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Pet Insurance for Yorkshire Terriers: The Rapunzel of the Dog World

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Tips to Finding The Best Pet Insurance for Your Yorkshire Terrier

A dog originally bred for hunting rats and protecting their home, pet insurance for Yorkshire terriers will give your dog protection against unforeseen vet bills.

Yorkshire terriers don’t shed. Instead, their hair grows just like human hair. Indeed, left to grow some Yorkies are capable of growing hair two-foot long. Go Rapunzel!  

But these hirsute lovelies are just about good looks, they also have character by the spadeful. With their origins are ratters, keeping the vermin population under control in Yorkshire mills, these small dogs are afraid of nothing.

However, keeping your dog fighting fit can depend on accessing the veterinary care they need. As a breed, the Yorkie is prone to certain health problems. The implication being that if you own a Yorkie, then your dog is more likely than other breeds to suffer from these conditions.

Below is a table of Yorkshire terrier diseases. It makes for sober reading. But being aware allows you to make informed decisions, such as whether or not pet insurance for Yorkshire terriers will give you peace of mind.

Condition 

Signs 

Treatment 

Cost

Patellar Luxations (Wobbly kneecaps)

A skipping gait

Ranges from pain relief to corrective surgery

Surgical reconstruction of the knee from £1,000 – 5,000

Legge-Perthe’s disease

Severe hip pain in puppies and young adults

Surgical removal of the top of the thigh bone

Surgery ranging from £800 upwards (often much more.)

Porto-systemic Shunt

A slow growing puppy. Heavy drooling, altered behaviour, seizures, and loss of consciousness

The gold standard is to surgically tie-off the blood vessel shunt past the liver.

Specialist diagnostics and surgery, often costing at least £5,000

Skin Allergies

Itchy and scratchy become the dog’s middle names

Control rather than cure, with the use of sophisticated modern medications

The latest treatment is an injections every  4 – 8 weeks costing around £200 a shot

Collapsing Trachea

Breathing difficulties and collapse

Severe cases need a stent placed to support their windpipe

Diagnosis £300-500. Specialist surgery £4,000

Cushing’s Disease

Thin hair and skin, pot belly, lack of energy

A daily dose of trilostane (Vetoryl)

Cost approx £2 / day. Monitoring blood tests £150 every 3 months

Patellar Luxation

‘Patella’ is another word for ‘kneecap’, whilst ‘luxation’ means inappropriate movement. This adds up to patellar luxation meaning the far less imposing sounding ‘wobbly kneecaps’.

But joking aside, this condition is no laughing matter. The patella provides a fulcrum for the big thigh muscles to pull on. When the kneecap can slip to one side or another, it changes the mechanics of how the leg bends. This has a number of effects from causing the knee to lock up to creating inflammation and pain.

In its mildest form, these dogs skip the odd step with a back leg. No great shakes. However, if the kneecap pops out of place regularly, this rubs against the bones and sets up inflammation. Its inflammation that then creates pain, and if it persists for long enough will cause early onset arthritis.

So those dogs worst affected can be in a lot of discomfort and also find it difficult to walk.

Happily, there are solutions out there. For the mildest cases then anti-inflammatory drugs will control the pain and keep the dog on their paws. But for more severely affected dogs, they can have a weak leg and be in constant discomfort.

These guys do best with corrective surgery. Again, procedures vary but the most sophisticated remodelling requires specialist surgery and the costs quickly mount into the thousands. This is where pet insurance for Yorkshire terriers helps put a spring back in your step, as you no longer need worry about selecting treatment based on what is affordable.

Legge-Perthe’s Disease

This is a particularly distressing condition as it affects young dogs and can cause disabling pain.

The condition itself is the result of the top of the thigh bone failing to grow properly. Indeed, rather than just failing to grow, the bone of the femoral head crumbles. Not only does the dog have a non-functional hip joint, but it also causes severe discomfort.

Thus, the dog will be lame on the affected back leg, and may well be grouchy because of the constant pain. Whilst this is never good news, somehow it’s so much worse because these dogs are growing puppies or young adults.

It’s thought the condition is prevalent in Yorkies because of their genetics. It seems some dogs carry a faulty gene which causes the blood supply to shut down too early to the growing hip joint.

