How To Spot Respiratory Problems in Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most loved toy dogs. While they are as cuddly as any other lapdog, Yorkshire Terriers are also small dogs with a big attitude.  They can be proud and stubborn, if left without proper obedience training. Nevertheless, a Yorkshire terrier with good temperament will make the perfect apartment dog - small, sociable and enjoys being in the midst of a bustling lifestyle.

Because of its small size, the Yorkshire Terrier requires the owner to be particularly attentive to its health. The Yorkshire Terrier, like other small dogs, has a general tendency to have respiratory problems such as reverse sneezing and tracheal collapse. The latter is much more precarious than the first, yet the two have similar symptoms. If you suspect that your Yorkie is experiencing some discomfort in breathing, consider the following tips to spot if your dog has respiratory problems.

Know the difference between tracheal collapse and reverse sneezing. Tracheal collapse is the tightening of the trachea or windpipe caused by a softening of the cartilage rings in the throat. In this condition, the diameter of the windpipe narrows, bringing about difficulty in breathing for miniature dog breeds such as Yorkshire terrier, Maltes, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Toy Poodle and other toy dogs. On the other hand, reverse sneezing is a normal condition triggered by any irritation in the throat of your dog such as post-nasal drip, allergies, exercise, pulling on the leash, small particles caught inside, eating or drinking and even excitement. Due to irritation, the soft tissue in the palette spasms and causes discomfort in breathing. The important thing to remember is that one of these conditions is much more dangerous to your dog’s health than the other. Understanding the conditions and its implications are the most important steps in any attempt to care for your dog’s well-being.

Identify the general symptoms. If your dog has any of these two conditions, you should be able to see the following symptoms: loud breathing, hacking, wheezing, gagging and coughing that sounds like a honking goose. These symptoms tend to manifest more severely in Yorkshire Terriers that are middle-aged and obese.

Alert yourself to more specific symptoms. Although both conditions have the same symptoms, a Yorkie experiencing tracheal collapse will manifest more dangerous symptoms while one suffering from reverse sneezing will not. In general, reverse sneezing will only prompt your dog to consistently extend his neck and expand his chest as it becomes more difficult to breathe. On the other hand, a dog suffering from tracheal collapse may sometimes have bluish skin and gums due to oxygen depletion. Fainting can also occur. Nevertheless, it is wise not to let the condition worsen up to this point. Once the general symptoms appear, bring your Yorkshire terrier to the vet. 

As much as possible, alleviate your dog’s discomfort. Protect your Yorkshire Terrier from obvious triggers such as fumes, cigarette smoke, extremes in temperature and humidity and very small particles like dust. Take your dog to a place where there is fresh air. Use a harness instead of a collar. If you are certain that your Yorkie is only experiencing reverse sneezing, massage the throat and cover the nostrils lightly to help the dog swallow and clear the passage. 
These general tips in spotting respiratory problems will only provide you and your Yorkshire Terrier limited assistance. It is still best to employ a licensed veterinarian to assess the condition of your dog and provide necessary treatment. If you care for your Yorkie properly, you can expect to have a delightful companion even up to fifteen years.


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