Poodle Puppy Health

For all Poodles (toy, miniature and standard) health concerns are: Addison’s disease, bloat, thyroid issues (both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid), hip dysplasia, collapsed trachea, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Sebaceous Adenitis, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease and epilepsy. 

Common Health Problems Seen with Poodle Puppies

Hypoglycemia One of the most important health issues to understand and be ready for is the possibility of hypoglycemia. All puppies are vulnerable to developing this…and if it happens, it happens very quickly. Toy and Miniatures are going to be more prone to this, however any puppy can develop hypoglycemia particularly from birth to 4 months.
This is a very sudden drop in blood sugar levels. It can be fatal.  It can be brought on by stress or not eating enough on a regular basis. 
The symptoms will be 1 or all of the following signs:  Weakness, walking clumsily, appearing to be confused, shaking, shivering or head tremors, falling down, slowed breathing.  If treatment is not given, the puppy can slip into a coma and this can be fatal.
Since is very normal for Poodle puppies to act sleepy and to take many naps during the day, there is usually no need to worry if a puppy shows just one of the signs.  However if you have the feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are not sure if your Poodle is dizzy, you can stand him up and see how he is walking.
The treatment is to very quickly raise the blood sugar levels in the puppy and this should be done before you seek help at the veterinarian or animal hospital. This is done by gently rubbing honey on your Poodle’s gums. Do not use Karo syrup, as many sources will recommend, because it can act as a laxative and make things even worse. The honey will be absorbed directly into the blood stream to work quickly. If you do not have honey, you can offer warm water with dissolved sugar, best hand fed with a small spoon. 
Within minutes you should see improvement. It is then that your Poodle should be brought to the nearest vet or animal clinic. In severe cases, a puppy may need an IV to balance out blood sugar levels and be monitored until they are out of the “danger zone”. If you are not sure if your Poodle is experiencing this, to be safe you can offer your puppy 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar water, it will not cause damage, it will simply make for 1 very hyper puppy for a short amount of time. 

Common Poodle Health Issues - All Ages & All Sizes

Hip Dysplasia – This is a condition in which the Poodle’s hip joint deteriorates or is weaken.  It is thought to be genetic.  When a Poodle has hip dysplasia, the socket is not formed correctly or the ligaments that hold the 2 sections together do not have enough integrity. This causes the ball to become dislocated. 
While this is inherited, there are other factors that can make this problem worse:
• Being overweight – any excess weight will put more of a strain on the Poodle’s hips
• Too much exercise before a Poodle enters into adulthood – which causes prolonged stress on the hip
• A faster than average growth rate – which a dog owner has no control over
Symptoms may begin to show as young as 5 to 10 months old. A Poodle of any age can be diagnosed with this, as the condition may be very subtle in the dog’s early life and only as the dog grows older will an owner notice the signs:
• Weakness in the limbs, usually in the hind legs and often after activity such as walking briskly for a moderate amount of time
• Difficulty rising up off of the floor
• Hopping – walking by bringing both rear legs up at the same time similar to how a rabbit hops
• Rising using front legs only and dragging rear end as if the legs are limp or numb
•Taking very small, hesitant steps
• Unwillingness to jump, exercise, climb stairs or walk uphill
There are treatments. Medication is usually tried first, before surgery would be done. Medication includes anti-inflammatory medications, often coupled with bed rest.  This works well for minor cases.  Some dogs will suffer from ongoing dislocation issues which become progressively worse as the bones wear down. If a Poodle does not show recovery with medicine and bed rest, surgery may be warranted. 
Epilepsy –  While there are technically 4 types of seizures, epilepsy is the most common one seen with canines.  
A dog will have a combination of some of the following symptoms:
  • Drooling
  • Staring out into space
  • Walking in place or pacing back and forth
  • Making strange movements
  • Not responding to you
  • Appearing very confused
  • Stiff limbs
  • Passing out (unconscious)
  • Breathing can stop
To help your Poodle’s veterinarian diagnosis the severity of the seizure and the type that your Poodle has, there are some things that you can do to help:
Do not try to hold your Poodle’s tongue, this should not be done. If there are any objects near your dog, move them away, such as chairs, coffee tables, etc. Immediately shut off any noises such as the TV, radio, etc. Turn off any bright lights. Speak in a calming voice. Carefully put a slim pillow under your Poodle’s head. Be sure to write down information that the vet will need to know:
  • When this happened
  • How long it lasted for
  • All signs that your dog showed
  • What your Poodle was doing right before the seizure
It can also help to video the episode so that the vet knows exactly what happened. 
Medication is used to treat canine epilepsy in Poodles, however it can not completely cure it. Phenobarbital, Dilantin or Primidone are commonly used.