Your Miniature Pinscher
Take care of your faithful companion
Miniature Pinscher: what a unique breed!
Your dog is special! She is your best friend, companion and a source of unconditional love. Chances are you chose her because you like Kings of the Toys and you expected her to have certain qualities that would suit your lifestyle:
- Attentive, curious and busy
- Protection of the family: good watchdog
- Outgoing, playful personality
- Brave, steadfast and fearless
- Lively, with a friendly personality
- Quirky, fun personality
But no dog is perfect! You may also have noticed these properties:
- Tends to get bored and separation anxiety when left alone and will have problems
- Can be difficult to housetrain
- Strong Prey Drive - Chases and grabs things that run, including cats and children
- Can be aggressive, fearful or snappy if not properly socialized
- suspicious of strangers
- Can be possessive of toys and food and tends to show dominance
Is it all worth it? Of course! She is full of personality and you love her for it! She is intelligent and loyal; a small dog with a big attitude. She is always on the move and naturally curious.
Originally from Germany, the Miniature Pinscher is an ancient breed. Min Pins have been bred to control rodent populations in homes and on farms. Miniature Pinschers have a distinctive, striding gait and are known to be affectionate and smart companions. They are very active and excel as escape artists. The King of the Toys has an assertive personality and is recommended for experienced dog owners. They can be dominant towards other dogs and get along best with older children and adults.
The health of your Miniature Pinscher
We know you want to take good care of your dog because you care so much about them. With that in mind, we've summarized the health concerns we'll discuss with you about the lifespan of your Min Pin. By knowing the health concerns of Miniature Pinschers, we can create a preventative health plan to monitor and hopefully prevent some foreseeable risks.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pet's breed. There is a general consensus among canine geneticists and veterinarians that the conditions described here have a significant frequency and/or impact in this breed. That doesn't mean your dog will have these problems; it just means she's at a higher risk than other dogs. We are going to detail the most common problems encountered in Miniature Pinschers to give you an idea of what they might face in the future. Of course, we can't cover all possibilities here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
This guide provides general health information that is important for all dogs, as well as the key genetics for Miniature Pinschers. This information will work together with you and us to plan for your pet's individual medical needs. At the end of the booklet we've also included a description of what you can do at home to keep your toy king looking and feeling good. You'll know what to look out for and we'll all feel better knowing we're taking care of your pal in the best possible way.
General health information for your Miniature Pinscher
Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by the age of two. And unfortunately, your Min Pin is more likely to have dental problems than other dogs. It starts with the formation of tartar on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don't prevent or treat dental disease, your pal will lose his teeth and risk damaging his kidneys, liver, heart and joints. In fact, the lifespan of your Min Pin can be shortened by one to three years! We clean your dog's teeth regularly and tell you what you can do at home to keep them sparkling white.
Miniature Pinschers are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones all dogs can get — like parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections can be prevented with vaccinations, which we recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, your age, and other factors.
Obesity can be a significant health concern in Miniature Pinschers. It's a serious disease that can cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, and heart disease. While it's tempting to feed your girlfriend when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can "love her to death" with dog scraps and treats. Instead, hug her, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or take her for a walk. She will feel better and so will you!
All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your King of the Toys body, inside and out. Anything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest their skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into your system in a number of ways: from drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious problem for everyone. For your four-legged friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort and even death, so it's important that we test them regularly. We also recommend preventative medication to keep them healthy.
Spay or castration
One of the best things you can do for your Min Pin is to have them neutered (neutered for males). In women, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and usually the uterus, and in men, we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering reduces the likelihood of certain types of cancer and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us the opportunity while your pet is under anesthesia to identify and treat some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs a hip X-ray or an extracted puppy tooth, this would be a good time. This is convenient for you and easy for your friend. Routine blood tests before surgery also help us identify common issues that increase the risk of anesthesia or surgery, and help us take precautions. Don't worry; We'll discuss the specific issues we'll be looking for when the time comes.
