Chihuahuas are generally a very healthy breed of dog. They live the longest of all the dog breeds and sometimes even make it into their twenties! But there are some common Chihuahua health issues that you may encounter.
It’s important to be aware of problems so you can keep an eye out for any illness in your furry friend. Here are 12 of the most common Chihuahua health issues.
It’s not hard to imagine why Chihuahuas may have eye problems with their large protruding eyes. Their eyes can easily get injured or infected.
Dry eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca is another eye issue.
You may also notice tear staining under your dog’s eyes. This is normal unless you notice an odor. An odor or tan/green discharge is a sign of infection that needs to be treated by your veterinarian.
Read more about Chihuahua eye problems.
GME (Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis)
This condition affects mostly small dogs and can cause a multitude of neurological problems including death. Though it hasn’t been proven, some vets believe it can be caused by over-vaccination.
Read more about Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis.
This condition is a fluid build-up on the brain that some Chihuahuas are born with. It is often fatal, but if it’s a mild case, the Chihuahua can live a somewhat normal life.
Read more about Hydrocephalus.
You have probably heard of this condition before since some people suffer from it. This is the scientific term for low blood sugar.
This is one of the more common chihuahua illnesses in younger Chihuahuas and Chihuahua puppies. Basically, it’s caused by the high metabolism of the young dog. It’s important to make sure your Chi eats at regular intervals.
Symptoms include muscle weakness, staggering, listlessness, and in extreme cases, seizures, coma, and death.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from this, rub a little honey or jelly on his gums and see if that helps.
Read more about Hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas.
Kennel cough is highly contagious and is usually caused by the Bordetella bacteria but can also be caused by a virus too.
Read more about Kennel Cough.
Many dog breeds suffer from this health problem. In layman’s terms, this condition is simply loose kneecaps. It can be caused by genetics or injury.
Be sure to keep your dog at a healthy weight as obesity can aggravate the condition.
Read more about Patella Luxation.
This condition is very common among small breeds. Although it sounds scary – like honking – this Chihuahua breathing problem is not usually serious.
Read more about Reverse Sneezing In Chihuahuas.
Seizures can be serious and frightening. When this happens, it produces a pattern of involuntary movements (contractions) of some muscle groups, and it can show up as odd sensations, abnormal behaviors (like staring into the distance, blinking, or repetitive movements), and a full-body convulsion, or any combination of the above.
Recurrent seizures are one of the most concerning Chihuahua health problems.
Read more about Seizure Disorders.
Chihuahuas tend to shiver a lot. Shaking can be caused by several different things. The most common reason is that they are cold. Being that their breed comes from a hot climate, they have trouble dealing with chilly temperatures.
Chihuahuas also shiver when they are stressed, excited or frightened. Hypoglycemia can cause shivering too.
Read more about Chihuahua Shaking.
Chihuahuas have very small mouths, which often causes dental problems with overcrowded teeth. The overcrowding causes food build-up, which causes decay and tooth loss.
Read more about Chihuahua Dental Care.
Congestive Heart Failure
CHF isn’t known to be a hereditary disease in chihuahuas like it is in other breeds BUT I hear of more and more cases of it from chihuahua owners.
Congestive Heart Failure is when the heart can’t pump the blood needed to the rest of the body.
This causes fluid to become congested in the dog’s lungs, thoracic cavity, or abdomen.
There are different conditions that can cause CHF . Most common in small breeds is mitral valve disease. It’s not curable and can eventually lead to death.
With proper treatment though, a dog with CHF can live for years and have a relatively normal life.
Read more about Congestive Heart Failure.
In this condition, the dog’s windpipe weakens and collapses, causing the dog to chronically cough and wheeze. It can be quite serious.
It’s important to carefully choose the right leash, collar and harness for your dog to protect against tracheal collapse.
Read more about Tracheal Collapse.
Hopefully, your pet will stay healthy throughout his or her life and never encounter any of these common chihuahua health problems. Veterinary care is vital in keeping your fur baby healthy and happy.
This article has been reviewed, fact-checked, and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. You can read more about her on our About page.