Miniature Pinschers whilst being quite hardy despite their delicate appearance.
Do suffer from some herediatary problems. When looking for a puppy, you should
try and purchase your puppy from a breeder that tests for the following
A disease of the "knee cap" if you like. To my knowledge this disease cannot
be detected on x-ray unless there has been some wear and tear on the joint, due
to the patella luxating. Most good vets, or experienced breeders can feel for
this condition. Second, Third and Fourth degree subluxations are a little more
obvious to detect. It is usually seen when you dog limps or holds it's leg up,
sometimes it may be associated with pain. Dogs affected with this condition
should NOT be bred. There is a hereditary component, have your dog throughly
checked and ask the breeder if they guarantee their progeny from this disease.
Moderate to severe cases of Subluxating Patellas, may require surgery to
correct some of the problem. This can be quite an expensive operation, so
PLEASE make sure that there is a guarantee on the puppy you buy.
PRA-Progressive Retinal Atrophy
A disease of the eyes. The first intial symptoms of this disease are gradual
night blindness. For this reason PRA can be well advanced before it it
detected...UNLESS...you have had your dog screened on a regular basis.
Screening is done on a yearly basis until the dog is at least 6 to 8 years of
age, and is certified clear if the dog has shown no signs of the disease.
Often in this period of time the dog has been bred. Currently there are
efforts to devise a DNA test that will give a better chance of detecting this
disease in dogs early before they have been bred.
A PRA Primer
While not strictly a hereditary disease, there are some people that believe
this to be so. I do not personally subscribe to this theory however. Demodex,
is believed to be a problem associated with a poorly functioning immune system.
It manifests itself as a bald area on the dog, usually on the face, chest or
front legs. It has a distinctive "mousey" odour.
Nearly all dogs and even humans are carriers for the demodex mite. A dogs
natural immunity serves to keep the mites population in check and so most dogs
do not show symptoms of the mange. However, should a dogs immunity be
compromised or low, the mites can and often do multiply to a level where the
disease shows symptoms.
Demodex, is often seen in puppies and young dogs under the age of 12 months.
In many cases of localised Demodex, the condition is self correcting when the
dogs immune system matures sufficiently to cope.
I've had personal experience with this disease on two occasions the first being
with Argus, my first Rottweiler and secondly with Mickie my Miniature Pinscher.
In both cases, I experienced only localised demodex. In Argus' case I was
prescribed a dip, however in Mickie's case I merely decided to do what I could
to build up his immune system first before resorting to harsh dips. In both
cases the mange disappeared, and I've never had a return.
To my knowledge there is no organised testing procedures for Subluxating
Patellas or PRA, required by breeders. This means you will need to pretty much
rely on the honesty and integrity of the breeder you purchase your puppy from.
ASK the breeder whether they test their breeding stock. If they say they do,
ask to see documents to substantiate their claims.
ALWAYS try and purchase your puppy from a breeder that will guarantee their
puppies for these diseases. ASK them if they will allow you a return on a
puppy that is found to be affected.