Genetic predisposition for miniature pinschers
Diabetes mellitus is a fairly common condition in dogs. Any breed can be affected, but Kings of the Toys have a higher than average incidence. Dogs with diabetes are unable to regulate sugar metabolism and require daily insulin injections. It is a serious condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Symptoms include increased eating, drinking, and urination, and weight loss. If he shows signs, we will do lab tests to determine if he has the condition and discuss treatment options with you. Treatment requires a serious commitment of time and resources. Well regulated diabetic dogs today have the same life expectancy as other dogs.
Hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia
Min Pins are particularly prone to some relatively rare blood disorders. They occur when the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking the pet's own red blood cells or platelets. When the immune system destroys red blood cells, your dog quickly becomes anemic, weak, and lethargic. His gums will appear whitish or yellow instead of the normal light pink color. When the immune system destroys platelets, his blood does not clot properly and he bruises or bleeds abnormally. We do diagnostic blood clotting tests to check for these problems before we perform surgeries. To slow or stop the immune system from destroying cells, we prescribe steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs. Sometimes an emergency transfusion of red blood cells or platelets is needed.
Few things have such a dramatic impact on your dog's quality of life as the proper functioning of their eyes. Unfortunately, Miniature Pinschers can inherit or develop a number of different eye conditions, some of which can lead to blindness if not treated promptly, and most of which can be extremely painful! We will examine his eyes at every check-up to look for signs of concern.
Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Min Pins. We'll note that the lenses in his eyes become more opaque - meaning they look cloudy instead of clear - as we examine him. Many dogs adapt well to the loss of their sight and get along well with each other. Surgery to remove cataracts and restore vision may also be an option.
Glaucoma, an eye condition that affects Miniature Pinschers and humans, is an extremely painful condition that can quickly lead to blindness if left untreated. Symptoms include squinting, watery eyes, blue discoloration of the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) and redness in the whites of the eyes. Pain is rarely noticed by pet owners, although it is common and can be severe. People with certain types of glaucoma often report that it feels like being poked in the eye with an ice pick! Oops! In advanced cases, the eye may appear enlarged or swollen, as if bulging. We will do his annual glaucoma screening to diagnose and start treatment as early as possible. Glaucoma is a medical emergency. If you see symptoms, don't wait to call us, go to an emergency clinic!
corneal dystrophy. Note the crystalline deposits on the cornea.
The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. Corneal dystrophy is an inherited condition in Miniature Pinschers that causes small white crystal deposits to form in one of the layers of the cornea. There is no known effective medical treatment to remove the deposits. Usually the disease progresses slowly, does not hurt and causes only minor visual impairment, but partial or total blindness is possible. Surgery can be considered in severe cases, but unfortunately the crystals can return.
Illustration of patellar dislocation. Notice how the kneecap has moved out of the groove it normally sits in.
Sometimes the kneecap (patella) of your Min Pin can slip (called patellar luxation). You may notice him running along and suddenly picking up a hind leg and hopping or hopping a few steps. He then kicks his leg sideways to get the kneecap back in place and is fine again. If the problem is mild and only affects one leg, your friend may not need much treatment aside from arthritis medication. If symptoms are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap so it stays in place.
There are two forms of this condition, in which the elbow joint is not properly formed from birth. Both lead to malformations of the joint. Bones misalign, resulting in dislocations, pain, arthritis, and disability. Miniature Pinschers are prone to lateral (outward) rotation of the ulna. As with hip dysplasia in other breeds, careful breeding and pre-breeding X-rays minimize the chances of passing the problem on to the next generation of puppies.
necrosis of the hip
Young Miniature Pinschers can be prone to a painful degenerative hip condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. The exact cause of this condition is not fully understood, but it is thought to be a problem with the blood supply to the hip, causing the femoral head (the top of the thigh bone) to become brittle and break easily. Ouch! It usually occurs between the ages of six and nine months, causes pain and lameness in one or both hind legs, and often requires surgery.
disc disease. Notice how the cushion of disc material has pushed out and is putting pressure on the spinal nerves.
