Common Health Problems in Westies

While they make wonderful companions, just like any breed, Westies can be prone to certain health issues.
Understanding these common health problems is important for responsible dog ownership and proactive healthcare.

  1. Skin Conditions:
    • Atopic Dermatitis: Westies may be susceptible to atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition. This can result in itching, redness, and skin irritation. Identifying and managing allergens, along with regular grooming, can help alleviate symptoms.
  2. Allergies:
    • Food Allergies: Westies can develop allergies to certain foods, leading to digestive issues, skin problems, and ear infections. A balanced and hypoallergenic diet, recommended by a veterinarian, can help manage food allergies in West Highland White Terriers.
  3. Patellar Luxation:
    • Knee Joint Dislocation: Patellar luxation is a common orthopedic issue in Westies. This occurs when the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing discomfort and lameness. Regular exercise, weight management, and veterinary monitoring can help manage this condition.
  4. Hip Dysplasia:
    • Malformation of the Hip Joint: West Highland White Terriers can be prone to hip dysplasia, a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket. Regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help manage this condition, and surgical intervention may be necessary in severe cases.
  5. Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture:
    • Injury to the Knee Ligament: Westies may be predisposed to cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) ruptures. This can result in lameness and pain. Maintaining a healthy weight and providing moderate exercise can help prevent CCL injuries.
  6. Cataracts:
    • Clouding of the Eye Lens: Cataracts can affect West Highland White Terriers, leading to impaired vision or blindness. Regular eye check-ups with a veterinarian can help detect and manage cataracts in their early stages.
  7. Liver Shunt:
    • Abnormal Blood Flow in the Liver: Westies may be prone to liver shunts, a condition where blood bypasses the liver, impacting its normal function. Symptoms include stunted growth and neurological issues. Early detection and appropriate veterinary care are crucial for managing liver shunts.
  8. Craniomandibular Osteopathy:
    • Abnormal Bone Growth in the Skull and Jaw: This condition primarily affects young Westies, causing pain and difficulty in eating. While it often resolves on its own, veterinary monitoring is essential to ensure proper management.

Being aware of these common health problems in West Highland White Terriers is important so you can provide proactive care and early intervention when necessary and be on the lookout for any early signs. Regular vet checks, a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, and a loving home environment can contribute to the overall well-being and longevity of these charming and spirited little doggos. Responsible ownership, coupled with a keen understanding of breed-specific health concerns ensures that Westies can lead happy and healthy lives alongside their companions.

Buying from reputable breeders is always recommended to avoid as many health conditions as possible.
Most reputable breeders are members of Westie clubs who have codes of ethics which members must follow, which helps to ensure that only healthy puppies are bred from healthy parents.