Divine Pups are DNA tested through Embark for over 200 testable Genetic Health conditions.

Please read below to understand what available DNA tests we do on our parents, what conditions don’t currently have a DNA test to be done, and conditions that are common and non life threatening. We go through it all and make it easy to understand.


Breed Relevant Conditions we test our parents for 


Degenerative Myelopathy, DM (SOD1A) – Brain and Spinal Cord – Neurologic

The dog equivalent of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, DM is a progressive degenerative disorder of the spinal cord. Because the nerves that control the hind limbs are the first to degenerate, the most common clinical signs are back muscle wasting and gait abnormalities.

Chondrodystrophy and Intrevertebral Disc Disease, CDDY/IVDD, Type 1 IVDD (FGF4 retrogene – CFA12 – Skeletal

Type I Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a back/spine issue that refers to a health condition affecting the discs that act as cushions between vertebrae. With Type I IVDD, affected dogs can have a disc event where it ruptures or herniates towards the spinal cord. This pressure on the spinal cord causes neurologic signs which can range from a wobbly gait to impairment of movement. Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) refers to the relative proportion between a dog’s legs and body, wherein the legs are shorter and the body longer. There are multiple different variants that can cause a markedly chondrodystrophic appearance as observed in Dachshunds and Corgis. However, this particular variant is the only one known to also increase the risk for IVDD.

Congenital Dyshormonogenic Hypothyroidism with Goiter (SLC5A5, Shih Tzu Variant) – Hormones , Endocrine

Congenital primary hypothyroidism (CH) is attributed to abnormal development (dysgenesis) of the thyroid gland (e.g. agenesis, hypoplasia, and ectopia) or in rare cases by improper thyroid hormone synthesis, also called dyshormonogenesis (CDH). Inactivating mutations in the SLC5A5 gene produce an iodide transport defect which may be associated with goiters.

Prekallikrein Deficiency (KLKB1 Exon 8) – Blood Hematologic

Prekallikrein is an enzyme necessary for the activation of certain clotting proteins. Fortunately, this is a benign blood disorder and is not associated with increased bleeding tendencies.


Common Conditions that are not life threatening that we do not test for


Stenotic Nares

This condition is congenital or present at birth and inherited.  Stenotic nares are easily diagnosed because you can visually see that the openings of the nostrils are pinched shut, or side open allowing are to easily enter. Pinched nares that are stenotic and closed, will cause sniffling, sneezing, snoring, snorting, grunting, and clear nasal discharge.

Most cases of stenotic nares are just noisy breathing and snorting and do not require surgery.

If the opening is just slightly narrowed, other measures may be helpful.

  • Mild exercise with a proper diet to maintain optimal weight
  • Avoid high heat or humidity
  • Use a harness instead of a collar
  • Use a water bottle instead of a bowl

Signs of stenotic nares that are bad enough may require routine surgery to be permanently fixed

  • Unable to exercise for very long
  • Blue or Pale colored gums
  • Fainting
  • Lethargy

If the opening in the nostrils is tiny,  the vet may suggest surgery to improve the airflow through the nostrils.

The procedure involves removing a small wedge-shaped piece of the nose tissue.  Many vets will recommend that this surgery be postponed until the dog can be neutered or spayed and the nares are done at the same time at about the age of 6 months.

Umbilical Hernia

Hernias can occur in any breed. Hernia also occurs in people. Hernias are little bumps easily seen on the stomach of the puppy usually near the umbilical cord is attached to the puppy’s stomach.  It may be a large bulge or a small bulge. It is simply a tear in the stomach lining where the stomach contents bulge through the tear. These are very common in all breeds and are repaired by your veterinarian at the same time they are spayed or neutered. In rare cases, intestines can slip through the hole and the intestine can become twisted. Just making sure your little puppy is eating and drinking normally is a great way to keep an eye on it. Your veterinarian will be able to look at it at your first puppy check and make plans to stitch it shut while they perform a routine spay/neuter.

