Health Problems


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Small-size dogs, or Toy dogs, suffer breed specific problems. The Chihuahua is not an exception. There are several congenital diseases (dogs are born with these diseases) that might present serious health risk in this breed of dog: patellar luxation, heart murmurs and eye abnormalities. If the timely and correct preventive care is provided and if the breeding stock is free from genetic defects, then you have a healthy Chihuahua.Patellar LuxationThe patella or kneecap is a small bone buried in the tendon of the extensor muscles (the quadriceps muscles) of the thigh. The tendon is a band of tough, inelastic tissue that connects a muscle with its bony attachment. With this condition, the kneecap may slip out of the tendon and then slip back. Patellar Luxation is graded 1 to 4 based on the severity of the defect, 1 being occasional mild lameness. More about Patellar Luxation [...]Progressive Retinal AtrophyThe progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a collective term comprising a group of hereditary degenerative lesions of the retina. Generalized PRA: is characterized by night blindness with both eyes affected and dogs eventually become totally blind. Central PRA (also called RPE dystrophy): is characterized by accumulations of pigment in the layer of pigmented lining of the retina, which results in day blindness and eventually terminates in total blindness. More about Dog eye problems[...]Transient Juvenile HypoglycemiaTransient Juvenile Hypoglycemia, which is brought on by fasting, is common in Toy dog breeds, such as Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle, Pomeranian and other Toy dog breeds, and usually seen in puppies 5 to 16 weeks of age.  

​  More about Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia [...]CryptorchidismThe testes (testicles) develop in the abdomen and gradually descend into the scrotum. They should be present there at birth, or shortly after. If they have not descended by the time the dog is adult, he can be described as either a unilateral cryptorchid (when one testis is still retained in the abdomen), or bilateral cryptorchid (when both have not descended).The testis that remains in the abdomen does not function and has a high risk of being injured or twisted. The undescended testis is affected by cancer more often then the normal descended testis. Chihuahua are considered to be prone to this condition. Sometimes, the hidden testes may descend when a puppy is 6 months of age. It is advised to check with your veterinarian at the time of vaccination.HydrocephalusHydrocephalus is the malfunction of drainage system of the brain responsible for evacuating the cerebrospinal fluid from the brain into the circulatory system. In hydrocephalus condition the fluid builds up in the two large interconnecting chambers, and the brain and skull become enlarged because of the accumulation of the fluid. Hydrocephalus may be an acquired or congenital (present at birth) condition and may be caused by birth defects of the brain's drainage system, head injuries, tumors, parasitic or other infections. In young dogs, the presence of a dome-shaped head and/or non-closing, or persistent fontanel (also called fontanella) may indicate the development of hydrocephalus. Fontanel is a small gap between the incompletely formed cranial bones. Several such spots are usually present at birth and in most cases close usually by 3 or 4 months of age. In Chihuahua, the frontal fontanel, or molera, remains unclosed and this does not harm the dog.Signs of Hydrocephalus include depression, severe loss of movement coordination, eye abnormalities, seizures, vision problems, and skull enlargement.

​ Young affected puppies often show slow growth as compared to their littermates.DemodicosisDemodicosis is an infestation with Demodectic mites. It is characterized by skin lesions and alopecia (loss of hair). These mites are very common to dogs and are found in most healthy dogs. The infestation is usually caused by immune system disorders, hypothyroidism (thyroid gland disorder), poor nutrition, existing disease, cancer, and exposure to harmful substances that may lead to development of cancer (carcinogens). When an infestation occurs, the mites multiply in the hair follicles causing inflammation and alopecia. It is diagnosed through skin scrapings taken from the spots affected by alopecia. There are two types of demodicosis: localized and generalized. In localized type inflamed scaly spots only appear on the dog's face, front legs and the trunk and are usually observed in puppies of 3 to 6 months of age. Cases diagnosed before two years of age are classified as juvenile demodicosis, and those diagnosed after two years of age as adult demodicosis.

​The generalized demodicosis is a serious skin disease that can take from 1 to 6 months to cure. Start of treatment early in the course of disease usually gives a significantly better chance of cure. The mites and the skin lesions usually disappear two or one and a half months on average after start of treatment of the skin condition and the existing health disorders.CystinuriaSome dog breeds, such as Chihuahua, Dalmatians, Dachshunds, Tibetan Spaniels, and Basset Hounds are genetically predisposed to formation of cystine crystals (crystals formed out of amino acid called cystine) in the urine which eventually lead to stone formations in kidneys and bladder. These stones can cause irritation and infection.

Updated August 12, 2017 at 3:23 PM

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