AKC Maltese puppies for sale AKC Champion Maltese

Storybook Maltese

The Maltese breed is relatively free of many of the serious genetic diseases that can cause premature death if good breed practices are followed and inbreeding or line breeding is kept to a minimum. With loving care many Maltese will live well into their middle teenage years and we have know several to live into their 20’s.  

External Parasites

With so many options available for flea control, there is no excuse for a Maltese to be infested with fleas. Fleas are the intermediate hosts of the dog tapeworm larvae. The flea irritation causes the dog to bite the flea. Ingestion will cause the tapeworm larvae to migrate through the dogs blood system to the intestine where it will become a resident.

Pet bedding should be periodically checked for flea eggs and dried-blood feces (frass) of adult fleas. This has been described as "salt and pepper" because it looks like small flecks of black and white debris. This is also referred to as ‘flea dirt’.

My preferred method of flea control is Sentinel, which renders live fleas sterile and unable to reproduce, quickly eliminating the problem.


Ticks can cause a variety of problems. For instance, depending on the number of ticks, the size and age of the animal as well as its overall health, ticks can drink enough blood to seriously deplete a pet. This blood loss may result in poor coat, weight loss, a general poor performance or even death. Even without causing anemia, the bites of ticks are irritating and animals can even develop allergic reactions to tick bites. Some of the medical conditions caused by ticks include tick paralysis, Lyme Disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and babesiosis.

Internal Parasites

Dogs are victims of several internal parasites frequently referred to as worms. The most common are the roundworms that infest most puppies at some time in their puppyhood. Evidence of roundworms can be seen without the aid of a microscope, but other worms are not so easily diagnosed. Occasionally adult whipworms can be seen in the stool when the infestation has already caused some debilitation or weight loss in the dog.

Early diagnosis of the presence and species of intestinal parasite is important. Stool samples should be taken to your vet for microscopic examination if worms are suspected. Many veterinarians include the stool check as part of the annual health examination.

Most worm infestations cause any or all of these symptoms: diarrhea, perhaps with blood in the stool; weight loss; dry hair; general poor appearance; and vomiting, perhaps with worms in the vomitus. However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms; in fact some worm eggs or larvae can be dormant in the dog's body and activated only in times of stress, or in the case of roundworms, until the latter stages of pregnancy, when they activate and infest the soon-to-be-born puppies.  

Maltese are a long lived breed but

all breeds have health concerns.

Maltese Health Concerns...

Luxated patellas or "slipped stifles" are a common orthopedic problem in small dogs.


Chocolate, anti-freeze, grapes, tomatoes, avocados and pesticides are some of the common household materials that can cause severe reactions and death in Maltese. House plants such as aloe vera, dieffenbachia, draecena, asparagus fern, rubber plant, schefflera, and poinsettia and outdoor favorites azalea, rhododendron, hibiscus, and lily of the valley are among dozens of plants that can cause a variety of symptoms for dogs. Apple seeds and cherry pits can also poison a Maltese. Some signs of plant poisoning are continual vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal of food, pale gums or tongue, swollen tongue, abdominal pain, convulsions.

Under normal circumstances, blood passes through the liver to be detoxified. When one eats, many by-products of digestion are formed in the blood -- some of these by-products are beneficial, but some are not. Amongst the liver's many functions is its role in detoxifying the blood of the bad by-products -- excess bile acids, ammonia, and other substances. In Portosystemic Shunt, the blood that would normally go to the liver to be detoxified bypasses the liver. Toxins build up in the blood and affect the brain, which leads to changes in behavior and severe lethargy, depression, and weakness. Seizures often occur as well.

Liver shunts are a congenital problem that can be seen in some Maltese. Many puppies can live with the small functioning portion of the liver for some time but eventually have problems and usually die if the situation is uncorrected.

Signs of Portosystemic Shunts include poor weight gain, depression, head pressing (pushing the head against a solid object), seizures, weakness, salivation, vomiting, poor appetite, increased drinking and urinating, balance problems and frequent urinary tract disease. If the signs of problems increase dramatically after eating this is a strong supportive sign of a Portosystemic Shunt.

