Health Concerns For The Affenpinscher Breed
In general, Affenpinschers are healthy dogs who lead active lifestyles for most of their lives. Your dog's coat will begin to turn gray around the face when he is only about five years old, with the gray spreading gradually until your pet looks like a senior by the time he is about ten. In general, Affenpinschers usually are considered seniors at about 8 years old and live to the age of 10 to 15 years.
when selecting a puppy, choose one that is active, clean and in good weight, with bright eyes and a shiny coat. Then take the pup to a veterinarian for a thorough examination upon bringing him home from the breeder. Like any other breed, your adult Affenpinscher should visit a veterinarian annually for a check-up and inoculations. As a senior, your pet may require a special diet or care, including more frequent routine visits to the vet. In addition to general health matters that apply to any breed, there are a few health issues that are more breed specific.
First, the way that an Affenpinscher's facial furnishings grow his large eyes makes it important that you keep his face clean and remove hairs in the corners of his eyes that may rub on the eyes themselves and cause injury. In rare cases, there may be hairs growing inside the eyelid that will irritate the eye and cause ulceration. In such a situation, there hairs should be regularly checked and professionally removed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. The eyebrows should be trimmed with scissors so that they do not obscure your dog's vision, and matter that collects in the inside corners of the eyes should be removed daily with a piece of cotton ball soaked in warm water.
One of the most serious problem in Affenpinschers is keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or "dry eye." It is not uncommon in this breed, particular in older dogs. Because your dog cannot tell you that he is experiencing the mild discomfort that accompanies the disease in its early stages, it is up to you to be observant. If one of his eyes looks dull, rather than moist and shiny; if the eyes are red, accumulate excess mucus or are frequently encrusted with matter; or if you notice your dog's squinting or pawing at one or both eyes, take him to your vet.
Ask your veterinarian to perform a test to see if your dog is generating an adequate amount of tears. This will ensure that dry eye, if present, is properly diagnosed. If untreated, an affected Affenpinscher will be prone to eye ulcers and eye infections that can lead to serious injury and even blindness. Treatment for dry eye generally consists of administering eye drops or ointment containing cyclosporine to your dog daily throughout his life. Cyclosporine has been shown to increase tear production in some cases, making treatment easier for the owner. In severe cases, surgery may be required to re-route a salivary gland to the eye, where it will provide a substitute source of moisture.
For Affenpinschers with uncropped drop ears, air circulation inside the ear may be impeded. In such a case, it is important to keep the insides of the ears clean and dry. Excess hair inside the ear canal can be removed with your thumb and finger. If you notice a discharge or foul odor from your dog's ear, he may have acquired an infection or ear mites and will require a specific diagnosis and medication from your vet. Untreated ear infections can lead to deafness, so this is not something to be neglected.
An Affenpinscher, like many other toy breeds, may retain some deciduous (baby) teeth after the adult teeth have emerged. This is particularly true of the canine teeth. You can try to wiggle these retained teeth to loosen them, but if they do not come out, your veterinarian eventually may have to extract them. If your pet is being spayed or neutered, this is also a good time to take care of these teeth so that the dog will not have to undergo additional anesthesia.
Affenpinschers, and many other toy breeds, are prone to patellar luxation (slipped kneecaps) and other joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. While, in general, Affenpinschers are light enough in weight that such problems do not become severely crippling, as they do in larger breeds, this is a matter for concern. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a genetic disorder of the hip joint that affects mainly small breeds and usually becomes evident before one year of age. Check with the breeder of your prospective puppy to be sure that the pup's parents have been tested for such problems, as many are hereditary in nature and affected dogs should not be bred. If you are considering doing advanced obedience or agility work with your dog, which involves jumping, be sure to have the dog tested first, as the stress of jumping could aggravate any joint problems.
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