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common condition in Min Pins. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or tears, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. If your dog suddenly becomes unable or unwilling to jump or climb stairs, is reluctant to move, has a hunchback, yells or refuses to eat or use the potty, he is probably in severe pain. He may even drag his hind legs or suddenly become paralyzed and unable to stand up or use his hind legs. If you see symptoms, don't wait. Call us or an emergency clinic immediately! In less severe cases, rest and medication can solve the problem. In many cases of paralysis, we recommend surgical removal of the torn disc (within 24 hours of symptom onset for best results). As with so many other diseases, weight management will help prevent this problem. You should also use ramps or stairs from puppy age so that your dog does not strain its back by jumping up and down on the furniture for the rest of its life.
Your King of the Toys is more likely than other dogs to have a liver condition called portosystemic shunt (PSS). Some of the blood supply that should go to the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly. If your friend has PSS, their liver cannot effectively remove toxins from their bloodstream. To check for this issue, we perform a liver function test every time he undergoes anesthesia, in addition to a standard pre-anesthesia panel. If he develops symptoms such as stunted growth or seizures, we will do blood tests and possibly an ultrasound scan of his liver. Surgery may be required, but in some cases we can treat with a special diet and medication.
bladder or kidney stones
There are a few different types of stones that can form in the kidney or bladder, and Miniature Pinschers are more likely to develop them than other breeds. We will regularly examine his urine for telltale signs of the presence of kidney and bladder stones; they hurt! If your buddy has blood in their urine, cannot urinate, or is struggling to urinate, it's a medical emergency. Call us immediately!
Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death in Miniature Pinschers in their golden years. Most heart disease in dogs is caused by a weakening of a valve. A heart valve slowly deforms so that it no longer closes tightly. Blood then flows back around this valve and puts a strain on the heart. Pets with heart valve disease (sometimes called mitral valve disease) have a heart murmur. If your dog has a heart murmur or physical signs that indicate heart problems, we'll run tests to determine the severity of the disease. The same tests must be repeated at least every year to monitor the condition. If heart valve disease is diagnosed early, we may be able to prescribe medication that could add many years to his life. Veterinary dental care and fatty acid supplementation can help prevent heart disease, and weight management can help relieve symptoms.
There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain's response to a metabolic problem, such as low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. When no other cause can be found, the condition is called primary or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition that commonly affects Miniature Pinschers. If your friend is prone to seizures, they usually start between the ages of six months and three years. A first diagnostic clarification can help to find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually required to keep seizures under control, with regular blood work required to monitor side effects and effectiveness. If your dog has a fit: Be careful not to injure yourself, but don't try to control his mouth or tongue. It won't help him and he might accidentally bite you! Pay attention to the duration of the seizure and call us or an emergency hospital.
Min pins are prone to a variety of skin problems, including what is known as sebaceous gland inflammation. You may notice that your dog has dry, scaly skin with patches of shedding on the top of its head, neck and back (you usually first notice this when your dog is between one and five years old). . Treatment is generally long term and we will likely try a combination of approaches to determine what is most effective for your dog. Response to treatment varies widely, but you will almost always need to be given fatty acid supplements and use special shampoos to remove dead skin and hair. The earlier the skin is examined, the better its results.
Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. All dogs have them. Normally a dog's immune system keeps the mites in check, but some breeds, like your Min Pin, develop an overabundance of these mites. In mild cases, pet owners may notice some dry, irritated, hairless lesions. These often appear on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections can occur. Prompt veterinary care is important to prevent the disease from getting out of control. Many pets seem to grow out of the problem, while others require lifelong treatment.
Color dilution alopecia is a form of hair loss that is more common in Miniature Pinschers than other breeds. It's not painful or itchy itself, but can sometimes lead to annoying secondary bacterial infections. Other forms of hair loss, such as hypothyroidism, demodex mites or poor diet should be ruled out. There is no treatment for color dilution alopecia.
Tumors, both benign and cancerous, can look like anything. This red bump on the skin's surface is a cancer known as a mast cell tumor. Make sure all lumps and bumps are examined.
mast cell tumor
Mast cell tumors are a particularly nasty type of skin cancer that are more common in Miniature Pinschers, and the sooner they are surgically removed the better. The problem is that they often look the same as other types of skin lumps and lesions, some harmful and some not. Any suspicious nodules should be tested and any nodules in question surgically removed as soon as possible. Many cancers are cured by surgical removal, so early detection and removal is crucial.
