Friday, April 15, 2011

Breed Health Concerns for Poodles

By Suzanne Alicie

Poodles are wonderful pets. They are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please, and just a pleasure to have around. However, as a responsible pet owner you have to look further than the outward appearance and behavior before choosing a dog. Poodles aren’t low maintenance dogs, and even have some breed wide health concerns to consider. It’s important that you are aware of the possible health problems your poodle may have before you adopt one and get hit with veterinary bills.

I was given a poodle for Mother’s Day several years ago. My dog, named Noodle the Poodle by my kids, was a toy poodle. I had never owned a small dog or a poodle before, so I went in blind. Initially everything was great. I kept Noodle groomed and up to date on his shots and vet visits. He loved to play and was an all around great dog. He even got along with my cat!

When Noodle was about 18 months old he was lying on the floor beside the sofa while I watched TV. Suddenly I heard a coughing/choking noise and I jumped up. When I looked at Noodle his whole body was stiff, his eyes and mouth were open and he was gasping for breath. I thought he had found my child’s toy and had eaten it. I tried to feel in his throat to see if there was anything I could remove, but found nothing. I picked him up, and raced for the car telling my husband to get us to the vet. It was a Sunday afternoon, and we went to three veterinary offices before we found one that was open.

While we were in the car Noodle began breathing easier and his eyes lost the glassy look they’d had. But he seemed to be dazed and confused. When the vet finished checking him, she said that she would wait for the blood work to come back, but from the symptoms and his age and breed she deduced that Noodle had epilepsy and had suffered a severe seizure. I was shocked; I hadn’t even known that dogs could get epilepsy.  The vet gave me tons of information on the breed, and I found out several things about my dog that I hadn’t known.

Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy is common in all breeds of poodles, especially in males, and it generally doesn’t strike until they are around two years of age. Noodle did have epilepsy, and had to take medication (Phenobarbital) every day to prevent seizures.

Sebaceous Adenitis is also a poodle condition that causes the sebaceous glands to become inflamed and die. The sebaceous glands exist to produce sebum so your poodle’s skin doesn’t become dry. Scaly patches of skin and patchy hair loss are indicators.

Bloat is a life threatening condition that affects poodles, for some reason when the poodle eats too much or has gas the stomach bloats and twists to cut off the blood supply and trap the gas inside. This is a painful condition and one that can kill your dog in just a few hours. While there is no way to predict this condition, choosing to feed your dog a premium-quality, natural dog food such as CANIDAE will help you to know what your dog is consuming and hopefully prevent gassiness.

Addison’s disease is an inherited condition that causes the adrenal glands to stop working properly. The adrenal glands regulate body functions and allow the body to adapt to stress. This disease usually becomes apparent in poodles after being spayed or neutered, and before age five.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is common in Toy and Mini poodles. This condition causes the dogs retina to shrink and will cause gradual loss of eyesight. This is an incurable disease, but also a slow advancing disease that allows the dog to adapt to the limitations gradually.

If you own a poodle or are interested in getting one, make sure that you provide regular vet checkups, can afford medication and grooming costs, and are prepared to do whatever you can as a responsible pet owner to make sure your poodle has a long and full life.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. I really didn't know all this about the miniature poodles. We had a standard poodle when I was a child but that was back in the dark ages. I don't think we had any trouble with her. She was a fantastic dog.

  2. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for this very informative post. We have a Bichon/Poodle mix and I didn't know about any of these Poodle-related diseases until now. We only feed our dog Canidae and it has kept him very healthy!

  3. Hello! We adopted our Mini Poodle from a shelter and had no idea he was a poodle until we did a DNA test. I am looking out for all these genetic issues. I wanted to add that although it is not commonly listed as a breed characteristic, I know many Mini Poodles with sensitive tummies. Mine was diagnosed with GERD at a really young age. He does best on Canidae kibble with a little yogurt for the probiotics. Thanks!

  4. Wow, I never knew that poodles had these issues. Thank you for such an interesting and informative post.

  5. Thank you for your helpful information. My vet could not diagnose the problems our poodle was having. The vet threw me out of the office when I wanted to know what the diagnosis was. The name of the animal hospital I got thrown out of and DO NOT RECOMMEND is Animal Hospital of Historic Norcross in Norcross, Georgia. After reading the information, I realize that it is Sebaceous Adenitis. After some research, our poodle has all the signs and symptoms of this condition. Thank you again because now our dog will not suffer like he did the past two to three years.


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