Pet Wellness Guides > Common Maltese Dog Health Issues - Pet Insurance Review

Common Maltese Dog Health Issues

Posted: 07/17/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

If you have a Maltese in your life, you know this breed is one part adorable and one part adorably manipulative. In essence, the Maltese knows how to get exactly what it wants. While generally healthy, the Maltese is prone to certain health conditions that pup parents should be aware of. With this in mind, this article will share some of the most common Maltese dog health issues.

Key Points

  • The Maltese can suffer with multiple skeletal issues, including hip dysplasia and a condition called Luxating Patella.
  • Small breeds like the Maltese are prone to developing bladder stones. If not caught in time, these can result in damaged kidneys.
  • Maltese dogs are known to have asthma. Luckily the condition can be managed through medications and lifestyle changes.
  • This breed is prone to a condition called Collapsed Trachea, which can cause major breathing problems. Mild cases may be managed through medications while more severe cases may require surgery.

Maltese dog health issues

Luxating Patella

Many small breeds of dog suffer from a condition known as Luxating Patella. This refers to problems with the knee joint being stable. Maltese and other dogs with this condition can suffer from their joints popping out of alignment. 

While it sounds incredibly painful, many dogs can live with this condition without suffering much, though they may shy away from being too active. Some pups do experience quite a bit of pain. In severe cases, vets typically recommend surgery to correct the condition.

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition in small breed dogs such as the Maltese. The condition refers to one or more hip joints malforming, allowing the dog’s ball and socket joint to slip out of place. This can cause pain and poor mobility.

Mild cases may be treated with anti-inflammatories and/or joint supplements, while more severe cases may require surgery.

Bladder Stones

Small breeds are also more prone to developing bladder stones. If not caught and treated in time, stones in the bladder can lead to significant and irreparable kidney damage that can be deadly. Symptoms of kidney stones include frequent urination, blood in the urine, straining to urinate, general weakness, depression and loss of appetite.

Treatments are based on severity of the condition. Mild cases may be resolved through a special diet, while more severe cases may require surgery.

Breathing Issues

Several issues can cause a Maltese to experience trouble breathing. Asthma is usually the top concern in this breed. Dogs diagnosed with asthma generally can live a good quality of life through the use of medications and lifestyle changes.

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Colitis is a condition whereby the dog’s colon becomes swollen and inflamed. It is unclear why some dogs are more prone to developing this condition, though common causes include stress, poor commercial foods and parasites.

Symptoms of colitis include diarrhea and blood in the feces. In Maltese dogs, colitis may be present only for a short amount of time, then clear on its own, or become a chronic and persistent condition. If you suspect your pup may be suffering from colitis, bring her in for a checkup and possible diagnosis.

Collapsed Trachea

A collapsed trachea is a common condition with small breed dogs, including the Maltese. A genetic weakness of the cartilage surrounding the windpipe is usually to blame for the collapse.

In addition to a genetic predisposition of the condition, small breeds can sometimes suffer from a sudden injury to the neck, usually caused by a jerking of the leash or collar.

Symptoms include coughing or wheezing and a decreased desire for play and exercise. This condition can be very painful and hard to treat. Less severe cases may be managed through medication and lifestyle adaptations while more severe cases may require surgery.

Heart Murmurs and Congestive Heart Failure

Heart issues are more common in senior Maltese dogs that reach the age of 10 or older. Murmurs don’t generally have any outward signs or symptoms, and are therefore usually detected during the pup’s wellness check. 

This condition can be a bit unpredictable. Some dogs live quite well with murmurs for years. Murmurs don’t necessarily lead to congestive heart failure, but they can.

When detected, heart murmurs are graded on a scale of 1 to 6. Grade 1 to 3 murmurs typically require no treatment; they must simply be monitored. However, as the murmur worsens and becomes a grade 4, 5 or 6, the pup can experience worsening symptoms such as troubled breathing, coughing, and exercise intolerance. 

Treatments can include medications and special low-sodium diets. This can sometimes be enough to manage the condition for years. Some dogs may develop heart failure.

Pet Insurance Can Help You Offset the Cost of Care

As you now see, there are quite a few Maltese dog health issues, some more severe and costly to treat than others. Should your fur baby be diagnosed with one of these, can you realistically afford to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for treatment?

A pet insurance plan can help you offset the cost of care, sometimes reimbursing you for up to 90% of the vet bills. That’s peace of mind.

If you’re thinking of enrolling your fur baby, here are the top providers based on reviews from pet parents just like you:

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12







The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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