Sadly, pain relief is often insufficient to give these brave fellows a good quality of life. Instead, surgery to dissect out the diseased bone can give them a new lease of life. Of course, the gold standard is a total hip replacement…which becomes attainable when you have in place pet insurance for Yorkshire terriers.

Portosystemic Shunts (Liver Shunts)

A puppy in the womb gets his nutrition via the placenta from his mother. She has already processed and purified her blood, so the puppy doesn’t need his own liver to kick in yet. But once the puppy is born, then his liver needs to step up and start detoxing his blood.

Mother Nature has a wonderful way of doing just this. When the puppy is in the womb, blood ‘shunts’ past the growing liver. But within hours of being born, the shunt shuts down and causes blood to be re-routed through the liver and ‘switch’ it on.

The condition known as a portosystemic shunt occurs when this helpful shunt fails to close when it should. Instead of the liver becoming fully operational its bypassed. This has all sorts of implications because one of the liver’s important functions is to safely get rid of naturally occurring toxins from the bloodstream.

Without the liver working to detox, each meal the dog eats slowly poisons the dogs. This is why the symptoms are often worse shortly after eating. Sadly, those symptoms can be severe, ranging from mental confusion to seizures or even coma.

Whilst medication can help control the symptoms, it doesn’t offer a cure. Instead, the gold standard is a delicate procedure to identify the shunt and close it surgically. This is the preserve of specialist surgeons and comes with a big price tag to match.

Without this surgery, the pup is likely to have a much shortened life…even with the aid of medical management of their symptoms. Therefore having financial provision in place should your Yorkie develop this condition can literally be a life-saver.

Skin Allergies

Yorkies have a very sensitive skin. When certain pollens or allergens come into contact with the skin it makes some Yorkies intensely itchy. This condition, known as atopy, can become a bit of a money sink.

It’s not possible to cure a dog of allergies, only control the symptoms. Thankfully there are more options than ever for treatment. As time goes by the drugs have become more and more sophisticated. This means better itch control but with fewer unwanted side effects.

However, the cost that’s gone into developing these wonder drugs has to be recouped by the drug companies, which means a high price tag attached. Consider the dog might need medication for life and even a small dog like a Yorkie adds up to £££s over the months and years.

But more than this, there’s a brand spanking new injection which is a ‘biological therapy’ rather than a drug. For some dogs it seems a miracle answer and switches off their allergies. But guess what? It’s expensive. At nearly £200 a shot for a treatment repeated every 4 – 8 weeks, this is a big financial commitment that makes pet insurance for Yorkshire terriers seem a genius idea.

Collapsing Trachea

The trachea (or windpipe) is the tube that gets air down into the lungs. The trachea is a mini-engineering wonder because its flexible (like a hosepipe) but stiff enough to be tube-like.

As the name suggests, a collapsing trachea can collapse or flatten down, which stops air passing in and out of the lungs. Think of a foot on a hosepipe and how the water stops flowing, and you get the general idea.

This is a distressing, disabling condition which is often accompanied by a noise like a goose honking. The gold standard treatment is to place a stent around the trachea to support it and keep it open. But there’s a problem.

The slack portion is often with the chest cavity, which means specialist surgery and intensive care facilities are needed…with a price tag to match.

Cushing’s Disease

This is a hormonal condition that affects older Yorkies. It causes a thinning coat and skin, potbelly, and lack of energy. Often, the unwary label the signs as just “Getting old”, whereas there is an effective treatment which can get the spring back in their step and a plush regrowth of hair.

This condition is caused by an overproduction of natural steroids in the body. The treatment, a daily capsule of trilostane (Vetoryl) helps correct this imbalance and return the dog to normal. However, this is an expensive medication, costing around £2 per capsule. There’s also a deal of monitoring blood tests that need to be done every three months, to ensure the dosage is correct.

Pet Insurance for Yorkshire Terriers

It pays to think seriously about pet insurance for Yorkies. If you decide against it, fair enough, but at least you had the chance to make an informed decision. Even a small dog like a Yorkie can come with hair-raising costs if they require sophisticated medications or specialist surgery.

For more details on choosing the right policy for your dog, read our sister article: A No Nonsense Guide to Finding the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs

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