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Common Chihuahua Health Issues

Posted: 05/10/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Chihuahuas. The tiny dogs with the giant personalities. If you’ve ever met a Chihuahua there’s a very good chance you fell madly in love. That’s how adorable and outrageous they are. But every dog breed comes with its own health issues and Chihuahuas are no different. Chihuahua health issues range from not-so-serious to fairly serious. 

The good news is, once you become educated on what to look for, you can get the right treatment to help your fur baby live a long and happy life. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common Chihuahua health issues.

Chihuahua Health Issues

Luxating Patella

A luxating patella refers to the dislocation of the kneecap. This is a hereditary condition that usually begins to present around four months of age. A luxating patella usually affects their hind legs and you may notice your fur baby limp and even hold her hind leg up in the air for a few minutes. This helps your pup relax the muscles in her affected leg, which eases the kneecap back in place.

You’ve most likely been wincing the entire time you’ve been reading this. But don’t worry, the condition isn’t as painful as it may seem. Yes, there is initial pain when the kneecap first dislocates, but then it subsides. 

Veterinarians usually want to monitor the disease to watch for any complications. In very extreme cases of patellar luxation, surgery is required to treat the leg.


Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. Chihuahuas with this condition may sometimes appear drowsy, weak, and disoriented. In severe cases, pups may even suddenly lose consciousness.  

If your Chihuahua has shown any of these symptoms, it’s important that you take them to the vet right away. It may be that your pup requires a new diet to sustain her energy.  Small breeds can easily experience a drop in blood sugar if they miss a meal or two or if they are not getting enough calories to begin with.

Sometimes, though, hypoglycemia is a symptom of a more serious disease such as diabetes or liver disease. Your veterinarian will want to conduct a full exam and run blood tests to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Chihuahua Health Issues

Tracheal Collapse

The trachea is the tube that connects your pup’s nose and mouth to her lungs. In certain breeds, the trachea may sometimes collapse, causing your pup to have trouble breathing. She may even develop a chronic “honking” cough.

Sometimes a tracheal collapse can be very severe, causing the dog to not be able to breathe. The dog may have blue gums and eventually faint from lack of oxygen. This is a medical emergency. Should your pup experience this, get them to the vet or nearest animal hospital immediately. 

Collapsed tracheas are actually quite common and, when treated proactively, have a very good prognosis. Vets can often treat and manage this condition by using cough suppressants or steroids to open your Chihuahua’s airway.

Tooth and Gum Disease

Small breeds are adorable. But they tend to have very stinky breath! That’s because small breeds, like Chihuahuas, have naturally small mouths. Oftentimes their teeth are overcrowded making cleaning very difficult. Plaque and tartar are then allowed to build up, and the result is gum disease.

It’s important that you attempt to brush your Chihuahua’s often and thoroughly. Of course, that is sometimes easier said than done. If you have one of those pup’s who absolutely WON’T allow you in there, then the next best thing is providing plenty of dental chews and toys. And also, be sure to bring your pup into the vet for regular dental cleanings. If dental disease is left untreated, it can cause bigger health issues like liver and kidney disease to develop.


Have you ever noticed your Chihuahua has a small soft spot on her head? This spot is called a “molera.” Like human babies, baby Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot that usually closes by the time they are one year old. 

Sometimes a Chihuahua is born with a very large molera. When this happens, their skulls may fill with spinal fluid that can eventually surround their entire brain. This is known as hydrocephalus.

Chihuahuas with hydrocephalus may have bad coordination, seizures, a swollen head, and numerous other neurological symptoms. If your pup shows any of these symptoms, it’s important to get her into the vet right away.

While hydrocephalus cannot be cured, many Chihuahuas with the condition lead long and happy lives.

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Spinal Injuries

Chihuahuas have such tiny frames that a spinal injury can happen very quickly and easily. These injuries are almost always due to some sort of trauma. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)  occurs when a spinal disc slips out of place. IVDD is often genetic and not the result of trauma. 

If you have a Chihuahua in your life, recognize their fragility and keep them safe at all times. For instance, don’t let them run around a dog park with other larger breeds. Don’t let them run around a party where adults, who may be intoxicated and not paying attention, could easily step on them. 

While doggy wheelchair and physical therapy can manage pain and mobility issues following a spinal injury, best to prevent them from happening in the first place!

Bladder and Kidney Stones

Older chihuahuas, especially older males, commonly develop bladder and kidney stones. These tiny stones are made of calcium build-up in your dog’s urinary tracts. They can cause pain and your dog may have difficulty peeing. You may also notice blood in your pup’s urine. 

Stones often pass on their own but should you notice your Chihuahua having difficulty urinating, get him in to the vet as soon as possible Kidney and bladder stones can cause blockages, especially in male dogs, that can turn into medical emergencies quickly.

Chihuahua Health problems

Take the very Best Care of Your Chihuahua with Pet Health Insurance

Chihuahuas may be tiny, but they bring us HUGE amounts of love and joy. Love your pup right back by enrolling her into a pet health insurance plan. This way no matter what injury or health issue may arise, you’ll be able to afford the best care.

You may be surprised just how affordable many monthly premiums are. And did you know some policies have a reimbursement rate of 90%? Imagine getting an emergency vet bill for $5,000 but only needing to pay for $500.

Take a couple of minutes and get multiple customized quotes from some of the top providers in the country.

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  1. “Chihuahua Dog Breed Health and Care”
  2. “Chihuahua Breed”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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