Shiba Inu Health and Care

Shibas tend to have overall good health. However, although they normally have decent health and are free of many genetic diseases that plague other breeds there are a few health issues that a Shiba owner must be aware of.

1) Glaucoma
2) Patella Luxation
3) Hypothyroidsm
4) Seziures
5) Allergies

Glaucoma in the Shiba Inu

GLAUCOMA is a disease of the eye that generally tends to come about after age three. If you notice squinting or tearing of your dogs eye when in light or cloudiness over the cornea, get your pet to a canine Ophthalmologist immediately. We can not emphasize this enough!!

Although a regular vet may be well equipped to handle your pets basic health, he/she will not have the equipment needed to determine detailed eye problems. If immediate treatment is needed, a general practice vet will not be able to perform emergency surgery for the eye in a timely fashion. Never leave what appears to be an eye injury unchecked, even if it seems minimal.

If caught early (within the first 24 hrs) the sudden onset of glaucoma can be treated successfully.

Generally with glaucoma, your pooch will have one heck of a headache, be lethargic, and may be more irritable than normal with you or other housemates do to pressure behind the eye(s).

If Glaucoma is left untreated your Shiba may lose its sight permanently thus requiring more invasive procedures such as the removal of the eye itself.

As a precaution, any Shiba by the age of 2 should see a canine Ophthalmologist. Pressure readings while the dog is young and the eye is normal and healthy should be recorded. The record will be a good measure for comparison later if your dog’s eyes begin to fail.

Always keep good health records on your pet so that you can refer back to them as your Shiba ages. Periodic eye checks will help keep your Shiba in good health!

Patella Luxation in the Shiba Inu

PATELLA LUXATION is the dislocation of the ligament of the knees. On dogs the knees are located on the dog rear hind legs at the curve of the thigh. There are various grades of Patella Luxation and the majority are not debilitating.

Your vet will be able to determine the grade and degree of luxation once the problem has been diagnosed. If you pet experiences lameness after exercising and running about, for example hopping about or holding its leg straight back, this may indicate that there is a weakness in the knee(s) or possibly in another area such as the hips. Cease your pet’s vigorous activities until you obtain a diagnosis from your vet.

Hypothyroidism in the Shiba Inu

HYPOTHYROIDISM in Shibas is generally characterized by lethargic behavior, rough coat, and obesity. In many cases there is a change in temperament as well.

If you pooch is packing on the pounds although you are not over feeding and you are fully exercising your dog daily, then you should think about having your Shiba tested. This disease is easily treated with simple medication given daily.

Seizures in the Shiba Inu

SEIZURES can occur in many breeds of dog. In general, genetics determine the longevity and overall disease factor for most mammals. If seizures occur in your Shiba you will need closely monitor the dog to determine if medication is appropriate for the stage of your Shiba’s life in relation to the progression of the disease. Keep a journal or log of seizure bouts and what triggered the episode. Always consult your vet about treatment options and degree of severity so that your pet can live as comfortably as possible with as few episodes as possible.

Allergies in the Shiba Inu

ALLERGIES in Shibas are common particularly in the lower southern U.S. where seasons typically stay warm and fleas continue to thrive all year.

Allergies can run the gamut and can occur in northern spring season as well during high pollen counts. Inhalation allergies can be quite common in the breed.

Symptoms vary from dog to dog based on the allergen.

Typical symptoms of allergies, like in humans, are runny eyes, swollen eyelids, excessive sneezing or hacking.

In many cases the dog will rub its face on carpet, blankets, or towels, further irritating its nose and eyes and causing fur loss on extremities.

Grass and flea allergies may spurn on excessive licking or de-fleaing of feet or hindquarters. Pulling out of fur and just insane digging although only 1 flea is found are the results of flea dermatitis

In all instances see your vet as soon as possible before symptoms are out of control and your dog is miserable.

This overview of Shiba Inu Health was originally written by Patrice Grossman for Mid Atlantic Shiba Rescue. Used by permission.