Taking Care of Your Toy Size
Miniature Schnauzer


Your toy size Miniature Schnauzer is no different from any other toy breed (Chihuahua, Yorkie, Pomeranian, Maltese, etc.). It is subject to the same health risks.

The toy size Miniature Schnauzer is relatively new to the veterinary practice. Most veterinarians have never seen a one pound eight week old schnauzer puppy. Because of their tiny size, veterinarians sometimes assume that they are a runt (prone to health problems), or that a heart or liver condition exists and is responsible for the puppy’s small size. Though in some cases this could be true, in most cases it is not. I have spent many years of breeding down the size of these precious little ones, and therefore don’t have runts. One pound eight week old puppies are very common for me. Occasionally I have whole litters of these tiny babies.


The liver’s job is to cleanse the blood of toxins. When a liver shunt occurs it prevents this job from being accomplished. The blood vessels responsible for feeding the liver have, in most cases, bypassed the liver. It has always been believed that this is a hereditary condition or a birth defect. New findings indicate that in some cases it can be brought on by stress. In any case, it can be diagnosed properly without surgery. A simple blood test can show an indication of a liver shunt. This test combined with a test done by fasting (a bile acid test) can give you a good idea of whether or not it does exist. If a shunt does exist, then surgery is necessary.


A large percent of toy size puppies experience a condition called, Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Hypoglycemia is not genetic. Hypoglycemia is preventable, treatable, and correctable. When a puppy, small in size, has a hypoglycemia attack, some vets jump to the conclusion that it is a liver shunt. In most cases this is not true. Symptoms of hypoglycemia is lethargy or depression, trembling, gums are white, teeth are clenched, and in extreme cases seizures. Should a seizure occur, death could be eminent. You must immediately give your puppy sugar. Nutra Cal or Nutra Stat on hand is excellent for this. Should you not have this, you can substitute Karo syrup, corn syrup, honey, etc. Do not try to use artificial sweeteners. Please read the article on “Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)@. Do not let one meal go by uneaten or unnoticed. Your puppy needs to eat three times a day. Until your puppy has adjusted well into it’s new surroundings, letting the food soak up warm water for each feeding is a must.

Sometimes a flavorful enticement with canned food is a necessary thing. Supplement your puppy two to three times a day with a nutritional supplement before feeding. ( Nutrical, Nutristat, Fortical, etc.) This is to keep your puppy’s blood sugar level up. For persons who work and are not supervising their puppy all day, this is essential.


It is all too common for toy breeds to have retained teeth. Retained teeth cause plaque and bacteria build up. This is a major cause of health problems in these tiny babies. It can cause heart and kidney problems, and others. You need to keep the baby teeth pulled as they become loose and be sure they are removed by the time they reach 8 months of age. Then keep your precious baby on a good teeth cleaning schedule. Brushing their teeth can certainly be of great benefit. Please practice good dental care. Rope toys, hard plastic chew toys, nyla bones, Budda bones, Nylabones, Dream Bones, edible bones, all natural treats, just to name a few, are good things to give your little one. DO NOT, however give your puppy rawhide chews, unless they are in tiny pressed together pieces. Any large pieces of rawhide that your puppy swallows can be lodged in the intestines causing expensive surgery or death. RAWHIDE IS NOT DIGESTIBLE. There are many dental bones out there with palatable flavors, good for the teeth, and the puppy likes them. However, do not give your puppy Greenies. They have been known to block up the digestive system causing death.


I feed Diamond Naturals, an affordable, premium dog food. Diamond Naturals can be found at a feed store or Tractor Supply. I start your puppy on Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice Small Breed Puppy formula. This is a very tiny kibble. A good, premium puppy food should be fed till your puppy is 8 to 10 months of age. Then feed a premium adult food. For puppies or pets with sensitive digestive systems, Diamond makes a superior dog food called, Taste of the Wild. I particularly like the Samon and Potatoe formula.


Another major risk is that of stepping on, kicking, or dropping your puppy, even when your puppy reaches adulthood. What may appear to be a minor blow to your puppy could be fatal. A bell fastened to your puppy’s collar could help to prevent an accident by allowing you to know where he/she is at all times. Make your entire family aware of the risks. Don’t allow your puppy unattended on the furniture or with your children.
You must not allow your puppy to get chilled or hot. Extreme temperatures can be life threatening and/or cause permanent damage.

Under NO circumstances will money be refunded on a toy size miniature schnauzer until a necropsy is performed. If the puppy should die, a necropsy must be performed by a teaching institution (Such as Texas A & M University) and then and only then will the puppy be replaced or refunded at my discretion. Replacement or refund will take place only if it shows without doubt that the puppy died from a genetic defect.
Thank you for allowing me the time to inform you of these issues. I am very concerned, as you surely are, about the welfare of your puppy. Please take special care of this precious little creature.

