Health Issues for the Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is a fairly healthy breed but, like other breeds, they are susceptible to some health problems, including:

Additional information about these and other health issues can be found in the Health and Nutrition section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website.

Patellar Luxation

Medial Patellar Luxation (also known as Kneecap Luxation and Slipped Stifles) may be congenital or acquired. The congenital form is most common in the toy and miniature breeds, and may occur simultaneously with other pelvic limb deformities. Most researchers believe luxated patellas to be heritable (inherited) as well, though the exact mode of inheritance is not known.

When patellar luxations are present early in life, the major muscle groups of the thigh pull toward the inside of the leg, putting abnormal pressure on the knee joint cartilage. The result is a bowlegged stance and an abnormal pull on the patella.

When the patella is in its normal position, its cartilage surface glides smoothly and painlessly along the cartilage surface of the trochlear groove with little or no discomfort. As the patella "pops out" of its groove these cartilage surfaces improperly rub each other. The dog may cry out and try to straighten the leg to "pop it back in" or may hold the limb up until muscle relaxation allows the kneecap to reposition itself. There is little or no discomfort until the cartilage is effectively "rubbed off" or eroded to a point where bone touches bone. From this point on, each time the patella "pops out" into its abnormal, luxated position it will cause pain.

Additional Information:

Legg-Calve Perthes (LCPD)

LCPD (also known as Avascular Necrosis) is a disorder of the hip joint occuring in both humans and dogs. It is most often seen in miniature and toy breed dogs between the ages of four months and one year. The Miniature Pinscher is one of the breeds at risk.

LCPD is a result of interrupted blood supply to the femoral head resulting in avascular necrosis. This is followed by revascularization whereby the femoral head is subject to collapse or remodel, creating an irregular fit in the hip socket and leading to stiffness and pain. The results are similar to those experienced by larger breeds with hip dysplasia.

The degree of severity varies. No specific causes are known although it is believed to have a genetic mode of inheritance.

Additional Information:


Canine Hypothyroidism is the most commonly diagnosed hormonal disease found in dogs. The term hypothyroidism simply means the underproduction of thyroxin, the hormone produced by the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland is located on the trachea (wind pipe) of the dog, just below the voice box. It exerts its influence on the dog's body by producing and releasing thyroxin into the blood stream. This hormone, and thus, the thyroid gland itself, is very important in controlling growth and development and maintaining normal protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism of the dog.

Hypothyroidism usually occurs between the ages of two to six years. The most common sign is an increase in body weight. Lethargy and some form of skin disease (i.e., thin coat, loss of hair, dandruff, oily skin, increased scratching) are also common signs of Hypothyroidism.

The treatment is through thyroid hormone supplementation given orally once or twice a day. Usually thyroid supplementation improves the clinical signs associated with the disease within four to six weeks. All the clinical signs of hypothyroidism are reversible, once treatment is started.


Canine Epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures are the result of muscle responses to an abnormal nerve-signal burst from the brain. The cause can be anything that disrupts normal brain circuitry:

Idiopathic Epilepsy, meaning "no known cause", also referred to as Primary Epilepsy, is possibly inherited.

Secondary Epilepsy can be caused by:

  • Low blood sugar,
  • low thyroid function,
  • infections causing brain damage,
  • ingestion of toxins,
  • brain tumors, and
  • vaccinations.

Most dogs with Idiopathic Epilepsy suffer their first seizure between the ages of one and five years. A genetic basis for Idiopathic Epilepsy is strongly suspected in several breeds.

For complete details on Canine Epilepsy, visit The Epi Guardian Angels — An extensive resource for information, support, treatments and solutions for veterinarians and owners of dogs with Canine Epilepsy.

Note: This is only a partial listing of some of the health concerns that can be seen in Miniature Pinschers and should not be considered as a complete listing. This section is provided as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.