Miniture Schnauzer Health

In this section, I’ve provided simple advice and links to the various most commonly found health problems. Hopefully, you won’t meet with too many of these throughout your dog’s lifetime, but sometimes despite best efforts by owner and breeder, they will crop up. Mother Nature can never be predicted or directed so our best defence is to be well educated in recognising and treating any problems quickly and effectively.

Sebaceous Cysts

These are painless and normally benign lumps under the skin. They can be identified by their contained feel and moveability – you should be able to get your fingers around them. Worth having checked by a vet who will most probably advise they are left well alone and simply monitored, providing they are not interfering with the dogs comfortable movement or area where a collar may sit. Very occasionally they burst, when good hygiene and a check up at the vets is advisable to ensure the cyst has fully drained and doesn’t become infected.

Dental Disease

This is a VERY common problem for Schnauzers. They are susceptible to a rapid build up of plaque which will quickly lead to tooth loss. Regular brushing of Teeth and provision of hard chews such as Nylabones  (  and raw beef ribs will help a lot.


Very similar to type 2 diabetes in humans, this can be brought about by obesity and a high sugar diet.

Once diagnosed with diabetes, a dog will require daily insulin injections, regular blood work and vet checks to successfully manage the condition for its lifetime. If not well managed it can lead to the development of Cataracts.

A very good reason to control a Schnauzers insatiable appetite carefully !


A very unpleasant and painful condition that can occur spontaneously. Easily identified by a dogs very obvious discomfort, vomiting / diarrhoea and lying in a typical “praying position” in an attempt to relieve the stomach pain. An emergency Vet appointment is a must and the faster this condition receives treatment, the quicker and more successful the outcome. If left untreated it can cause irreparable damage to other organs.

A very low fat diet ( under 5% fat) is recommended for dogs prone to this condition.

Hormone Related Incontinence

This problem is almost always due to bitches being spayed / neutered at a very young age. A previously housetrained bitch begins to have inexplicable “accidents” and dribbles urine in her sleep. Although manageable with daily meds, it is a very good example of why waiting until any dog reaches full maturity before neutering, is ALWAYS the best choice.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is a recognised condition in Schnauzers which the various breed clubs worldwide have worked hard to identify and eradicate. Unfortunately no DNA test has yet been developed for the condition, so adult Schnauzers are screened annually under the BVA Eye Screening Scheme.

PRA is an incurable progressive disease which can lead to total blindness.


There are 3 types of cataracts –

  • Congenital
  • Hereditary
  • Age-related

The first 2 are those which dogs are either born with or develop in the first few years of life. They are both considered to be hereditary, most particularly in Schnauzers. All Schnauzers litters should be screened by an Ophthalmic Specialist between 6 and 8 weeks of age under the BVA Eye Scheme

Adult Schnauzers are screened annually under the same scheme.

Bouviers have no formal requirement for eye screening but some breeders chose to do this voluntarily with their adults prior to breeding.