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Chihuahua Health Problems to Be Aware Of

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Overall the Chihuahua breed is relatively healthy. They live the longest of all the dog breeds and often make it into their twenties!

But like all dog breeds, there are some common genetic health issues in Chihuahuas that you need to be aware of.

This post will update you on all the chihuahua health problems you need to be aware of.

Eye Problems

It’s not hard to imagine why Chihuahuas may have eye problems with their large protruding eyes. Their eyes can easily get injured or get 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 is a sign of infection which needs to be treated by your veterinarian.

Click the link for more about eye problems.

GME ( Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis)

This condition affects mostly small dogs and can cause a multitude of neurological problems including death. It’s caused by over-vaccination.

You can read more about it here: Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis.

white chihuahua outside

Hydrocephalus

This is a condition some Chihuahuas are born with. It is often fatal but it it’s a mild case, the Chihuahua can live a somewhat normal life.

It is a fluid build up on the brain. Read it about it here:  Hydrocephalus.

Hypoglycemia

You have probably heard of this condition before since some people suffer from it. What it is, is low blood sugar.

It is most common 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. You can read more about it here: Hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas.

Kennel Cough

All dogs can get kennel cough but it’s more dangerous in small dogs like chihuahuas.

It’s highly contagious and is usually caused by the Bordetella bacteria but can also be caused by a virus too. To read more about this disease, click here: Kennel Cough.

fawn chihuahua on chair under blue blanket

Patella Luxation

Many dog breeds suffer from this. This condition in layman terms is simply loose knee caps. The cause of this can be genetic or can be caused by injury.

Be sure to keep you dog at a healthy weight as obesity can aggravate the condition.  To read more about this condition, click here: Patella Luxation.

Reverse Sneezing

This condition is very common among small breeds. Although it sounds scary, kind of like honking. It’s usually not serious. You can read more about it here: Reverse Sneezing In Chihuahuas.

Seizures

Seizures can be serious and frightening. I have an in-depth article on them here: Seizure Disorders

chihuahua face under orange blanket

Shivering

Chihuahuas tend to shiver a lot. It can be caused by several different things. The most common reason is because 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.

You can read more about shivering here: Chihuahua Shaking

Teeth Problems

Chihuahuas have very small mouths, which often causes dental problems with overcrowding with their teeth.

The overcrowding causes food build up in their teeth which causes decay and tooth loss.

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 the blood to become congested in the dog’s lungs, abdomen, or limbs.

There are different conditions that can cause CHF . It’s not curable and eventually it leads to death. 

With proper treatment though, a dog with CHF can live for years and have a relatively normal life.

Find out more about it here: Congestive Heart Failure

Tracheal Collapse

In this condition, the dog’s windpipe weakens and collapses, causing the dog to chronically cough and wheeze. It can be quite serious. You can read more about it here Tracheal Collapse

Hopefully, your Chihuahua will stay healthy through out his or her life and never have any of these problems. Veterinary care is vital in keeping your fur baby healthy and happy.
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Kay Mitchell

Friday 5th of February 2021

Mine is having essential tremors and vet keeps claiming they will lead to sezures and I can find no research that says so. I like him but disagree with him on that and have stopped the meds because they don't help. Any advice is welcomed.

Cathy

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

I don't know about that but if you check the comments people have left on our seizure post, you may find an idea there that might stop the tremors. https://ilovemychi.com/a-chihuahua-owners-guide-to-seizure-disorders/

Marsha

Friday 5th of February 2021

My baby wasn't even 4 years old and she died of sweet syndrome.went from healthy chi to had to be put down in a week.

Cathy

Friday 5th of February 2021

I'm so sorry Marsha. 4 is way too young to lose a fur baby. I haven't heard of sweet syndrome before What is it?

Gen Toscano

Sunday 17th of January 2021

My 6 lb chi seems to be scared or something she trembled I figured she cold but she will not let me sleep, she just wants to be carried, vet took tests organs all healthy just had a little fever and was given some gastrointestinal food. But she stills acts weird especially at nite I can’t take it anymore, I’m so worried and can’t afford more tests

Cathy

Sunday 17th of January 2021

Where does she sleep Gen?

Rose

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

My chihuahua is a puppy and his chest cavity is sticking more out than usual. Is this something I should be worried about. He is very active and happy and does not show any sign of pain or discomfort.

Cathy

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Probably nothing to be worried about. Puppies are growing and things can look odd at times during their growth spurts. Just mention it to your vet the next time you take him.

Michele Bryan

Friday 1st of January 2021

My 6 year old female long hair Chihuahua is very social she loves having a house full of people. When her and I are alone she just seems to mope around and she has no interest in playing with toys. I worried should I be?

Cathy

Friday 1st of January 2021

No I wouldn't be worried. It sounds like your chi is an extravert and a little social butterfly. Just like an extraverted person, they are happiest with lots of people around