You can call me at any time with questions whether health related or not. I am only happy to be of any help that I can in keeping your puppy healthy and happy.

“Janice Edwards”


(Low Blood Sugar)

This is a central nervous system disorder caused by low blood sugar. It occurs mainly in toy breeds between six and twelve weeks of age. Often it is precipitated by stress.

The first signs are listlessness and depression. They are followed by muscular weakness, vomiting or diarrhea, tremors (especially in the facial muscles), and later convulsions, coma and death. The entire sequence is not always seen. The dog may simply appear to be depressed or he may be weak, wobbly, and jerky, or he may be found in a coma.

Hypoglycemia can occur without warning when a puppy is placed in a new home or while being shipped. It might appear after a puppy misses a meal, chills, becomes exhausted from too much playing, or has a digestive upset. These upsets place an added strain on the energy reserves of the liver and bring on symptoms, if the dog is susceptible.
Puppies who are weaned on rice and hamburger are more likely to develop hypoglycemia. Their diet is deficient in certain ingredients needed to sustain the liver.

TREATMENT: Treatment is directed at restoring blood levels of glucose. Begin at once. Prolonged or repeated attacks can cause permanent damage to the brain. If the puppy is awake, give him Karo syrup, honey or sugar in water by mouth. He will begin to improve within 30 minutes. When he is unconscious, he will have to be given a Dextrose solution intravenously. It may be necessary to treat for swelling for the brain. A veterinarian should be called at once, regardless if the puppy is awake or unconscious.

Prevent recurrent attacks by feeding a high quality dry food diet and adding to it sugar, syrup or honey. See that the puppy eats at least every 4 hours and receives a daily vitamin. Owners of toy puppies should not overtire them or allow them to chill. Play must be offset by frequent feedings. A puppy, who does not eat frequently, for whatever reason, is heading for trouble.

Source: Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook
By: Dr. Delbert G Carlson, D.V.M.
Dr. James M. Griffin, D.V. M.


The following article is a reprint of an article found at the following link:http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1578&articleid=882.
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Portal Caval Shunts (Liver Shunts)Race Foster, DVM
Marty Smith, DVM
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
This much-discussed disorder is most commonly the result of improper fetal development of the circulatory system. To thoroughly understand liver shunts, it is important to have an understanding of the development of blood vessels in the fetus. The fetus, through the placenta, umbilical vein and artery, is connected to the mother’s circulatory system (bloodstream). Therefore, the liquid portion of the blood of the fetus can move into the mother’s bloodstream, but the cells cannot. The mother’s liver then performs the important liver functions, such as eliminating wastes, for the fetus. The mother’s liver is necessary for this, since the fetal liver is just developing and is not yet capable of many functions including removing metabolic wastes from the fetal bloodstream, storing minerals, and enzyme production. Because the fetal liver is underdeveloped, the fetus possesses blood vessels which transport blood around the developing liver rather than to and through it. This is necessary, since the small developing fetal liver cannot filter or handle the full quantity of blood that needs to be filtered. When the fetus is born, the placenta, umbilical vein and artery (jointly referred to as the umbilical cord) are severed and are no longer functional. Once the umbilical cord is cut at birth, there is no longer this connection between the mother and the just-born puppy. At this point, the puppy must rely on his own liver functions and not that of his mother.

At or about the time of birthing (whelping), the blood vessels within the fetus, which allowed blood to bypass the developing fetal liver, must close. Once these vessels close, the puppy’s blood is forced to pass through the puppy’s now developed liver. If these fetal vessels fail to close, then blood is allowed to abnormally be shunted around the liver, hence the name liver shunt. When blood is shunted around the liver rather than to and through it, the liver is not able to filter all of the blood, and therefore, toxic metabolic wastes such as ammonia are not adequately removed from the bloodstream. The degree to which blood is shunted around the liver is dependent on the extent to which shunting vessels persist. Liver shunts may be large allowing much blood to bypass the liver, or they may be partially closed allowing only small amounts of blood to shunt around the liver. The extent of blood shunting varies with every dog.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of liver shunts vary and are directly related to the extent of blood shunting. If the liver is receiving and processing 95 percent of the puppy’s blood, the symptoms may be few, if any. More severe shunts are life threatening with many symptoms. Symptoms may be evident in these puppies at only a few weeks of age and may include low growth rates, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, salivation, increased urination, seizures, and death. Dogs with less severe liver shunts may not exhibit any clinical signs until the puppy is much older, even up to a year of age.

What are the risks?

All liver shunts, whether mild or severe, are considered serious and life threatening. Even mild liver shunts generally exhibit greater symptoms as the puppy increases in body size. The larger the puppy the more metabolic wastes produced, and therefore, the more the liver is needed. Most affected dogs will not live a normal life expectancy unless the abnormality is corrected.


What is the management?

