When it comes to Chihuahua health problems, there are a number of potential ailments that your dog is at risk from. The following page outlines the various health concerns & risks you should watch out for along with the information you need to care for your Chihuahua and help them get better.

The effects of any health issues can be both emotionally devastating and expensive if you don’t take the necessary steps to treatment them quickly and effectively.

Here are some of the more common Chihuahua health problems you’re dog may suffer from. To go to the specific problem click on the link:

SeizuresAllergiesCoughing
VomitingDiarrheaInfections
Reverse SneezingHeart DiseaseCancer
HydrocephalusDiabetesHypoglycemia
Patella LuxationCollapsing TracheaArthritis
Hip DysplasiaPancreatitisObesity

Reverse Sneezing

If your Chihuahua suffers from bouts of sneezing, wheezing, honking or snorting don’t be alarmed. This is common among small dog breeds and is generally referred to as a “reverse sneeze”. People often describe it as sounding like a goose honking since your dog if forced to snort and inhale through his nose. This is typically caused by an elongated soft palate that may have been temporarily misaligned. Reverse sneezing can also come about if your Chihuahua gets too excited or drink their water too quickly.

Treatment: An episode of reverse sneezing should only 0 – 30 seconds or so. If your Chihuahua experiences a longer bout than this, you should contact your vet. You can help your Chi to stop sneezing by massaging his throat and neck and by encouraging him to swallow and lick. You can also try clapping your hands suddenly to distract his attention.

Heart Disease

Out of all the health problems Chihuahuas may face, heart related issues generate the most fatalities. Chihuahuas are at risk from a variety of heart conditions but the most frequent problems which they are afflicted with are pulmonic stenosis and mitral valve disease.

Pulmonic Stenosis

This is when the blood flow to the heart is slightly blocked. How serious this condition is depends entirely on to what extent your Chihuahua’s blood flow is restricted. In the most serious cases, this can lead to heart failure although Chis who only have a small arterial blockage might not encounter any problems what so ever.

Symptoms: Lethargy, a lack of energy, breathing problems, abdominal swelling.

Treatment: In most cases, surgery is the only way to remove the blockage.

Mitral Valve Disease

This condition is a genetic condition which effects male Chihuahuas twice as much as females. Mitral valve disease makes the heart inflamed and impairs its normal functioning. The severity of the disease depends on the extent of the heart inflammation.

Symptoms: Weakness and a lack of stamina when playing or going for a walk, fainting and passing out, shortness of breath, a build up of fluid in the lungs.

Treatment: If diagnosed early enough, it can be treated by medication. Otherwise, surgery is the best course.

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Cancer

Just like other dogs, Chihuahuas are at risk from certain types of cancers and tumors. In general the older your dog is, the greater the risk but young Chis can also develop tumors and it is important to check your dog regularly for symptoms. If these are identified early enough, they are can removed without extensive treatment.

Symptoms: Lumps or swelling, weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy.

Treatment: If your Chihuahua is diagnosed with cancer, you should seek immediate treatment to have the tumor removed possibly followed by chemotherapy.

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is one of the more common health problems Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds have to face. It is better known as water on the brain and occurs when excessive fluid builds up in the brain cavity. It usually occurs when your Chihuahua is still a puppy and sadly, most dogs with a severe form of the condition don’t make it into adulthood. Those Chis with mild hydrocephalus can go onto lead normal lives providing they receive the correct treatment and medication.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this although some vets can perform a surgical procedure where a shunt is inserted into your Chihuahua’s brain to relieve the build up in pressure. This however, can be very expensive.

It is important to be able to tell the difference between hydrocephalus and a molera which is a soft spot on your Chi’s head and which all puppies have. This is not a health defect and all you need remember is that your Chihuahua has a weak spot on his head which can be injured easily. if your Chi has multiple moleras however, this could be a sign of hydrocephalus.

Symptoms: Large domed shaped head, multiple moleras, slow growth rate, both physically and mentally sluggish, seizures, cross eyed vision.

Treatment: The condition should first be diagnosed by a vet as people can mistake hydrocephalus for a large molera. If the condition is not severe, medication can be prescribed. Surgery is an option but is expensive.

Diabetes

Just like in humans, diabetes is the result of a deficiency in the insulin hormone which makes your Chihuahua unable to metabolize sugars. Diabetes mostly occurs in older dogs although some younger dogs can contract it as well. This is usually when the dog is obese or has a genetic predisposition.

Symptoms: Excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger combined with weight loss, lethargy.

