15 Most Common Diseases or Medical Conditions in Chihuahuas!

If you didn`t know this already, Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world. But even this cute little pet can get ill. Today we`ll learn about some of the most common diseases in Chihuahuas.

common diseases in chihuahuas

Whether Chihuahuas are healthy types of dogs or not it very much depends on the way they are taken care of by their owners.

On the other hand, the lifespan of these furry little creatures are of up to 16 years, sometimes even more. This makes them a long-lived breed.

Generally speaking, they are a healthy breed and rarely get health issues. Still, like any other dog breed, them too get sick sometimes. Let`s get into more details of what these health problems can be.

READ MORE: 6 Brief Causes Why Your Dog Is Pooping Less or Not at All!

A Chihuahua is a lovable pet which enjoys spending time within the family. Just like any other breed, they are too prone to some medical conditions and illnesses because of their genetics.

The below health issues are some of the most common medical problems in Chihuahuas.

Dental Disease

As you may have imagined, dental disease represents the most common illness when it comes to home pets, as it affects almost 80% of pooches of all breeds by the age of 2.

It begins with a build-up of tartar and then evolves to an infection of the teeth`s roots and gums.

These little canines are predisposed to maintaining their “baby teeth,” a condition that is known as deciduous canine teeth, causing an adult tooth to develop improperly. Then food happens to get caught around these baby teeth, leading to serious gum disease.

If dog owners do not try to prevent and treat this type of health problems, our little furry friends won`t only lose their teeth, but also have their heart, kidneys, joints and liver and jeopardy. Actually the dog`s lifespan might become shorter with 1 to 3 years!

READ MORE: What Is a Board and Train Program? Pros & Cons!

Canine Distemper

This is a severe viral illness. The disease could be transmitted from one canine to another through air. Not only that is very contagious, but there`s no known cure either, so it`s vital to have your little pal vaccinated.

Some of the most common signs are heavy breathing, increased temperature, runny nose, lethargy, red eyes, coughing, vomiting or diarrhea.

If you become suspicious that your furry friend contracted this illness, get in touch with your veterinarian right away. Also, you should avoid taking your Chihuahua to the vet until the receptionist has notified you, so other dogs don`t get infected.


Hypoglycaemia is among the most common health issues encountered in Chihuahuas. This condition is in fact the medical term for abnormal low blood sugar and can lead to issues in the canine`s nervous system, which in turn may result in seizures and in some rare cases, even coma.

Hypoglycaemic attacks might occur without any warning. At times, a Chihuahua with low levels of blood sugar might show symptoms of tremors, lethargy, restlessness and weakness.

A treatment for a canine with such an attack needs fast action. This is because even mild hypoglycaemic attacks can get worst pretty fast, and can lead to brain damage on a permanent basis.

The best way to avoid all of this is to try and prevent it in good time by taking all the necessary measures of precaution. You can read more about this here!

Patellar Luxation

The patella consists of 3 different parts: thigh bone, kneecap as well as calf. Patellar dislocation is the medical condition that happens when the canine`s kneecap is luxated from its normal position in the thigh bone`s groove.

Signs can include lameness in the leg, abnormal gait, various pain degrees, and if things get worse, even immobility.

Because this particular medical condition often fluctuates when it comes to its severity, there are lots of distinct treatment options available out there.

Physical therapy is one option, in which the canine gets adjusted and can live a completely normal life, or corrective surgery can be another option.

Canine Influenza

More commonly known as dog flu, this is a very contagious viral infection that is the result of influenzavirus A. It can be transmitted quite easily between canines that are close to one another.

Various signs include nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, coughing, loss of appetite, sneezing or heavy breathing.

If you believe your little pal has contracted this infection, get in touch with vet as soon as you can as failure of treatment may result in even more serious complications, like pneumonia.


There are all sorts of bugs and worms that could your pal`s little body, both inside or out. Just about anything from mites to fleas might infest the dog`s ears or skin.

Heartworms, hookworms or roundworms – they can all get into your canine`s system in various ways: being bitten by a mosquito, consuming water that isn`t clean, or stepping on faeces.

Some of this type of parasites could be transmitted to one of the family`s members and become a severe problem for anyway. When it comes to your little furry friend, all these parasites could cause all sorts of discomforts, pain, and in some cases, even death.

That`s why it is essential that dogs should be tested from time to time. Preventive drugs are also recommended to keep your canine`s health in place.

Tracheal Collapse

This is yet another common medical condition when talking about Chihuahua.

The trachea, perhaps more commonly known as windpipe, is formed as well as supported by rings made of cartilage. Tracheal collapse essentially represents the trachea`s narrowing because of this cartilage becoming weak.

Due to this particular collapse, the windpipe`s membrane lining becomes kind of swollen. This makes the Chihuahua a dry cough and heavy breathing. If the canine has increased weight, this medical condition might become worse.

The treatment of this condition involves the usage of supplements, like glucosamine, to controlling the cough and attempting to strengthen the cartilage.

READ MORE: 8 Amazing Benefits of Olive Oil for Dogs You May Not Know About


This is a medical condition related to the eyes which affect both humans and dogs, and which is quite painful and can sometimes lead to blindness.

