Health Problems Encountered in Maltese Dogs

Cute maltese dog

Dogs can bring life to a house like no other pets can. It is particularly true with the Maltese dog breed as it is full of joy and always ready to give you lots of love. This very small, intelligent furry ball will be the perfect addition to your family, if you are looking for a small intelligent dog who will run to you every time you come back home. Just be aware of the various potential health issues we will mention below, so you can prevent them.

What Are the Potential Health Problems and Life Expectancy for Maltese Dogs?

The Maltese dog breed is usually a very healthy one. But like all other breeds, they have their weaknesses, which we will go through so that you can prepare for them, if you decide to adopt one in the near future. When buying a dog from a breeder, always ask for its genetic history so that you can at least avoid health problems caused by hereditary diseases. This said, although some of their problems come from their genetics, others are also acquired.

A Maltese dog will usually live around 12 years and maybe even more. In the best case scenario, your friend will go through his life without suffering from any illness, but it is important to acknowledge that they are especially prone to a few common diseases. By doing so, you will be more attentive to symptoms that could show-up in your dog and therefore have him treated right away. Here are the ones you should be on the look-out for.

Problem with Their Eyes

The most common eye trouble that the Maltese dog breed suffers from is retinal atrophy. This disease affects your dog’s capacity of seeing in situations of dim lighting, which can cause him to bump into things and potentially hurt himself. If you notice that your pet looks disoriented in such type of lighting, remember that it can be caused by this illness. Other eye problems that can occur as well are: conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions and corneal ulcers.

Problem with Their Teeth

The smaller breeds of dogs often suffer from overcrowding of teeth in their mouth, and the Maltese dog is one of them. This can cause teeth and gum diseases. It is important to take special care of their hygiene so that they don’t build up tartar and plaque. Have their teeth checked regularly and provide them with cleaning biscuits, so that they don’t suffer from periodontal diseases.

Suffering from Hypoglycemia

This is the most frequent illness in Maltese dogs. It causes them to become lethargic, due to low blood sugar. However, as in human, this can be treated so that your dog can regain his vitality and energy. Look out for signs of weakness and restlessness in your dog to identify the problem. If you recognize these signs, bring your animal to see his veterinarian so he can start to be treated.

The Liver Shunt Health Issues

Liver shunt is caused by the fact that the circulatory system inside the animal isn’t developed as it should be, which ends up affecting the liver. It is quite easy to recognize as the symptoms are multiple and include vomiting, seizures, disorientation and pacing. It is possible to perform an operation to solve this health problem. Maltese dogs affected by liver shunt tend to be smaller and unenergetic.

Luxating Patella

If your pet starts hopping, he may be going through luxating patella. That is what happens when the patella pops out of its normal position. It is a congenital disease that may need to be solved through a surgical operation.


The Maltese dog breed is prone to colitis. You will recognize this health problem when you find blood and mucus inside your dog’s feces. It is a highly painful illness for the dog, which is caused by the inflammation of the large intestine. It results in diarrhoea or constipation as well as vomiting.

Problem with Tracheal Collapse

Small dogs tend to suffer from tracheal collapse more than larger ones. It’s not rare to see it in other dog breeds such as Chihuahua, Pomeranian and Toy Poodles. Because the tracheal ring is not rigid enough, it ends up collapsing when the dog inhales.

How to Keep Your Maltese Dog Healthy

There is no secret to keeping a dog healthy, no matter what breed it is. These animals need a lot of exercise, and just like us nutritious food and preventive care. Any pet receiving such treatment will remain healthy for most of his life. They also need a routine they follow with you, just like kids. That way, they feel happier and more secure in their relationship with you and in general.

Bring your furry friend to see his veterinarian on a regular basis and keep an eye on any symptoms we have mentioned above. If something seems wrong or unusual, don’t hesitate to consult. Better be safe than sorry.

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