Your Chihuahua is a tiny, lovable companion animal that loves to spend time with you and your family. Chihuahuas are an ancient breed that originated in Central America. Chihuahua remains have been found in Toltec tombs that are millennia old.
Like all breeds of dogs, Chihuahuas are predisposed to certain diseases due to their genetics. The following health conditions are more common in Chihuahuas than other dogs.
Luxating Patella in Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are particularly prone to knee problems. Their patella, or kneecap, can sometimes dislocate. This condition, known as a luxating patella, is most often congenital.
The condition will be present in an affected dog from birth, and should become apparent early on. However, some dogs do develop it as they age, especially if they exercise strenuously.
For most dogs, luxating patella will flare up only occasionally. When it does, your dog might limp, favor one leg over the other, or sit with the affected leg at an unusual angle.
Severe cases can require surgery or physical therapy. Long-term wear and tear can result in lameness in the affected leg. Such severe cases can be offset by setting your Chihuahua up with a comfortable, custom-built dog wheelchair.
Spinal Injuries in Chihuahuas
Spinal injuries are primarily trauma-related. Since Chihuahuas are so small and are often under foot, they are at high risk of spinal injury. Highly social Chihuahuas, or Chihuahuas that play with larger animals, are also at risk. Acute spinal injuries can result in severe nerve damage, which can cause paralysis or pain.
One common chronic spinal injury is caused by damage to a Chihuahua’s spinal discs. Dogs have cushions—discs—which protect their vertebrae. If those discs are damaged or move out of place, your Chihuahua will be in a lot of pain.
This disease, Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), has additional symptoms. IVDD can cause nerve compression. In the worst cases, your dog might lose sensation or motor function in parts of its body or become paralyzed.
A Chihuahua with severe IVDD can live a more comfortable and active life if they have a mobility cart, like the dog wheelchairs at K9 Carts.
Hydrocephalus in Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are particularly prone to hydrocephalus, which is sometimes known as water on the brain. Hydrocephalus is indeed a condition brought on by excessive amounts of fluid in a dog’s skull. However, that liquid is not actually water. It’s spinal fluid.
Hydrocephalus is a frequent congenital disease that’s present at birth. It can, however, come on late in a dog’s life if the dog suffers a head injury.
Hydrocephalus has a wide array of symptoms. As a result, cases of hydrocephalus in Chihuahuas have a broad scope in severity. In the worst cases, hydrocephalus can be fatal. In most, it involves all sorts of symptoms related to the nervous system, including general discomfort, shaking, seizures, sleepiness, uncontrolled bowel movements, delays in learning, nausea, and vomiting.
Hydrocephalus is incurable, but your vet can recommend various treatments to mitigate the specific symptoms or arrest the progress of the disease.
Follow Your Veterinarian’s Advice About Your Chihuahua
If you think your Chihuahua has any of the symptoms described above, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. This advice only is meant to help you understand what your dog is going through, and shouldn’t prevent you from seeking professional medical advice.
Learn More About Your Chihuahua’s Health
Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs — Pet MD
Treatment Options For Your Dog’s Luxating Patella — Dogs Naturally