There are a number of different health issues that Westies can have, and it’s important that you know as much as possible about some of them if you own one of these dogs. The more information you get about these conditions, the better your chances will be of recognizing them if your own pet starts developing symptoms. It is crucial that you get your dog treatment as soon as possible for any of the following conditions so they can lead a long, happy life.
One of the more common health problems that West Highland White Terriers can develop is allergies. While you may not think of a dog as having allergies, many Westies actually experience some sort of skin disease by the time they are three years old. There is a condition called “epidermal dysplasia”, which is also known as Westie Armadillo Syndrome, that can start to have a negative effect on some of these dogs starting around 3 and 12 months of age. This condition causes the dog’s head, belly, and feet, to become inflamed with severe itching. Unfortunately, this can be a very painful condition for a dog and slowly spreads over their entire body, causing both hair loss as well as skin yeast infections that tend to recur over and over.
There is currently no cure for epidermal dysplasia, though there are medications that can help to manage it fairly effectively. If your dog is diagnosed with this problem, you will need to make a point of using the proper shampoo and medications to minimize its symptoms.
Hip dysplasia, which is a generative disease that affects the hip joint, is another common health problem that many Westies experience at some point. With this condition the head of the femur does not fit correctly into the hip joint socket of the pelvis. Due to the problematic fitting of the hip joint as well as the nature of the condition, it becomes increasingly severe as the dog gets older. While the dog may not show any lameness while it is still young, it usually presents with trouble running and rising in later years. Some of these dogs begin to show symptoms of hip dysplasia as early as three months of age, while others are a year or so old before it becomes apparent. This condition is inherited and there is currently no cure. Medication can be used to ease acute pain in the dog, and limited exercise is also certainly important to prevent further injury and discomfort.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease, while not fatal, can still be a major health concern for many Westies. This condition affects the digestive system of the dog, and it is most commonly due to some unknown cause. Some of the more common symptoms to look for when it comes to this particular condition include weight loss, diarrhea, odor of stool, flatulence, and vomiting. This condition can range from moderate to severe, depending on the dog. The stomach and small/large intestines are affected by the disease. There are numerous medications that can be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, but there is currently no definitive cure.
White Shaker Dog Syndrome
Not much is really known about this neuromuscular disease, other than that it causes tremors in a number of different small dogs. Westies that develop this condition typically begin showing symptoms around two years of age, and it can eventually lead to seizures as well as trouble walking and getting up. While steroids are usually effective in treating the symptoms of this condition, there is still no cure. A dog with this condition may require steroids all its life if it is severe enough.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a form of acute pneumonia that is very common with Westies, and it is also referred to as “Westie lung disease.” This conditions causes scar tissue to accumulate over time in the lung tissue, making it difficult for the dog to breathe until they eventually cannot anymore and die. There is very little known with regards to the exact causes of this condition, and so there is no cure for it currently. The scarring of the lung tissue comes about as a result of long-term inflammation from a number of different irritants over time. These irritants can be anything from infections to pollutants in the air. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common condition with Westies and is very difficult to treat because not much is known about it at all.