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Chihuahua Health Problems

Most Common Chihuahua Health Problems

While there are a number of Chihuahua health problems of concern, the breed is generally no less healthy and other dog breeds. Each breed seems to carry with it its own set of health issues, and for many breeds, some health issues are congenital and unique to that breed.

While there are Chihuahua health problems more or less limited to the breed, most of the Chihuahua's health issues are similar to those experienced by other toy breeds. Very small dogs can have some unique problems, and can also be more severely impacted by diseases or disorders that larger breeds can often better tolerate.

Patellar Luxation - There are three major disorders or health problems that most commonly affect Chihuahuas, at least more so than other breeds. One is Patellar Luxation, which is a defect in one or both kneecaps of the hind legs. This is a congenital disorder, and can vary in severity. The patella, or kneecap, is located in the quadriceps muscle tendon of a dog's hind leg. The patella will sometimes slip in and out of the tendon. In mild cases, the symptoms are somewhat like a trick knee, giving only momentary difficulties. In more severe cases, periods of lameness may occur, and in the most severe cases the Chihuahua may not be able to use the leg, or only in extreme pain, in which case corrective surgery will be needed.

Mitral Valve Disease - Heart murmurs also can affect the Chihuahua. This condition, known as Mitral Valve Disease, results form deformities in one or more of the heart valves. Other breeds besides the Chihuahua that can often have this condition are several of the toy breeds, Cocker Spaniels, and several of the terrier breeds. As was the case with Patellar Luxation, Mitral Valve Disease may vary in severity. In some instances it will become increasingly more severe as a heart valve deteriorates, while in other cases, a mild form of the disease may remain that way throughout a dog's life and present no real problem. While often resulting from a congenital valve defect, Mitral Valve Disease can also be caused by inflammation of the heart muscle due to some other disease. Severe cases almost always result in the death of the animal.

Eye Problems - Eye disorders are a third health issue unique to the Chihuahua only in the sense that this small dog has very large eyes which are very close to the ground, thereby being somewhat prone to injury or infection from a foreign particle or substance. A far as eye diseases or congenital eye problems are concerned, the Chihuahua is not particularly more prone to any of these than are other breeds.

Molera - Molera is one of the Chihuahua health problems is the strictest sense of the word, but a natural condition. Molera is a soft spot on top of the head. Most breeds, and human babies for that matter, are born with this condition, but the soft spot closes with age. In some cases it does not close completely or at all, and in those cases can often be a problem. The Chihuahua is one breed in which the Molera does not go away, but is a permanent fixture. It usually does decrease in size however, but a Chihuahua will always have a soft spot on top of its head. No special care is needed, except the little dog should not be hit or patted heavily on the top of its head. In rare instances, Molera can be a contributing factor leading to Hydrocephalus, water on the brain. This tends to be a painful and usually fatal condition in most breeds, and a dog with Hydrocephalus should usually be put to sleep humanely. Chihuahuas who experience Hydrocephalus most often only experience mild cases of it and usually lead a normal life.

Hypoglycemia  - There are a few other Chihuahua health problems which are shared with a number of other breeds, especially the toy breeds. Most of these disorders are rather uncommon, though one which often can affect the Chihuahua, especially the puppies, is Hypoglycemia, a low blood sugar condition. This is partially due to the situation of having a very active dog with a very small stomach, hence a dog that has a tendency to burn more calories than it takes in. Dietary supplements are usually a cure for this problem, which most often is of a transitory nature. Most Chihuahuas though are healthy little guys, in spite of a soft spot on the top of their head.



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