Overall Chihuahua health presents relatively few problems considering their size and temperament.
To be honest the dog health problems I talk about below do not only affect the Chihuahua breed but many other breeds as well, with the exception of molera, which I will go into later.
Each breed of dog has it’s own specific health related problems. I encourage everyone looking at a particular breed to gather all specific health problems and information related to that breed.
Chihuahua's as many of the other small dog breeds have a very low fat reserve around their liver. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) takes place in the nervous system.
It occurs mainly in Toy breeds between six weeks and twelve months of age. Often it is brought on by stress. This disturbance should particularly be looked for in puppies that are just brought home from the breeder.
Collapse of the Trachea is a breathing problem, one of the more alarming Chihuahua health problems an owner might encounter. The Chihuahua is the worlds smallest dog and with that in mind, all of their body parts are small as well (even the parts we can‘t see).
In the case of the trachea, the windpipe is very narrow and susceptible to collapse. When or if weakened cartilage collapses, even a little bit, the dog has difficulty breathing, and you will hear the strange coughing (almost like a honking sound) when they’re struggling to breathe normally.
The good news is it’s very often treatable. Avoiding or reducing irritants in the air, such as smoke and air sprays is one way to help them breathe easier.
One of our Chihuahua has collapsing trachea and at first we were very worried, but after our vet explained what was happening and gave us steps we could take to lessen the occurrence, both our Chihuahua and us are breathing easier.
Patella luxation is a Knee problem it's a medical term for saying that the dog’s knee joint slips out of place and rubs against the leg bone. This is one of the Chihuahua health problems that can be traced to heredity and is not necessarily a breed-specific problem, as many small dogs experience it.
Patella luxation can affect a Chihuahua’s mobility and temperament. They’re excitable and very active little dogs, their frequent jumping can definitely aggravate this painful situation.
An inspection of a puppy’s legs by an experienced vet can sometimes determine if patella luxation is a possibility.
Treatment for severe luxation is usually surgery, therefore it’s a problem potential owners certainly want to avoid if possible.
I have saved the worst for the last, Hydrocephalus or in laymans terms "Water on the Brain"
I have personally never experienced this Chihuahua health problem but have been told about it by those who have, it is one that must be relayed as a potential risk and be determined and watched closely by a vet.
Before I explain hydrocephalus, I should mention the special characteristic I mentioned earlier "molera": a “soft skull” hole known as a molera that Chihuahuas have.
Like many newborn mammals (including human babies), Chihuahuas are not born with fully developed bones in their head to protect their brains. Their skulls tend to have an opening, which never completely disappears the way it does in other mammals (although it decreases in size with age).
The molera is not listed as a Chihuahua health problem – but rather a trademark of the breed. However, an unusually large molera is a telltale sign of hydrocephalus, a condition where excess fluid collects on the brain and results in a swelled head and eventual death.
Other signs include crossed eyes, grogginess, loss of balance, and seizures. Hydrocephalus tends to affect most Chihuahuas before they reach 9 months of age, and an experienced vet can help distinguish between a normal molera and hydrocephalus.