Chaudhary Kennel

All Dog Breeds >>Health of Chihuahua

This breed requires expert veterinary attention in areas such as birthing and dental care. Chihuahuas are also prone to some genetic anomalies, often neurological ones, such as epilepsy and seizure disorders. Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds, are prone to the sometimes painful disease, hydrocephalus. It is often diagnosed by the puppy having an abnormally large head during the first several months of life, but other symptoms are more noticeable (since "a large head" is such a broad description).

Chihuahua puppies exhibiting hydrocephalus usually have patchy skull plates rather than a solid bone and typically are lethargic and do not grow at the same pace as their siblings. A true case of hydrocephalus can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, though the prognosis is grim. Chihuahuas have moleras, or a soft spot in their skulls, and they are the only breed of dog to be born with an incomplete skull. The molera fills in with age, but great care needs to be taken during the first six months until the skull is fully formed. Some moleras do not close completely and will require extra care to prevent injury. Many veterinarians are not familiar with Chihuahuas as a breed, and mistakenly confuse a molera with hydrocephalus.

The Chihuahua Club of America has issued a statement regarding this often deadly misdiagnosis. Chihuahuas can also be at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This is especially dangerous for puppies. Left unattended, hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death. This can be combated with frequent feedings (every three hours for very small or young puppies). Chihuahua owners should have a simple sugar supplement on hand to use in emergencies, such as, Nutri-Cal, Karo syrup or honey. These supplements can be rubbed on the gums and roof of the mouth to rapidly raise the blood sugar level. Signs of hypoglycemia include lethargy, sleepiness, low energy, uncoordinated walking, unfocused eyes and spasms of the neck muscles (or head pulling back or to the side). Chihuahuas are prone to eye infections or eye injury due to their large, round, protruding eyes and their relatively low ground clearance.

Care should be taken to prevent visitors or children from poking the eyes. The eyes also water to remove dust or allergens that may get into the eye. Daily wiping will keep the eyes clean and prevent tear staining. Chihuahuas have a tendency to tremble but this is not a health issue, rather it takes place when the dog is stressed, excited or cold. One reason for this may be because small dogs have a higher metabolism than larger dogs and therefore dissipate heat faster. Due to this Chihuahuas often wear coats or sweaters when outside in the cold or in overly air-conditioned places. Chihuahuas often like to dig and snuggle down in blankets for sleeping.