Luxating Patellas

Luxating Patellas are very commonly seen in small breed dogs. The Shih Tzu is no exception. Poor joint formation during the growing stages. The patella can actually move out of position to the side randomly. This is called Luxation of the Patella. The severity of the condition can be many varying degrees. Mild cases can cause some pain in the leg and difficulty walking, and in severe cases, the dog’s leg will be lame or experience episodes where the patella slides out, and will not back in. These cases do require surgery. We do highly recommend that you do not do any surgeries before the dog is 2 years old in regards to luxating Patellas. Many times, we have seen a mild and even severe case of luxating patella resolve itself when the joint finishes solidifying, and the ligament that also aids in holding the patella in place – tightens as the Shih Tzu grows which holds it in place better. Surgeries on the knee can have varying outcomes and sometimes the Shih Tzu ends up worse, surgery should only be considered as a last option.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is actually one of the most common ailments to dogs of every breed. It is slightly more common in larger dog breeds that grow quickly. It can occur in small breeds like the Shih Tzu. In the Shih Tzu, Hip Dysplasia can happen because of the bouncy and jump around nature, especially in their youth while still growing. Their confident nature can sometimes make them prone to overestimate their capabilities and land too hard, causing an injury that years later turns into Hip Dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia in Shih Tzu’s affects the hip joint. It is a displacement between the joint and thigh bone. Hip Dysplasia can vary in degree of severity and often will make the dog walk with a bit of an abnormal gait and some degree of joint pain. Mild cases may include this abnormal gait and some joint pain but not require your Shih Tzu to have surgery. In severe cases of Hip Dysplasia, your Shih Tzu may experience total lameness and need surgery to correct it. Most dogs have a very promissing outlook after surgery and it is not life-threatening.


Shih Tzu’s are prone to Keratitis. A condition in which the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed and eventually causes an ulcer. If it does caue an ulcer, the veterinarian will most likely reccomend surgery. Keratitis can cause blindness if the case of Keratitis is servere enough. Keratitis is basically a conditioln in which the eye fails.


Another eye disorder common to the Shih Tzu is Proptosis. This is a condition in which the eye becomes dislodged from the socket and the eyelid actually shuts. This can be very painful for the Shih Tzu and does require immediate veterinary attention. This condition unfortunately does cause blindness. The first stage of Proptosis is inflammation, and over time you will notice the eye begin to move forward. Gratefully, there are surgeries available for this condition.


Allergies affect many small breeds including the Shih Tzu. More often the allergy will be food-based. This is easily corrected by trying new foods and using the process of elimination. Other allergies could be to certain products like shampoos, pollen, dust, and even grass. For tougher cases, we recommend testing your dog for allergies. This can be done at your local veterinary office.

Ear Infections

We all love the look of those adorable Shih Tzu ears. Unfortunately, the shape of the Shih Tzu’s ear can make them prone to infection. Bacteria love to grow in dark damp places with little sunlight. Your Shih Tzu’s ear is the perfect environment, especially after a bath, when water gets trapped in the ear. Make sure your Shih Tzu’s ear is thoroughly dried inside after bathing. The biggest sign that your Shih Tzu has an ear infection is a foul smelly odor coming from the ear. Other signs may include excessive scratching at the ear, excessive jumping around, and shaking the head. If you experience any of these symptoms, please take your Shih Tzu to the vet and they will prescribe the appropriate course of treatment usually including a round of antibiotics.

Collapsing Trachea

Collapsing Trachea is another condition that we see happening across all small breeds. Their trachea is very sensitive because it is made up of mostly cartilage.  Anything that causes weakening of this cartilage can cause collapsing trachea in your Shih Tzu. The trachea flattens and it becomes harder to breathe. In severe cases, your Shih Tzu’s trachea can actually snap shut and back open as they breathe. In mild cases no treatment is necessary, intermediate cases steroids can be prescribed. Severe cases will need surgery where a shunt can be put in.


Coprophagia is the term used to describe recurring poop eating. It is common in the Shih Tzu breed and more common in females. This is something we want our clients to know about especially first-time Shih Tzu owners. The puppy will not become ill. Your Shih Tzu may vomit but that is normal. Even though it is a disgusting habit it is very unlikely to cause any health concerns in your Shih Tzu puppy.  Be sure to clean up after your Shih Tzu right away if they are indulging in this habit. There are many products on the market and supplements people recommend to stop your Shih Tzu Puppy from eating its own poop. We do not recommend any of these. There is a theory that the smarter puppies pick it up from seeing the mother clean up after her puppies. A mother Shih Tzu, and all mother dogs, actually clean up and eat the feces of their puppies until the puppies stop nursing mom and start eating regular dog food. So the puppy sees this, and they do it too. The only time to be concerned when your Shih Tzu puppy eats poop is if it’s the poop of another dog or a large quantity. Vomiting is likely to occur if it’s a large quantity, and if it’s another dog that has not been dewormed, parasites could become a concern and you would want to make sure you are regularly deworming your Shih Tzu according to the deworming schedule recommended by our veterinarian.


The EMBARK testing we run on all our breeding parents also tests for over 200 more genetic conditions


Condition directory

Ultimate peace of mind comes from testing for over 210+ known genetic health risks in 16 different areas, including:

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