Whether you own a Chihuahua or are considering adopting one, it is important to keep your dog healthy. Many common health problems in small breeds can be prevented or treated with early detection. Heart conditions can cause a wide range of symptoms and can be treated through lifestyle changes or medication.
One of the most common health issues of this small breed is tracheal collapse. The trachea is a flexible tube that allows air to enter and exit the lungs. If this trachea becomes collapsed, air cannot pass through it properly, leading to difficulty breathing and coughing. Although this condition is common among dogs, it should never be ignored. Treatment can include medication and weight management. If the problem becomes severe, surgery may be necessary.
Several heart diseases occur in this breed, making it crucial to monitor these conditions for your dog. Pulmonic stenosis is a serious condition in which the pulmonic valve of a Chihuahu dog is deformed and obstructs the blood flow to the lungs. An ultrasound of the heart can diagnose this condition.
In addition to common canine heart problems, Chihuahuas also tend to suffer from heart murmurs. While these are usually benign, they are warning signs of cardiovascular disease and should be checked by a veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can also recommend lifestyle changes and diet changes to help prevent or control cardiovascular disease.
The eyes can also give you a signal about your dog’s overall health. Bright, clear eyes are a sign of good health. Though a slight watery discharge is common in many Chihuahuas, excessive or thick discharge, discoloration of the sclera, or cloudiness are signs of a health issue. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough eye exam and take into account your dog’s medical history to diagnose any potential problems.
Another common health issue in Chihuahuas is patellar luxation, which is when the kneecap slips out of place. The luxation can cause pain and swelling and can lead to immobility. Physical therapy or corrective surgery may be required to correct this condition.
Hydrocephalus can cause problems with the nervous system, especially in younger Chihuahuas. It can result in lameness in the legs, painful gait, and even seizures. In severe cases, the condition can even be fatal. Most often, hydrocephalus is diagnosed early in life, but it can also develop at any age. If it does, your veterinarian will discuss possible treatment options and monitor your pet’s progress.
If your Chihuahua shows signs of respiratory problems, you should consider a medical exam. A collapsed trachea can cause coughing, shortness of breath, and lethargy. Luckily, there are several treatments available for this condition, including surgery and medication.
The trachea is a tube that extends from the dog’s nose to the air sacs in the lungs. Any part of this tube can become infected or damaged. In small breeds, this can lead to a characteristic honking cough.
Although not hereditary, some chihuahuas can develop heart disease. A vet can diagnose the condition by checking the dog’s heart with an ultrasound or electrocardiogram. Other tests may also be done, such as x-rays, to rule out underlying health conditions.
Another common problem in Chihuahuas is hip dysplasia. This condition can lead to painful limping and can lead to osteoarthritis. A veterinarian can diagnose your pet’s condition and determine the best course of treatment. In severe cases, surgery will be necessary to remove the damaged portion of the hip joint.
A dog with patellar luxation may need surgery. This occurs when the patella slips out of place. The patella will usually go back into place on its own, but if the luxation is too severe, a vet may recommend surgery to realign the kneecap.
Seizures are another common health issue in Chihuahu dogs. These seizures are often accompanied by uncontrollable shaking and may even be accompanied by unresponsiveness or unconsciousness. A veterinarian can prescribe medications to prevent seizures and teach you how to care for your pet.
Hypoglycemia is another common problem that requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can damage the nerve cells in the brain and can cause seizures and coma. A vet will be able to determine if your pet is suffering from hypoglycemia.
As a breed with narrow urethras, Chihuahuas are prone to developing bladder stones. These sharp crystals are painful and can cause urinary tract infections. A urine sample will confirm whether a stone is present, but ultrasound may be necessary to pinpoint the exact location of the stone.
While a Chihuahu’s heart murmurs are usually benign, they can be a red flag for cardiovascular disease. A veterinarian can perform an EKG or take X-rays to assess the condition. They can also recommend dietary changes to the amount of exercise the dog gets.
While most Chihuahu dogs do not have a specific health condition, many owners neglect to take their dogs to the veterinarian for regular checkups. Obesity is a leading cause of health issues in toy dogs. While the Chihuahuas’ fast metabolisms make them finicky about their diets, owners can help them maintain a healthy weight by keeping a health record.
Hip dysplasia, a condition in which the thighbone displaces and causes lameness, may need surgery or physical therapy. The pain may be debilitating or asymmetrical, and the dog may have a difficult time walking. Treatment varies depending on the degree of the condition, but it’s important to consult a veterinarian.
Another common health problem in the Chihuahua breed is hydrocephalus, a condition in which excessive amounts of spinal fluid accumulates in the skull. This fluid puts pressure on the brain, causing seizures, decreased mental function, and spastic gait. The condition is usually diagnosed in puppies and young dogs, but can also be diagnosed in older dogs. Early diagnosis and treatment options can help prevent severe health issues and preserve a dog’s life.
Another serious problem that can affect your Chihuahu dog is hypoglycemia. This condition is common in young small-breed dogs. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include lethargy, weakness, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, the dog may even collapse. Hypoglycemia can even cause a coma. If your Chihuahua has hypoglycemia, take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Some other common health problems in the Chihuahua breed include heart disease and ear infection. If your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, it could be indicative of a serious condition.
Keeping your Chihuahu on a regular schedule can help prevent health problems. Many Chihuahua health issues can be prevented or treated early. Eye problems are common in small dogs, and many of them are preventable, such as glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. Symptoms include squinting, watery eyes, and bluing or redness in the eye’s whites. The eye may also look bulging or enlarged. If you suspect glaucoma, seek medical attention immediately.
Several diseases affect Chihuahuas, including neurologic conditions. Neurological problems often cause seizures, imbalance, tremors, and excessive sleeping. The symptoms of these problems may differ depending on the specific condition. If you notice any of these symptoms in your Chihuahua, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
Similarly, Chihuahuas are prone to collapsed tracheas. If this condition is caught early, medications can relieve coughing and open the airway. Another health issue affecting these dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, which causes seizures for no apparent reason.
In addition to bad breath, Chihuahuas are prone to tooth decay, and need regular dental care. While dental care is often overlooked, routine dental visits will reveal tartar buildup, premature tooth loss, and cavities. Poor dental care is common in small dogs, but it’s essential for the overall health of your dog. You don’t need to make an elaborate schedule to exercise your Chihuahua, but 20 to 30 minutes brisk walking a few times a week will benefit any dog.
Hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition that affects many small dogs. It causes your pet to become lethargic, have seizures, or pass out. If your pet experiences hypoglycemia, it is important to monitor the blood sugar levels regularly. A low blood sugar level can result in seizures, weakness, and even death.
Another common health problem in Chihuahuas is hip dysplasia. This condition affects the bones in the hip joint, making your dog limp and cause pain. In severe cases, surgery is required to correct the condition.