Current Pomsky Health Issues
There a not any known pomsky health issues to date. The reason there are no health issues is because the pomsky is a relatively new breed; in fact, we are still within the first generation of pomskies to ever live as the pomsky was first bred in the early 2010’s. This does NOT mean the pomsky is a perfectly healthy breed without potential health issues, this simply means it is too soon to know exactly which health issues exist.
So far the pomsky has been an extremely healthy breed, it is our job as the first generation of pomsky owners and breeders to identify and monitor the health of the pomsky breed. We must be wary of potential health issues and strive to remove any abnormalities from the pomsky bloodline.
According to Dr. Shaw, a veterinarian of West Side Pet Hospital in Bend, Oregon, monitoring the breed is of vital importance to the long term health of the pomsky as he stated “The best advice is for breeders to be vigilante in monitoring any genetic abnormalities that show up in the offspring and remove their parents from the bloodlines.” Dr. Shaw followed this up stating “If breeders truly want to promote their breed, they will only sell healthy pets. Good breeders who notice congenital problems in their pups will alter them.”
Although we have not identified any pomsky health issues, we do know that mixed breeds commonly inherit the hereditary health conditions of their parents. Because of this, we need to be wary that the hereditary health conditions of the Pomeranian and the Siberian husky may be present in the pomsky breed.
Potential Health Conditions of the Pomsky
According to the Siberian Husky Club of America, the two most common hereditary health concerns of the Siberian husky are:
- Canine Hip Dysplasia
- Eye defects
According to the American Pomeranian Club, some of the most common hereditary health concerns of the Pomeranian include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Eyes defects
- Luxating Patellas
- Severe Hair Loss Syndrome
- Collapsing Tracheas
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that causes painful arthritis of the joints. This condition develops during the first two years of the dog’s life and is progressive, becoming easily aggravated by strenuous exercise, sitting up, lying down and climbing stairs.
Canine hip dysplasia is a polygenic disease meaning the disease is inherited due to a combination of multiple genes in which case a physically normal husky or Pomeranian may transmit some dysplasia genes to their offspring which, if in combination with complementary genes from both parents, may cause hip dysplasia.
Although hip dysplasia is one of the most common diseases of the Siberian husky, the husky is actually one of the breeds least at risk for hip dysplasia. According to the Siberian Husky Club of America, the Siberian husky is ranked at 111th out of the possible 114 breeds at risk of hip dysplasia. In an evaluation in 1998, out of 12,087 evaluated Siberian Huskies only 2.2% were shown to be dysplastic.
There are three primary eye defects that commonly affect the Siberian husky:
- Juvenile cataracts
- Corneal dystrophy
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Juvenile cataract is a hereditary condition that causes opaqueness in the lens of young husky eyes, resulting in diminished sight. This can occur as early as 3 months of age and the severity ranges between mild decreases in eyesight to complete blindness.
Corneal dystrophy is a hereditary condition that affects the outer transparent portion of the eyeball, resulting in a hazy or crystalline opacity over the eye.
Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary condition that affects the light-sensitive inner lining of the eyeball causing loss of night vision, followed by loss of day vision and eventually blindness.
According to a report by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 1999; out of 1,345 Siberian Huskies tested 8% had cataracts, 3% had corneal dystrophy and less than 1% had progressive retinal atrophy.
Luxating patellas is the most common hereditary health condition of the Pomeranian. Luxating patellas is a disease that causes the Pomeranian’s knees to slip out of place.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone called thyroxine. This causes a wide variety of symptoms including trouble with weight gain, obesity, hair loss and skin problems. According to Kate Willis, who is a veterinarian and research writer in the field of zoology at a “write my essay” service Writemyessay.nyc this is very common in Pomeranians but luckily hypothyroidism is relatively easy to diagnose with a blood test to check the level of thyroid hormones.
Severe Hair Loss Syndrome
Severe Hair Loss Syndrome, also known as Black Skin Disease, mainly occurs in male Pomeranians. This disease can happen at two points in the Pomeranian’s life: as a puppy in which the Pomeranian sheds its puppy coat but the adult coat does not grow back or as an adult, in which the adult coat begins to slowly thin starting at the back of the thighs and moving up the back.
This can be identified by examining the parent Pomeranian of the Pomsky.
Collapsing trachea causes coughing and respiratory pain. This disease is commonly found in Pomeranians, the primary sign of collapsing trachea is a dry cough sometimes described as a “goose-honk”. Collapsing trachea can be a life-threatening disease; it is diagnosed with an x-ray and cured with medication to reduce coughing.
Pomsky Health Tests
If you’re concerned about your pomsky having any of these hereditary diseases, check with your breeder and ask if they perform any examinations on the Dam, Sire or puppies.
Two primary health tests should be performed:
OFA certification is a health test checking for hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. The veterinarian will perform a radiographic examination and mail the results to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for evaluation. The examination results are evaluated by three OFA certified veterinary radiologists whom provide a consensus grade and OFA registry number. Abnormalities are reported to the owner and the veterinarian. Hip dysplasia tests cannot be verified for dogs less than 24 months of age. Dogs less than 24 months of age can have a preliminary hip evaluations but a registry number is not assigned until an examination is performed at 24 months of age. For luxating patellas, the knees are graded according to the OFA, a higher grade may indicate that surgery is needed.
CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)
A CERF exam is a yearly evaluation of the eyes of breeding dogs. The goal of a CERF exam is to stop the breeding of any dogs that display potentially blinding diseases including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia.
