Common health problems with Miniature Pinschers

28 June 2024 - 4 min read
Miniature Pinscher

Sleek, small and full of spirit, Minature Pinschers, or Min Pins, have fans across the world. They're known for having a confident, self-assured attitude, and it helps that they're just so cute.

But like any pedigree, they're prone to certain health issues. Below, we discuss the most common Miniature Pinscher health problems, how vets diagnose them and how to care for a Min Pin.

Most common Miniature Pinscher health conditions

Miniature Pinscher

Patella luxation

Miniature Pinschers are bow-legged, which means the groove that their kneecap (patella) sits in doesn't develop properly. Over time, this causes the kneecap to dislocate, preventing the knee from extending properly. You'll often see dogs with patella luxation skipping when they walk.

Vets grade the condition from one to four. A low grade means the dislocation is temporary and the patella is easily replaced. A high grade means the patella remains dislocated, causing pain and inflammation.

Vets often treat lower grades medically while higher grades require surgical correction. Patella luxation eventually leads to osteoarthritis in the knee and puts extra stress on the cruciate ligament.

Eye problems

Miniature Pinschers are prone to a few eye issues, like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Hereditary cataracts cause the eye to appear cloudy and are usually spotted in puppies. Cataracts prevent light from getting through the eye, leading to vision problems and blindness. Many dogs manage well with restricted vision, but cataracts can be surgically removed.

PRA is also common in Miniature Pinschers. It causes progressive blindness as the retina degenerates over time. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment for the condition.

Bladder stones

Bladder stones form when a dog has an imbalance of minerals in their urine. Bladder stones can be painful and make dogs feel unwell.

Signs include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Straining to urinate

  • Drinking more

  • Blood in the urine

There are different types of bladder stones, and the type determines treatment. Some bladder stones, such as struvite, can be dissolved with diet changes. Other stones need surgical removal.

It’s common for dogs with bladder stones to get urinary tract infections which need to be treated with antibiotics.

Legg-Perthes disease

Legg-Perthes disease is a very painful condition that affects the hip joint in some small breed dogs. A poor blood supply to the hip joint leads to the bone dying and crumbling away and the joint collapsing.

It usually starts at around five months and causes pain, progressive lameness and, eventually, arthritis. Usually, only one hip is affected; it’s rare for both to have issues.

Surgery to remove the affected bone and joint is required, and in its place, the muscle and soft tissues form a ‘false joint’. The prognosis with prompt treatment is good.

Mitral valve disease

It's one of the most common heart conditions in dogs. Some small breeds, like Miniature Pinschers, are genetically predisposed to it.

The mitral valve is one of several valves controlling blood flow through the heart. The condition happens when the valve is diseased; it thickens and can’t close properly, so blood leaks. The heart then works harder to pump blood around the body.

It can take time for symptoms to develop, but if untreated, it can lead to heart failure. The vet usually hears a heart murmur, and symptoms include:

  • Coughing

  • Breathing quicker

  • Exercise intolerance

The condition can be treated and managed well.

How to care for a Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

Maintaining a healthy weight

You can keep your dog’s joints healthy by maintaining a healthy weight, as obesity can worsen conditions like patella luxation.


Joint supplements might help prevent osteoarthritis.

Picking a responsible breeder

Look out for responsible registered breeders and always get puppies from those who have healthy dogs. It's an essential step in maintaining the breed's health.

For example, dogs with elbow dysplasia shouldn't be used for breeding. Similarly, the only way to prevent Legg-Perthes disease is to avoid breeding from affected dogs.

Genetic testing

There are genetic tests available for hereditary cataracts and PRA. You should check that breeders have complied with this testing.

Currently, there are no compulsory health tests or schemes for the Miniature Pinscher, but if a dog suffers from any inherited health conditions, they shouldn't be used for breeding.

Careful exercise

You should also be very careful when your puppy is growing.

For example, they shouldn't climb stairs or jump into the car when their bones are developing, and walks should be kept short.

You'll still need to exercise your dog regularly, but take some extra care.

Following vet advice

Trusting a vet and visiting them to detect issues early is key as a Min Pin owner.

It’s important to get any symptoms of lameness investigated quickly, as prompt treatment will save dogs a lot of pain and discomfort.

While there's no way to prevent heart disease, early identification and treatment can prevent the development of heart failure in the future. If left untreated, heart failure may develop at an earlier age point in time.

Bladder stones can be reduced or prevented using specially formulated diets, which your vet can advise you on. If you’re concerned about your dog having urinary symptoms, stones can usually be diagnosed with a urine sample and an ultrasound scan to look inside the bladder.

That's why we recommend preventative pet care to every owner.

How dog insurance helps

Miniature Pinscher insurance has all you need to stay prepared for the unexpected and protect your pet.

Dog insurance helps with up to £15,000 vet fee cover, unlimited 24/7 vet calls with FirstVet and a host of other perks.


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After graduating from the University of Nottingham, Holly spent two years as a farm animal vet. She then travelled and volunteered in India, working at neutering clinics and with injured street dogs. Holly now works in small animal practice, balancing this with writing and volunteering with the comms team at Vet Sustain. She's also a marine mammal medic!