What are the most common health problems in Chihuahuas?

Chihuahuas are quite a healthy breed, which is great news for their owners. It means they can live anywhere from 12 to 20 years if they are looked after well enough. However, this doesn’t mean that owners can get complacent. Every Chihuahua owner needs to familiarize themselves with the health risks this breed is prone to. Here are the main health conditions associated with the Chihuahua.

Patellar Luxation

Some Chihuahuas are unlucky enough to be born with this knee defect.It happens when the patella fits loosely into it’s socket and slips in and out of place. You may spot your little dog stopping to pop his leg back into place and this is one of the signs of the condition, along with limping. The condition can be diagnosed from an early age, as young as 7 months. It isn’t always genetically inherited though – this type of knee injury can also happen as a result of trauma to the area. Puppies have very fragile bones when they are young so they should never be made to climb down stairs on their own or jump from heights. They can also develop this condition over time if they are overweight, which produces too much stress on the bones and ligaments.

Mitral valve disorder

Some Chihuahuas have this heart condition, which prevents the mitral valve from being able to successfully pump blood around the body. When this happens, the faulty valve causes a backflow, producing a range of outward symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty exercising. However, this is another condition that can be managed quite successfully with the right care and attention. Dogs must be fed a diet that’s low in sodium, and be given a very minimal exercise routine so as not to exacerbate the condition.


Genetic predispositions, environmental factors or injuries to the head can cause the area around the brain to fill with fluids which is a serious condition. A dog with a chronic form of the disease (with long term symptoms) may have eyes that look outwards rather than forwards. If puppies are born with this condition then they will usually die soon afterwards. So, it’s important to check for signs of it when you visit the breeder’s to choose your puppy. However, sometimes the symptoms will only be mild and the Chihuahua can live for a few years, provided they have an owner who is willing to help manage the condition carefully.


Glaucoma is a painful disease where fluid in the eye builds up and places pressure on the inner eye, which causes the development of abnormal tissue that blocks the drainage ducts. This leads to the retina and optic nerves becoming damaged. However, it can be treated with surgery and medication.

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