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Health Concerns You Should Be Aware Of When Purchasing a Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terriers, affectionately known as Scotties, are a small, sturdy breed with a big personality. While they are generally healthy, they can be prone to certain breed-specific health conditions. Here's a more detailed look at these potential health concerns:

1. Von Willebrand's Disease

Von Willebrand's disease is a genetic disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot. It's the most common inherited blood clotting disorder in dogs, and Scottish Terriers are one of the breeds most frequently affected. Dogs with this condition may experience excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery. They may also have spontaneous bleeding from the nose, gums, or other areas. Unfortunately, there's no cure for Von Willebrand's disease, but it can be managed with treatments like blood transfusions and medications to help with clotting. Regular monitoring and close collaboration with a veterinarian are crucial in ensuring the best possible management for dogs with Von Willebrand's disease. In addition to medical interventions, owners can also play a vital role in preventing excessive bleeding by taking certain precautions. Simple measures, such as avoiding rough play or activities that may lead to injuries, can significantly reduce the risk of bleeding episodes. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups can help prevent gum bleeding and oral complications. With proper care and management, dogs with Von Willebrand's disease can lead happy and fulfilling lives.


2. Craniomandibular Osteopathy

Craniomandibular osteoarthritis (CMO) is a developmental condition in which the bones of the skull and lower jaw grow too large. This can lead to painful swelling and difficulty eating. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 3 and 8 months. While there's no cure for CMO, pain can be managed with medication, and many dogs will outgrow the condition by the time they are about a year old. With proper management and care, dogs with craniomandibular osteopathy can still lead happy lives. Owners can work closely with their veterinarian to develop a pain management plan that includes medication and other supportive therapies. Additionally, as most dogs outgrow the condition by the age of one, there is hope for an improved quality of life as they mature.


3. Scottie Cramp

Scottie Cramp is a neurological disorder unique to Scottish Terriers. It's characterized by a temporary but severe stiffness or cramp in the dog's legs, especially after exercise or excitement. While it can be alarming to witness, episodes are not painful and do not seem to affect the dog's overall health. There's no specific treatment for Scottie cramps, but keeping the dog calm and avoiding triggers can help manage the condition.

Regular exercise and physical therapy can also be beneficial for dogs with Scottie Cramp, as it helps maintain muscle tone and flexibility. Additionally, providing a stress-free environment and reducing exposure to potential triggers such as loud noises or sudden movements can help prevent episodes. While this disorder may pose some challenges, with proper care and management, Scottish Terriers affected by Scottie Cramp can still lead happy and fulfilling lives.

View a video of a Scottish Terrier with Scottie Cramp here.


4. Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or slipped stifles, is a common condition in small dogs where the patella, or kneecap, dislocates or moves out of its normal location. Mild cases may cause the dog to skip or hop while walking, while severe cases can cause lameness or an abnormal gait. Treatment ranges from rest and anti-inflammatory medications to surgery in severe cases. With proper care and management, dogs affected by patellar luxation can still lead happy and fulfilling lives. Mild cases can often be managed with rest and medication to reduce inflammation, allowing the patella to naturally realign. However, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the dislocation and provide long-term relief. Regular check-ups and monitoring by a veterinarian are important to ensure the condition is properly managed and to prevent any further complications.


5. Cushing's disease

Cushing's disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when the dog's body produces too much cortisol. This can lead to symptoms like increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, panting, high blood pressure, and skin problems. Treatment usually involves medication to control the production of cortisol and regular vet check-ups to monitor the condition. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor causing the excessive cortisol production. Pet owners must work closely with their veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for their dog and to ensure proper follow-up care. With proper management and regular check-ups, dogs with Cushing's disease can live comfortable and happy lives. For example, if a dog is diagnosed with Cushing's disease, the veterinarian may prescribe medication such as trilostane to regulate cortisol production. The pet owner would need to administer the medication as directed and schedule regular vet check-ups to monitor the dog's condition and adjust the dosage if necessary. In some severe cases where a tumor is causing excessive cortisol production, surgery may be recommended to remove the tumor and alleviate the symptoms of Cushing's disease.

If your vet finds the following symptoms, your Scottie probably has Cushing's Syndrome:

  • The dog is drinking copious amounts of water and urinating frequently.

  • The dog has an elevated SGPT.

  • The dog has an elevated alkaline phophatase level.

Watch Video on how to support a Scottish Terrier with Cushings disease.


6. Skin problems

Scottish Terriers are prone to a variety of skin conditions, including allergies, which can cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin. They are also more likely than other breeds to develop melanoma and bladder cancer. Regular grooming can help keep the skin healthy, and any changes in the skin or coat should be checked by a vet.

Remember that not all Scottish Terriers will have these health issues, even though they are more prevalent in this breed. A balanced diet, regular vet visits, and an active lifestyle can all greatly contribute to the health of your Scottish Terrier. If you detect any changes in your dog's health or behavior, you should always visit a veterinarian. A balanced diet, regular vet visits, and an active lifestyle can all greatly contribute to the health of your Scottish Terrier. If you detect any changes in your dog's health or behavior, you should always visit a veterinarian. Additionally, giving your Scottish Terrier regular brushing can help maintain the condition of their skin and lower their chances of acquiring melanoma and bladder cancer. By being watchful and making preparations, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your beloved Scottie.

For example, a detailed example related to the input would be if you noticed that your Scottish Terrier was experiencing sudden weight loss and lethargy. After consulting with your vet, it may be discovered that your dog has an underlying health issue, such as hypothyroidism. Through regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet tailored to manage the condition, you can help maintain your dog's health and well-being. Additionally, engaging in regular exercise and mental stimulation can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle for your Scottish Terrier. It is important to monitor your dog's weight closely and consult with your vet if you notice any sudden changes. Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, can cause weight loss and lethargy in dogs. Your vet may recommend medication to regulate your dog's thyroid levels and a special diet to support their overall health. Regular exercise and mental stimulation, such as interactive toys or training sessions, can also help keep your Scottish Terrier active and happy. Remember, a combination of proper medical care, nutrition, and an active lifestyle is crucial for maintaining your dog's well-being.

It is crucial to select a breeder who can offer you a healthy and well-taken-care-of puppy and has adequate knowledge about all the conditions that affect the Scottish Terrier breed. A responsible breeder will conduct genetic testing on their breeding dogs to identify any inherited health problems and ensure that they are free from them. Although there are no tests available for all Scottish Terrier ailments, testing for as much as possible can help reduce the prevalence of such issues. A responsible breeder must prioritize the health of their Scottish Terriers and minimize the risk of passing on inherited health problems to their puppies.

At Schulte's Scotties, we conduct all necessary health tests on our adult dogs to reduce the risk of passing on any genetic defects to our puppies.

Do you have a Scottie?

We want to hear all about your experiences! By sharing your insights in the comments below, you can help others who own Scotties or are considering getting one. Your thoughts or suggestions on this article would be a welcome and appreciated addition so don't hesitate to leave a comment below.


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