How long do Chihuahuas live?
The Chihuahua’s average lifespan of 14-18 years.
What problems do Chihuahuas have?
He doesn’t generally have serious health problems, but like any other breed, he can be predisposed to certain medical conditions. These include:
A Chihuahua puppy is very likely to develop hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. It is often caused by a lack of energy reserves due to stress or an imbalanced diet. This leads to a lack of supply in glucose levels.
It may sound like a mild health problem, but it can turn fatal without proper treatment. However, early detection of hypoglycaemia can make it easily curable.
The condition is often misdiagnosed as other diseases such as viral hepatitis or encephalitis. Thus, knowing the symptoms of hypoglycaemia is important. Signs that a puppy has low blood sugar include twitching, lethargy, weakness, lack of coordination, and seizures.
Bladder stones, also called cystic calculi or uroliths, are a common genetic predisposition in the Chihuahua breed, especially males. These stones are rock-like formations made up of minerals found in the urinary bladder. Different types of bladder stones can form depending on these minerals.
A Chihuahua with uroliths often has discoloured urine. He may also experience difficulty in urinating and may frequently lick the area around his urinary opening.
To treat bladder stones, the vet may prescribe antibiotics and recommend a therapeutic diet. In some cases, surgery may even be necessary. These treatments help in effectively breaking down the stones.
The Chihuahua is greatly at risk of suffering from the collapsed trachea. It is an inherited disease in the breed. Middle-aged to senior Chihuahuas are more vulnerable to the collapsed trachea. This respiratory issue occurs when the cartilage supporting the trachea becomes weak, leading the organ to flatten.
It makes the passing of air through the lungs difficult and causes breathing problems. The most common symptom of the collapsed trachea is incessant harsh coughing accompanied by a ‘goose honking’ sound. Treatment for this condition involves medication and, in severe cases, surgery.
This is also known as molera, which is a soft spot or a hole in the skull. Normally, it completely closes once a puppy reaches 9–12 weeks of age. However, in some cases, the molera in toy breeds like the Chihuahua fails to close fully.
Although open fontanel is not a disease, it can put the breed in danger as he can easily sustain injuries due to this condition. Accidentally hitting him hard can be life-threatening for this breed.
Molera has no cure. However, it will require you to handle the Chihuahua gently. A special headgear that can protect his soft spot is also available.
The Chihuahua is highly prone to developing hydrocephalus. Those with this condition do not live past 2 years old. Hydrocephalus occurs when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates between the skull and the cerebrum.
This can result in the weakening of the bones and skull, causing them to misshape. The liquid also puts pressure on the brain, which can trigger several neurological issues.
The root cause of this disorder can be genetic, but it can also be due to head trauma or brain tumour. Chihuahua puppies with hydrocephalus are slow to learn. They also tend to hit their heads on walls and often experience seizures.
Methods of treatment used to cure hydrocephalus depend on the severity of the disease. In mild cases, diuretics, and corticosteroids may be administered to reduce the fluids. Surgery is often necessary if the initial treatments fail.
Hereditary diseases are very common in various breeds, and the Chihuahua is not excluded. For this reason, it is best to purchase a Chihuahua puppy from a reputable breeder whose breeding stocks are health-screened. Tests that show favoured result mean that their puppies have lower chances of inheriting breed-specific diseases.
The Chihuahua needs exercise to maintain a healthy weight. A 30-minute walk or some agility games are usually enough for this tiny pooch.
Do not neglect your Chihuahua’s need for mental stimulation. Be sure to provide mind-challenging activities such as playing with puzzle toys, hide-and-seek, and home-made obstacle course.
When leaving the Chi-Chi in the garden, look out for gaps, as he is naturally curious and may escape exploring the outdoors.
If you plan to take your Chihuahua for a swim, note that small-size dogs generally struggle when wading in water. Thus, your Chihuahua should wear a well-fitted doggy life jacket. Constant supervision is necessary, as well.