Signs involve watery eyes, redness in the eyes` whites, squinting or cornea`s cloudiness.

In some serious situations, the eye might seem like it is bulging or rather swollen.

Your canine`s should get yearly glaucoma screening to diagnose and possibly treat this kind of health problems.

Glaucoma represents an emergency, so if you notice one of the above symptoms in your dog, you shouldn`t lose any more time and wait. Visit your nearest emergency clinic right away!

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are mainly related to trauma. Since this type of canine is so tiny, there are increased risks of spinal injury.

Those Chihuahuas that play with larger dogs or those that are full of energy all the time and somehow highly social are at risk as well.

Acute spinal injuries might lead to serious nerve damage, which in turn might result in pain or even paralysis. One of the most common chronic spinal injuries is the result of the damage of the spinal discs of a Chihuahua.

Dogs have discs (cushions) that offer protection to their vertebrae. If they burst or bulge somehow, you`ll soon notice that your little pal is in lots of pain.

This disease is known as IVDD, which is short for Intervertebral disc disease and can lead to nerve compression. In some serious situations, your Chihuahua may lose his motor function in some of his body parts or even become paralyzed.

A canine with serious IVDD can have a perfect lifestyle if they use a wheelchair.

Canine Hepatitis

Also known as Rubarth disease, canine hepatitis represents an acute infection of the canines` liver. This illness is the result of Canine mastadenovirus A, previously known as CAV-1 (short for Canine adenovirus 1).

This disease is most of the time mistaken with canine distemper, and can be transmitted by saliva, blood, faeces and urine.

Various signs include depression, vomiting, increased temperature, pale gums, coughing or abdominal pain. Signs of jaundice might appear as this illness infects the kidneys and liver as well.

If you are suspicious of your dog getting this diseases, don`t let other dogs around him and contact your veterinarian right away.

Taking Care of Your Chihuahua

Hair Loss

This type of dogs are somehow predispose to pattern baldness. Just as in humans, the hair starts to fall out little by little, without ever growing back. The loss of hair doesn`t really lead to itchiness, although the skin might become dry at times.

Generally speaking, the affected areas include the insides of the dog`s legs, their belly and chest, and sometimes even the neck.

If this issue is addressed to a vet, he`ll be able to do some tests in order to rule out any possible treatable issues which have hair loss as a sign, like not enough thyroid hormone.

If it`s indeed hair loss (e.g. alopecia), your veterinarian might offer supplements that include a specific hormone. This might help up to a certain point. However, there`s no known cure for this medical condition. (More here!)

Chronic Valvular Disease

For some reason, toy dogs are more prone to heart diseases – maybe because of their tiny little hearts. Canines that experience this type of illness experience degenerative changes when it comes to the heart valves. Particularly, the valves` leaflets become thicker and the shape gets deformed.

Because of this, the valves` free edges aren`t able to make contact anymore, leading to cardiac output and decreased functioning of the valves.

The most common sign of this condition is a “noisy” heart murmur that can be heard on the chest`s left part.

Chronic valvular disease is, as the name implies, “chronic” as well as progressive, and can lead to congestive heart failure if no treatment is involved.


Shivering is a condition pretty common in Chihuahuas. Yes, this isn`t really a health issue, but we included in this list as dog owners address it almost all the time.

Generally, this happens because this tiny “creatures” don`t have that much fat underneath their skin, but sometimes it might also be a sign of a more severe problem.

Additionally, dogs of smaller sizes have a tendency to have a more hyperactive metabolism, which means canines of these breeds they are shedding heat from their body constantly. Tea dogs sometimes shiver, however, dogs of this particular breed shiver in particular more frequently.

Generally speaking, this isn`t something of concern, but if you notice something abnormal at your Chihuahua, you shouldn`t hesitate to take your little pal to the vet immediately.


Besides all the above diseases and medical conditions, Chihuahuas are predispose to another health problems known as hydrocephalus as well.

Dogs of this specific breed have a very special trait – they are usually born of a rather soft spot, known as molera, on their head`s top. The molera isn`t really a health issue itself, but only a trait of this particular breed! – Check this out!

Still, if it happens for a Chihuahua to have an abnormally large molera, they might experience this condition known as hydrocephalus, which is characterized by a fluid build-up around their little brain, and this eventually might lead to death.

Signs of hydrocephalus might involve lethargy, deficient coordination, listlessness, grogginess, swollen head, and in worst situation, even seizures.

Hydrocephalus has the tendency to affect most dogs of this breed before reaching 9 months, although it may happen for some to not show any signs until a later age.

Some dogs might live with a mild form of this medical condition during adulthood.


This is an important health issue in canines as well as a very severe illness which might lead to arthritis, back pain, heart disease, and even certain kinds of cancer.

We all know how tempting it is to give your furry friend food when they look with those humble eyes, treats and human food in general isn`t really healthy for dogs.

Final Thought

Chihuahuas are among of the most popular breeds of small dogs. The loyalty and energy of these cute, small canines are the most important traits any dog owner out there looks for in a dog.

Similar Posts