Treatment: If your Chihuahua is diagnosed with diabetes, they will need an insulin injection twice a day. You also want to make sure your dog has a high fiber diet without the the fillers in most commercial dogs foods.

Hypoglycemia

Chihuahua Dog Breed

A common complaint among the Chihuahua breed is hypoglycemia. This is when your dog suffers from low blood sugar and often Chihuahua puppies are born with the condition but most grow out of it once they have finished weaning. However, in some cases your Chihuahua may continue to experience low blood sugar level into adulthood. This is generally caused by irregular feeding, a bad diet or obseity.If you want to know if your adult Chihuahua suffers from hypoglycemia, you should check whether your dog has glassy eyes, staggers when he walks or is often lethargic or lacks energy. If you don’t treat this condition it can lead to coma or even death so it is important to take the necessary steps straight away.

Symptoms: Glassy eyes, lethargic or lacks energy, staggering when walking, unability to stand for even short periods of time.

Treatment: A special diet plan and feeding regimen is required.

Patella Luxation

Chihuahua’s are often affected by “luxating patellas” where their kneecap on their hind legs slides out of place leading to stiffness, discomfort as well as trouble walking. This is a frequent issue for small breed dogs and some experts say that around 75% of Chihuahuas are genetically predisposed to patella luxation. If you think your Chi has slipped a kneecap, it is highly recommended you take him straight to the vet. In less extreme situations, your Chi should be able to cope quite well and continue to lead a regular life. However, when it comes to more serious conditions, your Chi might require surgical treatment to cure the problem.

Symptoms: Difficulties walking, stiffness in the back legs, limping.

Treatment: Varies according to how serious the condition is.

Collapsing Trachea

Some Chihuahuas also suffer from breathing difficulties caused by their trachea collapsing. Obesity is common reason for this but it mainly brought about by an injury to their neck which can occur when their collar is set too tightly or their receive a sharp yank from a leash. Older Chihuahuas are typically the ones afflicted with this condition although in some circumstances, a puppy can be born with a weakened trachea which makes them much more susceptible to collapse.

Symptoms: Dry cough, shortness of breath.

Treatment: Make sure your dog’s collar is not set too tight and that you don’t pull too strongly on their leash as Chihuahuas have small & fragile necks and injury can occur quite easily if you’re too rough. Your vet can also treat the condition with medication.

Arthritis

As dogs age they can develop arthritis and Chihuahuas are no different. Although old age is the common cause, obesity, a lack of exercise, or severe hip dysplasia can contribute to its early onset. A Chi’s knees and knee caps are the most at risk due to their predisposition towards luxating patellas. Arthritis can be avoided in your dog’s early years by regular exercise and a good diet.

Symptoms: Loss of full range of motion, limping, stiffness, difficulty performing certain actions such as climbing stairs or jumping into a car.

Treatment: Your vet can prescribe various medications to decrease pain and improve your Chi’s range of motion.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a disease which results in the abnormal formation of the hip which causes looseness in the joint and cartilage damage. It is less common in Chihuahuas than other dog breeds but nonetheless, some Chihuahuas are affected by it. Arthritis is the inevitable result which will make your dog’s movement much more difficult no matter how young they are.

Symptoms: Lameness in your Chi’s back legs, difficulty standing or moving, a reduction in energy level.

Treatment: If the disease is severe, then surgery is the only option. However in lesser cases, weight loss, pain medication, physical therapy are all possible treatment routes.

Chihuahua Toy Dog

Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis occurs when your dog’s pancreas becomes inflamed and releases various enzymes which start digesting themselves. This is usually related to a poor diet or obesity. Pancreatitis is potentially life threatening and should be treated immediately.

Symptoms: Loss of appetite, severe lethargy, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Treatment: You should immediately consult with your vet.

Obesity

Chihuahuas are so loving and adorable that we often over feed them. Unfortunately, this can lead to very serious health problems as obesity will shorten your Chihuahua’s life and makes them more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease or organ failure.

Almost all obesity is preventable with a healthy diet and proper exercise. If your Chihuahua is obese you need to reduce their caloric intake, stop feeding them table scraps or treats and instead follow a strict regime of small, healthy meals spread throughout the day. What most people don’t know is that commercial dog foods plays a large part in canine obesity.

Symptoms: Lethargy, breathing difficulties, excessive appetite, mood swings.

Treatment: Healthy meals and regular exercise are the best possible way of reducing your Chihuahua’s weight. If you are serious about your Chi living a longer, happier and healthier life then you should seriously consider home cooked meals as this way you’ll know exactly what ingredients you are using. Preparing your own food is quicker and simpler and most people think.