, once a diagnosis is made, a daily pill can alleviate the condition.
Miniature Schnauzer Pancreatitis
Common in the breed, pancreatitis constitutes a veterinary emergency. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy and abdominal pain. This pancreatic inflammation requires hospitalization and supportive care. If the dog pulls through, he'll probably have to stay on a low-fat diet for the rest of his life.
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.