What Kind of Health Problems Are More Frequent in Maltese Dogs?

Maltese dog running

Nobody wants to see its animal sick. But just like us, they can get health problems and each particular breed of dogs has its own weaknesses. The Maltese dog is such a friendly and playful pet, that it can very difficult to watch them sad when they don’t feel right. Here are some of the general health problems you may face when you acquire such a dog, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing so.

The Maltese Dog: A Great Addition to Any Family

Like most dogs, the Maltese has a life expectancy of 12 years or more. It is easily recognizable as it has become a very popular dog for families to adopt. It’s got a great, expressive personality that will always look for you and keep you interested in him. Small and intelligent, it can easily live in an apartment as well as a house, although it really loves running outside. It is usually quite healthy and full of vigour. It is the kind of dog that parents and children love equally.

Be Prepared

Each breed of dogs has its own health issues to which it is more susceptible. The first thing to do when you decide to acquire this dog is ask the breeder about the genetic history of his family so you don’t have to worry about hereditary diseases. They do have genetic problems though, not related to their personal background.

The Maltese is a small dog. Its size is partly responsible for some of its problems, as it makes them more fragile than other breeds. At the same time, there are a few diseases to which they are more prone than others. Keep in mind, again, that when you choose a Maltese, it does not mean that he will ever suffer from these illnesses. But it’s always better to know the danger before, so you can protect them as best as you can, when possible or not be surprised if they fall ill at some point from one of the below sickness.

Various Potential Illnesses


The Maltese dogs have fragile eyes. In fact, they are prone to retinal atrophy. Because of it, you may realize that your dog, one day, will start bumping into things around your house, as the light gets dim. He may even become disoriented, where he once was completely comfortable. There are other eyes problems this breed of dog may go through. They include: Conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, and corneal ulcers.


All dogs can suffer from dental problems. You need to provide them with cleaning biscuits. Not only do they love them, but they will keep their teeth and gum healthy, which is one of the problems the Maltese breed suffers from. If you do not ensure that their teeth are being cleaned regularly, they may find themselves with a build-up of plaque and tartar which can cause periodontal disease.


Sometimes, the liver inside a Maltese dog doesn’t grow as it is supposed to. It is an illness called liver shunt. It will affect your dog as his circulatory system won’t be as developed as it should be. If your dog suffers from this, he will go through vomiting, disorientation even seizures. The ones that have liver shunt usually don’t grow to be very big in size and remain weaker throughout their life. However, it is possible to have surgery done on your animal so he can get better.


If your dog is suddenly lethargic, you should probably take him for some blood tests. He just might suffer from hypoglycaemia. It would also translate in his behaviour through weakness, restlessness and tremors. If you notice these symptoms, don’t wait and take him to a veterinarian so he can be diagnosed and treated afterwards. If so, you’ll find your happy dog back again.

Luxated Patella

The poor Maltese have weak patellas. It gets easily dislocated. When it does so, your puppy may need surgical work done so it can be put back in place. If you notice that the animal is starting to hop, it is definitely a sigh of a luxated patella.


If one morning you find blood in your dog’s poo, do not panic. He might just be suffering from colitis. It is quite common. This illness is an inflammation of the large intestine which causes as well diarrhea and vomiting.

Tracheal collapse

Many small breeds of dogs can be afflicted with tracheal collapse. The tracheal ring is simply not strong enough, and therefore it collapses when the dog inhales.

One of the Maltese dog breed health problems is a collapsed trachea. This condition occurs also in breeds like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Maltese and Toy Poodles. Tracheal collapse means that the tracheal rings do not possess normal rigidity, which results in the collapse of the trachea wall as the dog inhales.

How to prevent health problems in Maltese dogs?

A loving Maltese owner should do everything possible to keep his dog healthy by giving him preventive care, healthy food, and proper exercise. To keep your dog healthy and happy, you should establish a routine, which is very helpful not only for your dog but also for you.

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