Every breed of dog has one or more genetic defects that are particular to its breed. Miniature schnauzers are no different. Genetic Disorders in Miniature Schnauzers are one of the main reasons someone interested in a mini schnauzer as a pet should do their research when selecting a breeder.
Be sure that your breeder does a CERF on the sire and the dam before breeding them. Also, the puppies should be examined. If the breeder hasn’t CERF’ed the puppy, be sure to take the puppy to a veterinary opthamologist within the next 2 to 3 days and then 6 months after the first visit.
Another common series of health issues in miniature schnauzers concern the endocrine system:
- Cushings disease
- Addison’s disease
- and liver problems, such as hepatic shunts.
- Kidney problems: bladder stones and UTIs.
These diseases can sometimes be avoided (or, at least, are less exacerbated) by feeding your mini schnauzer a good diet and keeping treats, junk food and table scraps to a bare minimum. These guys put on weight very easily and their bodies don’t do well processing fats, so a wholesome diet is mandatory. Also, be sure to brush their teeth regularly.
Skin problems are also fairly common with this breed: schnauzer bumps (schnauzer comedo syndrome), skin allergies, and hot spots (usually the result of poor diet and little exercise). Miniature schnauzers are frequently allergic to corn, wheat, and low-grade meat products. So, again, diet is very important.
Some very serious health problems in miniature schnauzers are:
- Heart problems
- mycobacterium avium infection
- Myotonia congenita
- Canine Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis (NCL)
Other health problems that appear less frequently, are:
- Luxating patella (and ruptured ACL)
- Cancer (spay or neuter your pet)
- Von Willebrand Disease – V.W.D.
- fibrocartilaginous embolism
This may seem to be an overwhelming list of issues, but you can still be the owner of a healthy schnauzer by
1) Selecting a great breeder
2) Using a vet familiar with schnauzer health
3) Be disciplined in the care of your mini schnauzer: great diet, proper exercise, regular training, and consistent grooming can prevent a lot of their health problems—don’t love your pet to death by giving them a life so luxurious that it kills them.
Remember, a healthy miniature schnauzer can, and should, live from 12 to 18+ years.