Management techniques for liver shunts have improved. The best and preferred treatment is to identify the abnormal blood vessels and surgically close them, eliminating the shunt. This will require sophisticated testing and may include radiographs (x-rays), laboratory blood analysis, ultrasound, and intravenous dye studies. The expense and results are variable depending on the degree of shunting, age, and symptoms. In addition to surgery, alterations in diet, and administration of medications are often beneficial. Restricted protein diets help reduce the production of the toxic waste, ammonia, and will therefore help lessen the need for liver detoxification. Owners and veterinarians should thoroughly discuss the seriousness, expense, and expected outcome associated with the management of all individuals suspected of having a liver shunt.

The above article helps us to understand what the liver shunt is and how it affects the puppy. Basically all pups are born with a liver shunt. This is what makes this a hereditary defect (Actually, most accurately a birth defect). But it is not specifically associated with any one line of dog. Some pups have the misfortune of being the one that the shunt does not close properly. There is no way to determine what pups will have this problem until it occurs. The only test to determine that your puppy has this defect is the acid bile test. This test will show high levels of ammonia if the puppy has a liver shunt. The first signs that a puppy has a liver shunt is as soon as it is weaned from its mama, it will react to eating food by showing signs of lethargy and high levels of toxins. They may vomit, have a seizure, or just fall over.

“The Peeing Post”

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog’s nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

Vaccination protocols

I have some incredibly good news….
Here is a QUOTE from The Senior Dogs Project (reported through AKC Parent Club list September 28, 2003):

Vaccinations: All Veterinary Schools in North America Changing Vaccination Protocols Recent editions of the Senior Dogs Project’s newsletter have reported on the ever-broadening trend of eliminating vaccinations for adult dogs, except for rabies, where required by state law.
We have now had a report that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.

Here, in a nutshell, are the new guidelines under consideration:
“Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months. If a modified live virus (MLV) vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces immunity, which is good for the life of the pet (i.e., canine distemper, parvo, feline distemper). If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine and there is little or no effect. The titer is not ‘boosted’ nor are more memory cells induced.

“Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines. Puppies receive antibodies through their mothers milk. This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks. Puppies and kittens should NOT be vaccinated at LESS than 8 weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine and little protection (0-38%) will be produced.

“Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine. Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system. A series of vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age.

Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 months) will provide lifetime immunity.”

Vaccinations have saved many pets’ lives over the years, but they aren’t without risk. Now, with new research showing that immunity may last longer than once thought, veterinary experts say it’s safer to decrease the frequency of most shots that typically have been given every year.

Side effects from vaccinations range from mild itching and swelling to anaphylactic shock leading to death. Cats may develop vaccine sarcomas, which are cancers that develop at the site of the injection. And dogs may develop certain autoimmune diseases.Veterinarians have suspected for years that annual vaccinations for cats and dogs aren’t necessary, but large, well-controlled studies just didn’t exist to prove it one way or the other. With the exception of rabies vaccine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t require data beyond one year for any vaccine.

With that being the case, vaccine manufacturers arbitrarily recommended annual vaccinations, and most veterinarians, concerned about liability issues, concurred.

Sometimes immunity lasts a lifetime

More recently, however, several published studies have shown that immunity provided by some vaccines lasts for much longer than one year and in some cases for a lifetime.

“We know that for [canine] distemper and parvo, for example, the immunity lasts a minimum of five years, probably seven to nine years, and for some individuals for a lifetime,” says veterinarian Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet, the first nonprofit national blood bank program for animals, located in Santa Monica, Calif.
“For cats, so far we have challenge data out nine years showing that immunity is still protective,” says Dodds. And with rabies vaccine, new data indicate the immunity lasts for at least seven years, she says.
What does all this mean for your dog or cat? As with many other aspects of veterinary medicine, vaccinations are becoming individualized, but in most cases, fewer and less frequent vaccinations are the way to go. Most animals need only what are known as core vaccines: those that protect against the most common and most serious diseases. In dogs, the core vaccines are distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies. In cats, they are panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), and rabies as required by law.

Three-year interval recommended

“Current vaccine protocol is to properly immunize puppies and kittens with two or three doses, starting later than we used to, maybe at eight weeks and not earlier than six weeks,” Dodds says. “Then you can give a booster at one year and either repeat it every three years, stagger it by giving one vaccine per year instead of combination vaccines, or do titers instead.” Titers are tests that measure the level of antibodies in the blood, which would indicate that immunity still exists.

That recommended three-year interval was a compromise decision. “Annual boosters for the core vaccinations are excessive for most dogs and cats,” says veterinarian Link Welborn of North Bay Animal and Bird Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and a member of the most recent panel of veterinarians that revised vaccination guidelines for dogs and cats. “Limited studies suggest that booster vaccinations for many of the core vaccinations last for at least seven years. However, given the limited number of animals involved in these studies, three years seemed like a reasonable compromise.”