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The American Shih Tzu Club has a very nice section on Health issues in Shih Tzu. Click below for more information.


Be sure to read up on Shih Tzu Juvenile Renal Dysplasia





HERNIAS IN SHIH TZU PUPPIES, as well as other toy breeds, are very common, and is not a medical condition or cause for immediate concern. Please be informed before you agree to surgical hernia repair on your SHIH TZU PUPPY.

The following information is copied from Bullwrinkle.com and is being offered as an educational tool:

"A hernia is a protrusion or bulge of a part of the body tissue, fat, or an organ through an abnormal opening of the surrounding tissue. There are numerous types of hernias, each type named after its affected area.

A hernia which can be pushed back into the abdomen is called reducible. Hernias which are not reducible are called incarcerated. If the blood supply to an incarcerated hernia is pinched off, the hernia becomes strangulated. A strangulated hernia is an emergency situation and must be brought to the attention of your veterinarian."

The most common types of hernias in shih tzu puppies are:

"An umbilical hernia is the most common type of hernia found in puppies. In case of umbilical hernias, a portion of fat or internal organs protrudes through an incompletely closed umbilical ring. Umbilical hernias may be present at birth, or may be acquired. The most common means of acquiring an umbilical hernia is a result of the umbilical cord being severed too close to the abdominal wall. In most cases umbilical hernias are small and reduce as the puppy grows. Generally, by the time the pup is six months old, the umbilical hernia will shrink and disappear on its own. "

"An inguinal hernia is the result of abdominal organs, fat or tissue protruding through the inguinal ring. Inguinal hernias are presented as skin-covered bulges in the groin. They can be bi-lateral, involving both sides or unilateral, involving only one side. Inguinal hernias are more common in females than males, but do occur in both sexes. As with umbilical hernias, most inguinal hernias will shrink and disappear as the puppy grows. Inguinal hernias can also occur in unspayed, middle-aged female dogs. This may occur as the result of stretching of abdominal tissue due to pregnancy. "

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is not a health issue but for lack of a better place I decided to add it here.

This can be very scary for someone who does not know what it is or who has never seen it before. The dog displays a loud snorting sound, making long rapid grunting breathing sounds, usually they stand still and extend the neck and head. The dog is visibly stressed and does not know what to do. Remain calm and gently place your thumb over the dogs nostrils forcing the dog to breath through its mouth. This breaks the cycle and the dog returns to a normal breathing pattern. Is is not uncommon for the dog  to have another fit immediately following. Just repeat the process. 

Reverse sneezing (also called backwards sneezing) or inspiratory paroxysmal respiration is a phenomenon observed in dogs, particularly in those with brachycephalic skulls. 

Its exact cause is unknown but may be due to nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus irritation (such as an allergy), the dog's attempt to remove mucus, or from over-excitement due to present activity. It is characterized by rapid and repeated forced inhalation through the nose, accompanied by snorting or gagging sounds. Though it may be distressing to the animal, it is not known to be harmful. Most dogs are completely normal before and after episodes. In addition, most dogs will have repeat episodes of reverse sneezing throughout their lives.

 dog help -  Help your dog out, educate yourself at the Veterinarian Dog.

This site has every medical term related to animals and gives you a definition. It also has useful information about food poisons. Lots of information for people who want to know.

Pinched Nostrils/ Stenotic Nares &Teething

Shih Tzu puppies often suffer from pinched nostrils when they are teething. This can take place from about six weeks until approximately six months. Stenotic Nares is simply a term used when the nostrils are pinched upon examination. This term is used VERY frequently by vets and clients are encouraged by vets to do surgery to open the nasal passages. A sure sign of an inexperienced vet is one who examines a brachiocephalic breed and observes pinched nostrils during the teething stage and states the puppy needs surgery. 

Shih Tzu are bred to have flat faces and therefore the flatter the face the more likely your new puppy will suffer from pinched nostrils when he or she is teething. Just like human babies swelling takes place as the puppy teethes. Swelling of the bronchial tubes, gums, ear canals, and nostrils as well as a low grade fever, are all common. Snorting and stuffy sounds accompanied by tearful eyes and a clear runny nose with the occasional bubble are common place when a Shih Tzu puppy is teething. Again, the flatter the face the more likely your puppy will have extreme symptoms.

So how do you know a Shih Tzu is suffering from teething and not a genetic issue that will require surgery? You have to find a breeder you can TRUST!! A Shih Tzu that is born with Stenotic nares is not a Shih tzu who suffers from pinched nostrils while teething.  This puppy will most likely require surgery. 


The symptoms of teething 

  • Nostrils will be "pinched" together to varying degrees. It is not uncommon for a Shih Tzu puppy to have to breath through its mouth during this phase of teething.

  • A clear discharge from the nostrils and sometimes little bubbles.

  • Eyes will tear and face may stay wet during this period

  • Opening mouth to take a deep breath

  • Chewing on things brings comfort to the gums as new teeth take their place in the mouth.

Things to be concerned about - 

  • Lethargic, sleepy puppy who does not play

  • Green discharge from the nostrils

  • Puppy who is not interested in food and does not take treats

  • Puppy who never wags his or her tail.


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Bailley's Blog - Bailley was diagnosed with Cushing's in November of 2014. We lost Bailley 8/15/17

This is a record of our journey and how I chose to treat her. It is my hope others will find comfort and answers.



Tian Mi Shih Tzu uses Pet Oasis Water Stands with Lixit bottles 





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Revised: June 17, 2015