Maltese Health Issues

Maltese is a breed of very affectionate, gentle-mannered, intelligent, and fearless lapdogs which belong to the group of toy dogs. Their exact origin is unclear. It is considered that they originated from Spitz-type dogs from the Greek island of Malta, where they were favored by the ancient Greeks, and later Egyptians and Romans to whom they were faithful companions. They used to be found in multiple colors, but today there is only white coat Maltese.

The life expectancy of Maltese ranges from 12 to 15 years.

Do Maltese Have Health Issues?

Maltese is generally a healthy breed but certain health issues can arise. The health issues reported in Maltese over the years are the following:

  • Skin problems: demodectic mange, sebaceous adenitis, Malassezia dermatitis
  • Orthopedic issues: patellar luxation (luxating patella)
  • Eye problems: glaucoma, cataracts, eye ulcers, distichiasis, aberrant cilia (abnormal growth of the eyelashes), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Ear problems: ear infection, ear mites, heritable deafness
  • Respiratory problems: asthma, collapsed trachea, reverse sneezing
  • Heart problems: patent ductus arteriosus, heart murmurs, congestive heart failure
  • Bleeding disorders: hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, von Willebrand’s disease
  • Urinary problems: bladder stones, urinary infections
  • Digestive disorders: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colitis
  • Dental problems: bad breath, malocclusion (overbite or underbite), oligodontia, misaligned teeth, retained puppy teeth, tooth loss at an early age, gum disease
  • Portosystemic liver shunt (PSS)
  • Bacterial and viral infections (distemper, parvo, rabies)
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome
  • Idiopathic head tremors
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism

The purpose of this list is to inform Maltese owners about the health problems that can potentially occur in their pets. These diseases have been reported in this breed over the years, but this doesn’t mean they will certainly occur in your pet. However, it is good to be aware of potential health issues so they can be spotted and treated in time if they arise.

These dogs are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections which can be prevented by regular vaccination.

Maltese don’t shed much because they don’t have the undercoat like the vast majority of other breeds so they are suitable for people who are prone to allergies. As for maintenance of Maltese, frequent hair tangling requires regularly combing and checking your dog’s ears, nose and paws, especially after walks. Grooming once a month is needed, and as for the brushing, it has to be done every other day. In order not to dry out their skin, you should not bathe your Maltese very often, once a month will be enough.

These dogs are prone to watery eyes whose secretion flows down the face and leaves noticeable streaks and stains so you need to have their eyes checked regularly and clean the hair from stains. You also need to brush their teeth daily.

As quality nutrition is a very important part of the life of these dogs, it must be in line with their age, gender, and needs from the time they are puppies.

If you are thinking of getting a Maltese puppy, make sure to do so from a responsible breeder. Any responsible breeder should offer insight into certificates or tests that show that Maltese puppies are free from hereditary diseases.