Tips to Buying a Healthy Pomsky
1) Talk To Your Breeder
Before you purchase a pomsky, make sure to ask your breeder:
- What health tests are performed?
- What shots has the puppy received?
- Has the puppy been to the vet for regular vet checkups?
- Does the breeder offer a health guarantee?
- What breed club are they a member of?
Most breeders perform health tests and regular vet checkups of their dams, sires and puppies. When asked what questions a consumer should ask, Cheyenne of Lollipop Pomskies, a Pomsky Owners Association member, was adamant that “First and foremost [the consumer] should ask if [the breeder] health test and which health test they perform. If a breeder does not do health test such as OFA and CERF certified eyes, do NOT buy from them. They should ask to see the test or talk to their veterinarian.” Cheyenne followed this up saying “a reputable breeder health tests their breeding dogs. Health test include hips, elbows, patella, heart, and eyes. If a breeder only does bare minimum of vet checkups and shots they are not reputable.” In regards to the shots for each pomsky, Chree of Mountain Shadow Pomskies, a Pomsky Owners Association member, recommends each consumer ask “Do they give them their first set of shots? They should have DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza) by the time they reach 6 weeks.”
Lauren of Pristine Pomskies, a Pomsky Owners Association Member, reminds consumers to ask for documentation when you purchase your pomsky saying “The breeder will provide documentation when asked (AKC registration, vet certifications etc.) and will encourage the adopters to ask questions and stay in touch for the life of the pomsky.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Each and every breeder encourages the questions. As Sharlee of Chinook Pomskies says “I think the more questions buyers ask the better. Ask about the parents and where the puppy was born and raised. Ask about health testing, health checks, feeding, training and socialization. I get asked everything from basic puppy questions down to Pomsky genetics and I love answering questions!” Chassie of Once Upon A Pomsky, a Pomsky Owners Association Member, supported this notion saying “Customers should ask everything. Get to know the breeder and their dogs. Ask for pedigree information, health testing, pictures, what food the breeder uses, what the next steps are, ask about health contracts, if the puppies come de-wormed and with their first shots, ask what vet they use and ask about any health problems that puppies have had in the past.”
2) Ask For Vet References
In addition to asking the breeder these crucial questions, ask thy breeder for a vet reference. Give the breeder’s vet a call as the vet will be able to walk you through exactly what tests were performed, how to interpret the test results, what symptoms you should monitor and can further assist in providing medical related advice for your pomsky.
For example, a simple conversation with Dr. Shaw of West Side Pet Hospital and he was able to provide a link to this guide to congenital and heritable disorders in dogs prepared by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
Talking to the breeder’s vet not only provides valuable insight into the test and screening performed on each pomsky but it allows you to grasp a better understanding of the quality of the breeder you are working with.
3) Visit The Breeder And Talk To Previous Buyer
The last piece of advice is to visit your breeder in person if possible and ask the breeder if you can talk to previous customers. A great piece of advice from Brianna of Lakeshore Pomskies is to contact previous buyers. Brianna said “I think vet references and references from previous buyers are important along with being able to meet the breeders and the dogs in person. This lets the potential new owners see how we raise and treat our dogs.” Briana followed this up saying “some things I would look for when visiting a breeder is how clean the area is and how clean the dogs are. Also ask to meet the adult dogs to see what condition they are in, do they look healthy and treated well? I would not buy a puppy from someone that does not let you see the adult dogs.”
Kanzaidy of SZ Pomskies, a Pomsky Owners Association Member, supports this saying “Reputable breeders will have many past buyer references, past puppy photos, as well as vet references at hand to provide to every buyer.” She further clarified to ensure that breeders are members of a reputable breed club stating “A good breeder should also be a member of one of the Pomsky breed associations such as the IPA or the PCA.”
Visiting the breeder in person allows you to meet and examine the dam and sire of your pomsky. You can tell a lot about the likely health of your pomsky with an “eyeball test” to check the condition of the parent dogs. Use your eyes and intuition to inspect the condition of the parents and check for physical aptitude, healthy coat and clear eyes. If you notice deteriorating hips, a thinning coat or opaque eyes this is a clear red flag that the parent may be passing a hereditary disease to your pomsky.
Talking to previous buyers can give you additional insight into the health of the pomsky. Ask about the health of their pomsky, ask what health tests the breeder performed prior to buying their pomsky and lastly ask about any information the owner has gathered from bringing their pomsky to regular vet checkups. Talking to previous buyers will provide additional insight into the quality of your breeder and allow you to identify any health abnormalities that are revealed as the pomsky ages.
In summary, the pomsky is such a new breed that all we can do is speculate and monitor. Since we have yet to identify any health abnormalities in the pomsky breed, it is up to each pomsky owner and breeder to monitor the breed and report any abnormalities that are identified.
At this point in time we can only speculate that the pomsky is likely to have some combination of health conditions similar to the Siberian husky and Pomeranian, each of us should review the hereditary health conditions of the Siberian husky and Pomeranian and monitor the pomsky for any signs of these hereditary diseases.
For those looking to purchase a pomsky, remember these three tips:
- Talk to your pomsky breeder about the health of your pomsky
- Talk to your breeder’s vet for advice
- Visit the breeder and talk to previous buyers
Special thanks to all of the following that provided input and helped us create this guide to pomsky health concerns: