Maltese Dog Breed Health Problems

The Maltese dog is a lovely puppy with a bold personality, which has become very popular. If you want a very small and intelligent dog to run your home, then this is the perfect breed for you.

Maltese puppies are designed to love and to be loved. In general, the Maltese dog is a healthy puppy, but he can develop certain Maltese dog breed health problems.

If you’re thinking about getting a Maltese puppy check out this new puppy checklist to find everything you’ll need before bringing home a puppy.

Maltese Dog Breed Health Problems

Maltese dog breed health problems and life expectancy

Maltese dogs are generally healthy and have a lifespan of 12 years or more. However, the breed can be susceptible to suffer from several health problems.

Maltese puppies, like any other dogs, have the potential to develop genetic health problems. But not all Maltese health issues are hereditary. If you buy a Maltese dog from a breeder, you should ask for a genetic history to avoid hereditary diseases.

Many Maltese illnesses are related to their size. Some are genetic, some acquired. Tiny puppies like Maltese are fragile and they can suffer from different diseases. If you are thinking of getting a Maltese, there are a few Maltese dog breed health problems that may affect this breed. Not all the Maltese will be affected by these common diseases, but you should know that they are more predisposed to these illnesses.

Maltese Dog Breed Health Problems

Eye Problems

Maltese are prone to retinal atrophy, a disease that affects vision in dim lighting. The symptoms are bumping into objects or becoming disoriented. Other Maltese puppies’ health issues related to eyes are conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers. Corneal abrasions and ulcers are caused by scratches.

Dental Problems

Many small breeds suffer from tooth and gum diseases caused by the overcrowding of teeth in their mouths. They can suffer from tartar and plaque buildup, which untreated, can cause periodontal disease. Regular dental care is essential for Maltese puppies.


Hypoglycemia is one of the most common health issues with Maltese dogs. A hypoglycemic dog has an abnormally low blood sugar. Signs of hypoglycemia are lethargy, weakness, restlessness, and tremors.

Best Dog Breeds for Families With Children

Liver Shunt

Liver shunt is one of the Maltese illnesses, meaning that the dog’s circulatory system doesn’t develop correctly, affecting the liver.  Symptoms include vomiting, seizures, disorientation, pacing, and general unthriftiness. Maltese puppies with this condition are usually weaker and smaller in size. This disease can be corrected by surgery.

Maltese Dog Breed Health Problems

Luxating Patella

Luxating patella is a congenital disease, with the main symptom being an intermittent hopping on the limb when the patella pops out of place. Sometimes this Maltese illness may need surgical correction.


Another health problem with teacup Maltese is colitis. Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine. Symptoms include diarrhea, painful elimination, constipation, vomiting, and mucus or blood in the feces.

Tracheal collapse

One of the Maltese dog breed health problems is 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. resulting 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.

You should also do a daily health check to be sure that your Maltese does not have any illnesses.  Does your dog look tired, has he any allergies, are there any changes in his appetite, is he losing weight? Any of these problems and many others should be a signal or a warning for Maltese dog breed health problems and should send you right to the vet.

Maltese dog breed health problems

Sources:  Featured Image: Snowdrop, Morag Bates, Flickr

Author Bio: This guest post is by Doug of Norcal Pup. Doug has been a pet owner for his entire life and has enjoyed every minute of it. Doug’s family and the animals they care for are his absolute passion in life. He truly enjoys caring for puppies and takes pride in doing so daily. He has made it his mission to provide care for the best puppies to the best customers. Doug enjoys sharing his pet knowledge and experiences in hopes that others will learn from them.

Animal Bliss is a really cool blog about animals, both domestic pets and wildlife too

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29 thoughts on “Maltese Dog Breed Health Problems”

  1. I have a three year old maltese , he is off balance in his back legs only and does not walk right the symptoms just started can u help? we are taking him too a vet tomorrow..

  2. My Maltese is 10yo, did anyone change their food over to a senior style once they turn 10+? Just wondering if I should change her food, she seems to be putting some weight on, wondering if it is just the winter months or due to her age?

  3. I had been looking for a small, young, spade or neutered, healthy breed dog. On 2-9-18, I was given a supposedly, healthy 7yr. old adorable Maltese little girl. Even though she was older, I was assured she was healthy so, I took her. A week later, The previous owner called me to say that my new baby, “Tippy” had to have a $400.00 dental surgery. To make everything short, She had her surgery and did well, but now, I found out that she still has to have yet another surgery on her teeth & she doesn’t have that many left. I am angry with her previous owner for lying to me about my little Tippy because I don’t have the income to have her 2nd surgery done and her vet & I’ve not been able to find a vet that is willing to work out a payment plan with me. I’m in a small county in GA. and I’ve not been able to find an Organization close enough, that can help me either. Do you know of any? She is my heart and the air I breathe. She has been a blessing from God. ??

    • I wish I could help you out but I don’t know of any organizations that could help you. Doesn’t your vet have any suggestions? Are there any discounted spay or neuter places around? They might know of someone. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Thank you for adopting an older dog.

  4. We are the owners of a 14yr old Maltese male (Maxi) over the past few months he has developed sneezing, on & off over the day, not at night (as he sleeps on our bed) but on & off during the day. He does have (snot) come out of his nose with the sneezing, there is a profound smell with it. We did have him to the Vet prior, thinking he might have Pneumomia! they did an xray of this lungs, in fact they did say all was good , he was prescribed an antibiotic (taken for 7days), it has still persisted. He is a very fit & healthy dog, for his age, his 18mnth old Brother Baylee, keeps him young. He eats & drinks well. Would you have any other suggestions. We don’t want to have to take him back to the Vet & pay the fee again, & all to no avail.

    • My maltese got a piece of cedar in her nose if he starts sneezing violently he probably has something stick in his nose which theres no way to see. U would need vet with small camera to remove it . Tthe smell is probably from it getting infected ,also check to make sure its not tooth problem.

  5. Our little Maltese, Lucy is four years old very tiny and cute just 3.5kg
    has some ear problems, ears become quite smelly ,vets do not seem to be able to fix the problem, keep telling us it a yeast condition, try some more drops, she is always scratching and shaking her head, any ideas.
    Love our little girl she is pure breed,
    Regards Brian & Joy

    • We’ve successfully used these for our babies ears:
      1. Wet a cotton ball with white vinegar & rub it around inside the ear (do not drench the cotton ball). These can be repeated several times/day. This helps the itching & the smell
      2. Don’t laugh, this really works & our vet had no problems when I told her what I used. I was out of prescription meds & had the following on hand.
      Monistat — put some on cotton ball & rub it around inside the ear – again, do not use too much but rather repeat 1 or 2x/day

      Hope this helps & your baby feels better soon!

  6. My little Cha Cha age 10 Years 5 months has enlarged heart and sometimes coughs. Her liver panels are off. She is on a heart medicine an a liver support milk thistle compounded medication. The prognosis isn’t good yet I hope that she may have a couple more years to grace this world with her love and presence.

  7. My 10 year old Maltese had the honking cough for three days and I took her to the vet and she is in congestive heart failure. The x-ray showed and enlarged heart and some pulmonary edema in a small part of one lung. She now is on two meds for her heart and lasix to get rid of the fluid and an antibiotic. The vet said she has a grade 4 heart murmer which she said is not the worst and she is not having difficulty breathing. Her check up one year ago did not find a heart murmer. I am just devastated and have been crying for hours. I wonder how long has she got to live and will these heart meds reverse the congestive heart failure so she can live a productive life Needs some TLC.

    • Oh, Patricia, I am so sorry to hear about the health problems your little Maltese is having. I can imagine how devastated you are. It’s hard to see our furry friends suffering. It’s probably a good thing you went in when you did. Maybe you can slow it down a bit with the meds. I wish you and your pup lots of love.

  8. thank you I have a 8year 4month old Maltese, she suffers from liver problems, and eye problems, I have to medicate her eyes quite often, and she is now not eating or drinking water, and lays around quite a bit, I have to give her scrambled egg to take her meds. but I never give her table food,

  9. I have a ten year old Maltese. Just recently she started which sounds like a honking cough, then seem like she is trying to spit something up but nothing comes out. Then she will just lay flat on the floor and not move for quite sometime. Once I when to pick her up and she felt like she past out. I’m scared!

    • I’ve had dogs do that very same thing, LC; a honking cough and seeming to try to spit something out. I’m not an expert but I think you should take her to the vet soon. A cough can mean a variety of things — some of them serious. It may be nothing, but the sooner you know that, the better. Keep in touch!

  10. My Maltese is lethargic and has an overly amount of drool. And once in a while will have a cough that sounds like a goose honk. Any suggestions?

  11. Hello my name is Susana and I have a Maltese dog I have a problem ,I find today that she has a little ball under the ear,please I need to find out can I send you a picture of the little ball can you tell me what exactly is that plese.
    Thank you very much

  12. If problematic behaviors pop up, contact your local animal shelter or animal welfare
    organization for more pet care tips. I would also
    add one further healing process which some people feel the need to help them find closure.
    Obviously this is far from how you are feeling, so you will need to put on a
    brave show.

  13. Thanks for taking the time to read my Maltese post, Francene, even though you had no need for it. I love learning about different dog breeds. We’re all so different, aren’t we? Take care! 🙂


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