Maltese are small dogs, weighing anywhere from 2 to 8 pounds (1 to 4 kg), known for their long, fluffy coats and playful, cuddly temperament. Some accounts trace their origins all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Despite their impressive fur, these dogs shed very little, so people who are allergic to other dogs may be able to tolerate them. The outstanding physical characteristics of the Maltese are dropped ears and button eyes, which give them an expression of keen interest.
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These dogs are generally quite healthy, living on average 10 to 15 years. Among the health problems from which they are known to suffer, the most common are:
- Colitis: the large intestines of Maltese are prone to inflammation, which causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Analysis of a dog’s feces is required to confirm the diagnosis; treatment includes a special diet, often accompanied by drug therapy.
- Dysplasia of the elbow: these dogs may inherit a condition where the bones of the front legs fail to connect properly. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery.
- Patellar Luxation: the kneecap (patella) of some dogs may become dislodged, causing pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the affected bone and connective tissue.
- Portosystemic Shunt: this congenital condition, which afflicts smaller breeds, in particular, occurs when a blood vessel misdirects blood so that it bypasses flowing through the liver. Toxic compounds may, therefore, form accretions in the kidneys and/or circulatory system. Affected dogs may be lethargic and eat and drink abnormally. Treatment includes medication and special diets.
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Healthy Paws saved his parents
Samson tore his ACL in a lively game of fetch. After surgery and rehab, Samson is back to his playful self and never turns down a game of fetch!
These little dogs have a big price tag, well over $1000 in many cases. Many owners make the decision to protect their investment, and peace of mind, by purchasing health pet insurance, which can ensure that they will always be able to provide the best care available.
For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.
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How do you choose a dog breed? There are so many awesome options! We have compiled a complete database about all the dog breeds, their mannerisms, care, and who they do best with. Statistically, some purebreds experience more health issues than mixed breeds. There are many pet insurance companies out there and we have put together a great article about the best puppy and dog pet insurance companies in the US.
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