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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


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.


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

chihuahua face under orange blanket


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.
Cathy signature Chi

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Twyla Dague

Monday 10th of August 2020

When I took my Chihuahua for her checkup they did blood work on her. We were going to get some dental work done. I was told her triglycercides were high. What causes that and how should it be treated. I had been feeding her Cesar and Blue dry food. I would like to know if the blood work should be redone before I start her on any special food from the vet.Any suggestions? Thank you Twyla


Monday 10th of August 2020

I'm not knowledgeable in this area but I found a great article that answers your questions here:

Charles Green

Saturday 8th of August 2020

Pennut she would not have it any other way but to be at the bottom of my bed next to my feet sleeping I have been with Dogs all my life and this give them joy to sleep with master to be cuddled up beside she knows when I get so she can take my warmest spot in bed. And she knows when I get out of bed if I don't come back to come looking for me. And the reason why my dog would shake is when she gets in trouble and she knows she's done something wrong.


Saturday 8th of August 2020

They definitely do like sleeping with us.

Debi Dee

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I rescued my little Ollie in October 2019 and they told me he was 10 yrs old. He plays like a puppy and loves to be chased by my larger wirehaired terrier. He never asks to come up on the furniture or tries himself which I thot was due to his being tiny. After one round of chasing, he started limping and then I noticed he was holding his back left leg up and had difficulty going up the one step to get outside. Sounds like patellar luxation according to the description given.

The rescue didn't observe this problem in the 2 wks they had him in foster care. But I don't want him to be in pain so guess a visit to the vet is required. The first time it happened about a month ago, he was lying down that evening but was fine without limping the next morning. Does it sometimes slip back and forth on it's own? Since it's the weekend, I'm just observing him for signs of pain and not letting him out the steps. Will call the vet's office Monday.


Saturday 16th of May 2020

Yeah it can slip back and forth and be fine one day and not so good the next. Let us know what the vet says.

Monday 16th of March 2020

This is a side view


Sunday 15th of March 2020

Hi. I was wondering if anyone knew about the problem I’m having with my teacup chi. Any help would be appreciated!!

Monday 16th of March 2020

She has trouble walking. Her toes don’t seem like they have any muscles in them. It looks like she is walking on her ankles so to speak.


Sunday 15th of March 2020

What's the problem?