Pomeranian Health Problems
This web site is compiled and maintained by a group of dedicated Pomeranian breeders. This is a list of the most common problems found in the breed. Remember, even the most conscientious breeder may have problems, however, since they are screening for genetic problems, you have a better chance of having a healthy puppy.
Luxating patellas (knees that slip out of place) are the most common problem in the Pomeranian breed. The knees are graded according to the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Normal knees are, of course the most desirable, but Grades One and Two are more common and not unusual in toy breeds. Grades Three and Four may require surgery, sometimes early on in the dog’s life. Be sure to check the knees of any prospective puppy. One with higher grades at a young age will probably be a candidate for surgery.
OFA has forms to fill out on the grade of the patellas and both parents should have their results on file. Remember, only a “normal” result may appear in the database. Request to see a copy of the results from your breeder, when you are visiting your new puppy.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is very common in the Pomeranian breed. Ask to see the results of the thyroid tests of the parents of the puppy you are considering. OFA has a registry for dogs who submit tests for thyroid.
There is a coat loss problem in Pomeranians called SHLS (Severe Hair Loss Syndrome). It is also known as Black Skin Disease. It occurs mainly in males. They may have profuse puppy coats with no guard hairs, which does not shed. When the puppy coat sheds, the coat does not grow back. Another version of the same condition happens at a later age, with a normal appearing coat that slowly starts to thin, starting at the back of the thighs and buttocks and moving up the back. Ask to see the parents of the dog you are buying.
Collapsing trachea is a problem found in many Poms. If your pom makes a honking noise or sounds like he is coughing up a hairball, the problem may be his trachea. It can be diagnosed with a Xray and usually medication is prescribed to reduce coughing. This can be a life-threatening problem, so do not ignore it.
Heart problems can range from very slight to life threatening. Some are impossible to diagnose until a sudden death occurs. Ask your breeder if heart problems run in the lines he is working with.
Hypoglycemia can occur in young Pomeranians. It is more common in the very small or very active puppies. Be sure that your breeder gives you complete instructions on how to determine if your puppy is starting to develop hypoglycemia. It is a problem that the puppy outgrows as they mature. Adult hypoglycemia is a serious metabolic disorder. Dogs who have this should not be bred.
Some Pomeranians have idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic means that we don’t know what causes it. Liver problems, kidney problems, head trauma and other reasons may cause seizures. Idiopathic epilepsy typically occurs between 3-7 years of age and is thought to be inherited. Seizures can be very frightening to someone who has never seen one before and can manifest in many different ways. Look at the epilepsy website to gain a better understanding of the problem.
A Veterinarian who is trained to do CERF testing can check eyes for genetic problems. CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) has a form and a database to check the parents of the puppy you are considering. To date. there have not been many eye problems found, but that may be because not many dogs have been tested. Ask to see the CERF results of the parents of the puppy.
Hip displasia does not tend to be a problem in Pomeranians because of their lightweight. Some breeders are X-raying hips for CHD and should be commended for their thorough testing.