Miniature Schnauzer – Common Blood Problem

This beautiful puppy is a Miniature Schnauzer named Heidi.  Schnauzers are a popular companion dog because of their energetic and affectionate personalities.  It is very important to keep this breed of dog fit like her owner’s do with Heidi.  Obese Schnauzers are prone to developing a blood disorder that may lead to serious problems.  What is the name of this possibly inherited disease?  What are the clinical signs? 


Diagnosis:  Idiopathic Hyperlipidemia

Unfortunately, Miniature Schnauzers are prone to hyperlipidemia which basically means too much fat in their blood.  In severe cases, the blood is thick and reminds me of a strawberry milkshake.  After it is spun down to separate the cells from the serum, the fat accumulates in a white clump.  It is disgusting! 

Clinical signs of hyperlipidemia include anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic problems including seizures, cloudy eyes from fat accumulation and abdominal pain if pancreatitis is present. 

Because hyperlipidemia is so common in this breed, I recommend routine annual blood work.  I also encourage owners to avoid high fat foods or treats and provide plenty of exercise for their dogs.  With treatment, these dogs can avoid the health problems hyperlipidemia causes and live a long, healthy life.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.