Hereditary deafness has been found in some King of the Toys bloodlines. If his ears are healthy and he's still ignoring you, a more thorough hearing evaluation may be needed, including brainwave analysis if indicated. If you suspect he's not hearing as well as he should, make an appointment with us right away, as the problem could also be caused by a serious ear infection.
Min Pins are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism, in which the body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Signs may include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin conditions, weight gain, anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral changes. We do a blood screening test annually to check for the disease. Treatment is usually simple: replacement hormones in a pill form.
Caring for your Miniature Pinscher at home
A lot of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for humans. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, brush her teeth and coat regularly, and call us or a veterinary clinic if anything seems unusual (see “What to look out for” below). Be sure to follow our recommended check-up and vaccination schedule. Then we will give her the necessary "check-ups" and test her for diseases and conditions that are common in Min Pins. Another very important step in caring for your pet is getting pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures that she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.
routine care, diet and exercise
Work their routine grooming into your schedule to help your toy king live longer, stay healthier, and be happier throughout his life. We cannot stress enough the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.
- Supervise your pet like a toddler. Keep doors closed, tidy up behind you and cordon off rooms if necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and objects she shouldn't put in her mouth.
- She requires little maintenance. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.
- Miniature Pinschers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!
- Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don't worry - we'll show you how!
- It is well suited to living in an apartment; She needs a daily walk and regular play inside.
- Due to its assertive nature and small size, it is not recommended for households with small children.
- Very sensitive to cold: A warm winter wardrobe is required.
- Keep your dog's diet consistent and don't feed his humans.
- Feed them good quality food that is appropriate for their age.
- Exercise your dog regularly, but don't overdo it at first.
What to look out for
Any abnormal symptom can be a sign of a serious medical condition, or it can just be a minor or temporary problem. The most important thing is to know when and how urgently to seek veterinary help. Many diseases in dogs cause a distinctive combination of symptoms which together can be a clear signal that your Miniature Pinscher needs help.
Call us for an appointment if you notice any of these signs:
- Change in appetite or water consumption
- Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth
- Itchy skin (scratching, chewing or licking), hair loss
- Lethargy, mental fatigue, or excessive sleeping
- Anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral changes
See a doctor right away if you notice any of these signs:
- Scratching or shaking of the head, tender ears or ear discharge
- inability or effort to urinate; discolored urine
- Cloudiness, redness, itching, or other abnormalities affecting the eyes
- Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss
- Gums that are any color other than light pink
- Increasing hip pain in less than a year
- Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating
- Cough, especially at night or on getting up from sleep, rapid breathing at rest
- Any abnormal tremors, tremors, or excessive involuntary tremors
- Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on the face or paws
- Easily startled, no reaction to invisible sounds
- Dull coat, shedding, sluggish, weight gain
- Stiffness in the legs, reluctance to stand up, sit up, climb stairs, walk, jump or "bunny hop"
- Lumps or bumps of any size
partners in healthcare
DNA testing is a rapidly evolving field, with new tests constantly emerging to help diagnose hereditary disorders before they can become a problem for your friend. For the most up-to-date information on DNA and other screening tests available for your friend, visit www.Genesis4Pets.com.
Your Min Pin is counting on you to take good care of her and we look forward to working with you to ensure she leads a long and healthy life. Our goal is to provide the best possible healthcare: healthcare based on their race, lifestyle and age. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
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- Gough A, Thomas A. Breed predispositions to disease in dogs and cats. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell; 2010
- Crook A, Dawson S, Cote E, MacDonald S, Berry J. Canine Inherited Disorders Database [Internet]. University of Prince Edward Island. 2011. [cited 11 April 2013]. Available at: http://ic.upei.ca/cidd/breed/miniature-pinscher
- Breed-Specific Health Concerns [Internet]. American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. [As of April 11, 2013]. Available at: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/breed-specific-concerns/?breed=miniature-pinscher