Physical Defects...

Luxated Patellas
(slipping stiffles - knees)


Liver Shunt
(Portosystemic Shunt)

Maltese will typically loose their puppy teeth and cut adult teeth between 5 and 8 months of age. It is important to regularly check the mouth of your Maltese during this period of time. Many Maltese have puppy teeth with extremely long roots -- especially the canines -- causing these teeth to not fall out naturally. If this is the case it is important that your veterinarian pull these teeth to prevent a malocclusion. Many times pulling these retained puppy teeth can be combined with a spay and neutering procedure.

Retained Baby Teeth

Collapsing Trachea

The trachea  is composed of 35-45 C-shaped rings of cartilage  joined by muscle and ligaments. Certain conditions can result in the trachea's losing its tube-like shape so that it collapses. When this happens air can no longer move freely through it. Then the animal breathes with difficulty and exhibits a honking cough.  Causes include trauma to the windpipe, nerve damage, inherited tracheal weakness, degeneration of cartilage. Please use a harness to walk your Maltese and not a collar as collars are too dangerous for tiny necks.  Even though you don’t pull, the dog might and this can cause permanent damage.


Learn about hypoglycemia here.

The tapeworm is transmitted to dogs who ingest fleas or who hunt and eat wildlife infested with tapeworms or fleas. The dog sheds segments of the tapeworm containing the eggs in its feces. These segments are flat and move about shortly after excretion. They look like grains of rice when dried and can be found either in the dog's stool or stuck to the hair around his anus. The typical over-the-counter wormer cannot kill tapeworms; see the veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Roundworms are active in the intestines of puppies, often causing a pot-bellied appearance and poor growth. The worms may be seen in vomit or stool; a severe infestation can cause death by intestinal blockage. This worm can grow to seven inches in length. Females can produce 200 thousand eggs in a day, eggs that are protected by a hard shell and can exist in the soil for years. Dogs become infected by ingesting worm eggs from contaminated soil. The eggs hatch in the intestine and the resulting larva are carried to the lungs by the bloodstream. The larva then crawls up the windpipe and gets swallowed, often causing the pup to cough or gag. Once the larvae return to the intestine, they grow into adults. Roundworms do not typically infest adults. However, as mentioned above, the larvae can encyst in body tissue of adult bitches and activate during the last stages of pregnancy to infest puppies. Worming the bitch has no effect on the encysted larvae and cannot prevent the worms from infecting the puppies. Although roundworms can be treated with an over-the-counter wormer found in pet stores, a vet is the best source medication to deal with intestinal parasites. Dewormers are poisonous to the worms and can make the dog sick, especially if not used in proper dosage.

Hookworms are small, thin worms that fasten to the wall of the small intestine and suck blood. Dogs get hookworm if they come in contact with the larvae in contaminated soil. As with roundworms, the hookworm larvae become adults in the intestine. The pups can contract hookworms in the uterus and the dam can infest the pups through her milk. A severe hookworm infestation can kill puppies, but chronic hookworm infection is usually not a problem in the older dog. When it does occur, the signs include diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and progressive weakness. Examining the feces for eggs under a microscope makes diagnosis.

whipworms look like pieces of thread with one end enlarged. They live in the cecum, the first section of the dog's large intestine. Infestations are usually light, so an examination of feces may not reveal the presence of eggs. Several checks may be necessary before a definitive diagnosis can be made


Prevention is the key to
avoiding parasite issues.

Spaying and Neutering

Males are better pets if they are neutered. They have less desire to roam, to mark territory, or to exert dominance over family members. They are also healthier pets they will not get testicular cancer.  Ask your vet about laser neutering.  This method is less painful and offers faster recovery time.

Females are also better pets if they do not experience heat EVER as it causes permanent changes to their personality.  Contrary to popular belief, spaying your female will NOT cause her to get fat and lethargic.  Because small dogs can have dramatic reactions to anesthesia some vets prefer to wait until very small girls come in heat to spay.

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