Is my yorkie safe from genetic desease?
The yorkie is a healthy breed.  They are long-lived with a normal lifespan of 13 to 15 years.  
It is not unheard of for a yorkie to live to be 17 or 18.  Despite the yorkie’s great health,
they are at risk for certain genetic diseases.  For the yorkie these diseases include
portosystematic vascular abnormalities, tracheal collapse and patellar luxations.  Good
breeders are utilizing wise and conscientious decisions in their breeding programs to help
stamp out these problems as well as
contributing to research projects.  A breeder should never breed a dog with the above
problems and secondly should never breed any siblings of that dog.

Portosystemic Vascular Abnormalities.  Often referred to as "Liver Shunt".  This is by far the
most serious.  This is the condition present at birth where the normal blood supply to the liver
is diverted.
This results in an animal that may be stunted, thin, depressed, and especially after eating may
display bizarre behaviors such as staring into space, standing in a corner, head pressing,
pacing, staggering, blindness, tremors, deafness and seizures.  These clinical signs usually
show by age 1 year.  Left untreated this condition develops into severe liver damage, failure
and death.

Tracheal collapse:  A chronic, dry honking cough after excitement or  play and breathing
difficulties, fatigue, or fainting are all telltale  signs.  This is a malformation where the cartilage
rings of the trachea  are not stiff enough to hold the trachea open as the dog breathes.   
Treatment usually involves a combination of drug therapy and lifestyle  changes.  weigh seems
to play an important role and the dog should not  become obese.  tracheal surgery should only
be done as last resort, when  medications fail and only done by an expert.  There is a chance
that the  condition will worsen after surgery.

Patellar Luxations:  It starts with a little skip in the walk of the dog.  For some occasionally
and others more frequently.  In  small dogs the pantella usually moves to the inside of the rear
legs.  There are four grades of luxatting pantella.  Grade one, usually requires no intervention,
whereas grade four has a very poor prognosis.  It is recommended that surgical fixation occur
as soon as the deterioration moves to grade two for best long-term results.