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Chihuahuas have become popular for a reason. Their small bodies make them adorable, but it’s their big personalities that fill our homes with absolute joy. However, these dogs also deal with the most common Chihuahua health issues.
Knowing the potential and most common health issues your Chihuahua may get will let you know how to deal with these problems.
Despite their size, Chihuahuas can actually live up to 16 years. They can even survive beyond their average lifespan when owners take good care of them.
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That said, here are the most common Chihuahua health issues you should know:
Injuries may not be specific, but these are one of the leading health issues any toy dog suffers from, especially Chihuahuas.
Due to their small bodies and never-ending energy, Chihuahuas are prone to various injuries. They’d follow their owners wherever they go. They can fall down the stairs or couches, and the impact can easily cause injuries such as broken bones.
Chihuahuas can also get injuries when they are playing with small children. Children often have no idea they’re already “rough playing” with their dogs. Rough playing could include squeezing your dogs too much or throwing them around.
With their thin and fragile bone system, they can sustain serious injuries.
Depending on the severity of their injury, they may require rest or even an operation.
Patellar luxation happens when the kneecaps (hind legs) often shift out of its location. This issue is often hereditary, and the severity can differ from dog to dog. Luxating patella could happen in one or both legs.
There are various ways your vet can diagnose this health problem. However, one of the most common is the lameness of the leg, immobility, and an abnormal gait.
Treatment of this issue can also differ since severity is different from one to another. Treatments available range from physical therapy to corrective surgery.
Hypoglycemia happens when you have low blood sugar. While it is common for humans, it seems like Chihuahuas and other toy dogs get this frequently as well. This is because their small bodies can’t regulate their blood sugar well.
Some of the symptoms associated with hypoglycemia are the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme fatigue
- Hair loss
- Shivering despite the temperature
Bring your Chihuahua to the nearest vet for regular checkups. If they are diagnosed earlier, the easier they will be treated. However, misdiagnosis or lack of proper treatment can prove to be fatal.
Your dog could fall into a coma due to organ failure caused by hypoglycemia.
When your dog next shows symptoms of low blood sugar, feed them sugar first (honey or jam) and rush them to your vet.
Another common hereditary health problem your Chihuahua may acquire is the tracheal collapse.
The trachea (windpipe) is made up of several rings of cartilage. Tracheal collapse happens when these rings flatten due to lack of rigidity. Their windpipe will narrow down, making it hard for them to breathe.
This normally happens to older and obese toy dogs.
Symptoms of a collapsed trachea include:
- Shortness of breath
- Harsh breathing
- Goose-honk breathing
- Coughing (when your dog eats or drinks)
To avoid the weakening of your dog’s tracheal cartilage, avoid using collars on them. You can use a harness as an alternative.
Drugs like bronchodilator drugs could help when the situation is mild or moderate. Severe collapse, on the other hand, may need surgery.
Chihuahuas have a very small mouth and even smaller teeth. They can be born with little enamel which can cause dental issues. Their teeth can rot, and they can even get gum problems.
The buildup of tartar and plaque can cause tooth decay and even tooth loss. Teeth overcrowding may also happen.
Brush your Chihuahua’s teeth daily to avoid plaque and tartar. You can also get dental chew toys that your vet recommends.
Small dog breeds are predisposed to different heart diseases. Chihuahuas are no exception.
Among the most common are heart murmurs. This may come as a surprise since heart murmurs are more common on big dog breeds. However, your Chihuahua may have a loud heart murmur when they have a chronic valvular disease.
In addition, your dog can also acquire pulmonic stenosis. This is a chronic heart disease wherein the blood does not flow properly through your dog’s heart. The heart then works twice as hard in order to pump blood throughout your pet’s body.
The severity of these heart diseases could also differ. Treatments can range from simple changes in habits. Others may need heart surgery.
If left undiagnosed, heart diseases can be fatal.
A trusted vet can detect your Chihuahua’s health issues early ont. That’s why we recommend that you bring your pet to one for a regular checkup. Additionally, breed your Chihuahuas from healthy parents to avoid hereditary health problems.