The Chihuahua is a toy breed that originated in Mexico. The Chihuahua can have a long or short coat in a variety of solid or mixed colors. It has been recognized by the American Kennel Club for more than a hundred years. These popular little dogs are prone to a number of medical conditions.
Because of its small size, care must be taken to prevent injuries to a Chihuahua. Jumping from your arms or off of high furniture could result in a broken leg. In addition, children should not be permitted to play roughly with a Chihuahua. There is a soft spot on the dog's head that may not close completely and an impact to this area could be fatal, according to The Dog Owner's Guide. A collapsed trachea can occur from pulling a collar too hard against the dog's throat. The Chihuahua Guide recommends the use of a harness to prevent this.
Chihuahuas, like many small breeds, tend to have a condition called luxating patella, where the kneecap slips out of place. It makes walking difficult for the dog due to stiffness and pain. It can be mild in the beginning and gradually become worse. The Chihuahua Guide indicates that if the condition is very severe, surgery may be needed to correct it.
According to Go Pets America, Chihuahuas can be prone to heart problems, such as mitral valve disease, pulmonic stenosis and heart murmurs. Mitral valve disease is a heart deformity that can be treated with medication. Pulmonic stenosis is a problem that involves partial obstruction of blood flow to the heart and congestive heart failure can result if it is severe. This condition can be corrected with surgery.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is common in Chihuahua puppies, according to The Chihuahua Guide. Many times they outgrow the condition, which includes symptoms such as lethargy and stumbling. Hemophilia is another blood problem that occurs in Chihuahuas. Go Pets America indicates that, in severe cases, blood transfusions may be needed periodically.
Chihuahuas can be affected by certain eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, red eye, glaucoma, retinal dryness and progressive retinal atrophy. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary condition that involves lesions of the retina, according to Go Pets America. If PRA affects both eyes, the dog will have night blindness. Central PRA includes an accumulation of pigment in the retina's lining, causing day blindness. Both conditions eventually lead to total blindness.
Other medical issues that can affect Chihuahuas include cryptorchidism, hydrocephalus, demodicosis and cystinuria. Cryptorchidism is a condition where the testicles have not descended from the dog's abdomen. Hydrocephalus is a problem with the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid into the dog's circulatory system that can occur from infections, parasites, birth defects or injury. Demodicosis is a skin condition that results in lesions and hair loss due to demodectic mites. Cystinuria is a urinary condition where cystine crystals form and can result in kidney and bladder stones.