Wheaten Terriers, while an adorable breed, are prone to certain health problems. Their life span is usually between 12 and 15 years. Some health problems they are prone to are allergies, cataracts, Addison's disease, kidney disease, sensitive to anesthetics and medications, suffer from hip dysplasia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Wheaten Terriers can suffer both food and environmental allergies. If the dog is itching and this results in hair loss and sores, see your vet as there are many medications and special foods available to reduce chances of an allergic reaction. Some of the more common allergies they suffer from are to trees and grass, foods that contain rice, soy and wheat and oddly enough other dogs and cats. There are many foods out there for dogs with allergies with ingredients like duck and venison with potatoes instead of the usual beef and wheat.
Cataracts are an inherited disease in Wheaten Terriers. The onset is usually noticed by 12 months and can progress to blindness by 3 years of age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. It can affect the whole lens or just a small piece of it. If the whole lens is not involved in both eyes, the dog retains some sight.
Addison's disease is and endocrine disorder that causes the adrenal glands to not produce enough of certain hormones. It affects young to middle age dogs and for some reason many more females than males. Symptoms of Addison's are low body temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst weight loss, poor appetite and depression. After diagnosis, treatment is medication daily and close monitoring by the owners.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are also very prone to kidney disorders. These disorders are genetic in origin - protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), protein-losing nephropathy (PLN). Both of these conditions cause the dog to lose protein either through its intestines or kidneys. Veterinarians recommend testing and monitoring for the disease at the dogs yearly check up.
Hip dysplasia is common in many breeds including the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. There are a few types of dysplasia, all of them with genetic components. It is treatable by surgery or if it is a mild case keeping the dog less active. When looking to buy your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier make sure to ask your breeder if the parents of the dog are OFA certified. This is proof that the parents do not have hip dysplasia so the chances the puppy will develop it are decreased greatly.
Veterinarians do not know the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome but believe it is caused when the dog's immune system mistakenly attacks the digestive tract. There is no cure but it is controllable with medication and diet changes.
They suffer from sensitivity to anesthetics and medications but a good vet knows this and will monitor the dog closely if it is having anesthetization for a procedure.
Now don't let all these possibilities scare you. Most Wheatens live a long and healthy life.