Health Issues


If you are already a Pug parent or are thinking of becoming one there are some important known health issues you should know about .

This topic is not exhaustive and there will be more added in time, if you know of any issues we have not mentioned here please email us or post on the forum so we can post the item and let other Parents or future Parents know. This section does not replace the veterinary care and you should always seek the advice of a qualified professional.

Please do not let the topics discused here put you of becoming a parent, all breeds have known health issues. Owning a Pug can be one of the most rewarding experiences there can be.



The adorable big eyes of the Pug can also be a curse, Pugs are prone to so many eye problems it is almost worthy of a section all by itself! Any Pug worth his salt will stick his face into anything that interest them, unfortunately this means putting there vulnerable eyes in harms way. Running into obstacles as a puppy can be a problem but even in adult hood Pugs need to be careful of thorns, claws and many other objects
Cataracts are Chracterised by Opacities in the lens of the eye. Main causes are include: diabetes, trauma, inflammation, inherrited and puppy milk supplementation. They can be treated by surgery, left untreated they can lead to glaucoma, retinal degeneration or detachment.
Distichiasis , This is a where eyelashes grow from a part of the eyelid which would normally not produce hairs. The extra lashes can rub on the surface of the eye and cause irritation. This condition can cause corneal ulcers or erosions where the hairs touch the surface of the eye and Pigmentary keratitis. Surgical removal of the lashes (applying heat to the eyelid or cryosurgery (freezing the lid) will prevent regrowth) will remove the problem. Ointments to lubricate the eye can can help . Surgical procedures used include cauterization (applying heat to the eyelid) or cryosurgery (freezing the lid). Both procedures kill the roots of the lashes and prevent the distichia from growing back.
Entropion, An abnormal inward rolling of the eyelid, commonly location in the lower corner of the bottom lid closest to the nose (George has this condition wich has caused the onset of Pigmentary keratitis). This condition is thought to be genetic or because of a large heavy overnose wrinkle pushing on the eye lid. The only treatment is surgery, after surgery the lids should look normal. The Pug should not be bred since the condition is could be inherited.
Exposure keratopathy syndrome is the inability to close the eyelids when puggy sleeps.This causes a stripe of pigmentation across the centre of the eye. This condition is also thought to be hereditory or just a breed problem caused by the anatomy of the Pug eye. lubricant applied to the eyes at bedtime to prevent the cornea drying is the most common treatment, if Left untreated the exposed part of the cornea will eventually dry and pigmentation forms causing loss of sight.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye), This is caused by insufficient tear production and is characterised by red and painful eye with some discharge.A vet can measure the tear production to accurately diagnose this condition and can prescribe topical tear substitutes.
PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is the degeneration of the vessels around the retina. It usually begins with night blindness in younger dogs, their vision progressively deteriorates eventually leading to blindness.
Pannus, is an immunologic eye disease, signs are bood vessels and scar tissue invading the cornea giving the effect of fleshy growth on cornea. Causes are thought to be ultraviolet light an altitude. This condition can be successfully treated with Steroids but can suppress puggies imune response! Cyclosporine (Optimmune), is an immunosuppressant and applied topically alone, or in combination with steroids often results in better control of pannus than the use of steroids alone.
Pigmentary Keratitis affects the white surface area of the eyes, it is the result of many factors that irritate or inflame the cornea. Characterised by brown pigmentation spots on the surface of the eye.This is normally caused by trauma (George has this condition and it was caused by Entropion of the botton eye lids). If the factor causing the inflammation or irritation can be identified it can be corrected with surgery.

Corneal Ulcer is basically a wound on the surface of the eye. Things to watch for is squinting or a bluish cloud on eye. Main causes are injuries, infections, low or no tear production, eyelashes that grow back on them self's to irritate the surface of the eye and i am sure many others but these are the main causes.

Treatment depends on the cause and seriousness of the ulcer. Minor ones heal with just a antibiotic cream. Ulcers generally heal well but may in some cases leave a slight scar on the eye. Treatment should always be started right away. Left untreated the cornea can perforate and in the worst case if left unattended the eye can be lost.



ESP (Elongated Soft Palate) This is Common in Brachycephalic: pron, bra-key-se--phalic; (short muzzled breeds), The cause is the obstruction of the dogs’ airways. The standard snoring of a Pug is a mild form of this condition,more severe cases can be heard through sounds such as honking, gasping for air and the blocking of the dogs’ vocal box. This condition can be corrected through surgery.

Stenotic Nares Is a birth defect found again in Brachycephalic breeds, it is essentially overly soft nasal tissue. When puggy breathes, their nostrils collapse, leaving them to breathe through their mouths to get the necessary air and oxygen. You can identify a dog with this condition by a foamy discharge when they breathe or excessive breathing through their mouths when they get excited. This also can be corrected through surgery.


Intussusception is a potentially life-threatening condition that is common in male Brachycephalic dogs at a young age (usually under 18 months). The condition is the telescoping of the intestines into itself.

Symptoms include vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Bright red blood present in stool.

There are many different causes of this condition. bacterial gastroenteritis is common cause. Pieces of plastic, bone or wood in the intestine of a dog can lead to the development of intussusception. Tumors or recent abdominal surgery may also contribute to the development of this condition.

Treatment options are almost exclusively surgical. Surgery is often successful if the condition is caught early.



Luxating Patella This is common in Pugs, and other breeds of small dogs. it is the dislocation of the small movable bone in the knee called the Patella from the femur. The Patella is normally held in place by ligaments.
General symptoms of can be seen by favoring the affected leg when walking or running. Affected Pugs may also have difficulty sitting down and getting up, Some Pugs have also been seen to run in a rabbit or bunny hop manner (lifting both legs up at the same time and leaping).
There are Mild and severe cases and they are differentiated by the Patella moving back into place on it’s own (mild case). In severe cases the Patella will come out of place frequently, even after being popped back in by a vet. Severe cases require surgery. this not only corrects the problem and relieves the pain, but also prevents the onset of arthritis. Surgery is delicate and expensive but is normally found to be successful.
This condition can be brought on by excess weight. Pugs will often eat excessively if allowed and therefore have weight problems. Please refere to are Care guide for further information.


PDE (Pug Dog Encephalitis) Little, if anything is known of the causes of this disease, which is best described as inflammation of the brain. This disease tends to affect young to middle aged Pugs. It’s main symptom are seizures other symptoms associated with this condition are lethargy or listlessness and loss of muscle coordination. Along with seizures there are several symptoms ranging from aggression to pacing in circles to pressing their heads against objects or people.
This condition can be slowly or rapidly progressing. Slowly Progressive involves seizures that recur in a matter of days, or weeks, where the Pug will, after the seizures, return to normal. Rapidly Progressing involves seizures, often more frequently, and disorientation in between seizures. Medication can be used to control the seizures, and Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation, but sadly there is no cure.
NOTE: It is important to note that seizures are not necessarily a sign that your Pug has PDE. Pugs can, like many dogs, have epileptic seizures that can be treated with medication and have absolutely nothing to do with PDE.

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