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Concerning Your Lhasa Apso's Health

By Lauren Leonardi . July 02, 2012 | See Comments

Concerning Your Lhasa Apso's Health

The Lhasa Apso is one of the oldest breeds in human history. With this long lineage comes also a set of health problems. Learn more about the Lhasa Apso and their specific health needs here.

The Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet and were first bred to act as sentinels for Buddhist monasteries.  As such, this small breed is known for its large bark and its fearlessness. The Lhasa Apso is long lived, with life expectancy ranging from 12 to 14 years and some dogs living until 20 years. The breed is generally healthy but can be prone to various eye problems; sebaceous adenitis, a skin condition; and renal cortical hyperplasia. Recent DNA studies have shown the Lhasa Apso to be among the 14 most ancient dog breeds in human history.

Primary Health Conditions of the Lhasa Apso

Owners of a Lhasa Apso should be aware of several eye conditions to which the breed is prone, some of which are hereditary and others environmental. These dogs are known to be susceptible to hereditary progressive retinal atrophy, in which the retina is subject to deterioration. Dogs to be bred should be screened for the condition. The Lhasa can also develop cherry eye, in which the tear duct erupts to the eye surface. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, is a condition in which tears are under-produced, and the eyes become painfully itchy, swollen, and dry. Treatment depends upon the severity of the condition; many cases can be managed with medication and artificial tears; some conditions require surgery.

Secondary Health Conditions of the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is predisposed to a condition of the skin called sebaceous adenitis, in which the dog’s immune system attacks their sebaceous glands. The result of this is a silvery dandruff, a dull, brittle coat, skin lesions, and often a musty smell to the dog. Sometimes the disease can be treated with antibiotics, but no guaranteed cure is available. Treatment with mineral oils, medicated shampoos, and ointments is common. The Lhasa Apso can also be prone to renal cortical hyperplasia. In this hereditary disease the kidneys are improperly developed and cannot correctly filter toxins in the blood. There is no cure, apart from preventing breeding among dogs who have the condition, so keeping the dog well hydrated and of proper weight is the best management option.

Lhasa Apso Exercise and Walking Needs

The Lhasa Apso has moderate walking and exercise needs, so short walks and time to play in the yard usually suffice for this dog. They can also get quite a bit of exercise in the home or apartment through play with their owners. The dog enjoys chasing and fetching balls or other toys. These dogs are not generally prone to weight problems, but regular exercise will increase their overall health and lifespan.

Lhasa Apso Nutritional Needs

The Lhasa Apso can be a picky eater, so finding a food that they eat readily may take a few tries. Given this proclivity, the dog does not tend to become overweight, although weight issues may occur in some dogs. Given its long coat and tendency toward skin conditions, foods that feature vitamins A and E as well as the Omega fatty acids are recommended by some dog nutritionists.

More on the Lhasa Apso

Grooming a Lhasa Apso Dog
Homemade Baked Dry Dog Food for a Lhasa Apso
The History of Lhasa Apsos
How to Train Lhasa Apso Dogs
The Best Dog Breeds for Fancy Grooming

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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