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Chihuahua’s and their Health Issues

Vetco Pet license ChihuahuaChihuahua’s are the most common dogs in New Mexico. This is the smallest breed of dog but don’t let their size fool you. These little guys have more energy than a dog 10 times bigger. They are super playful and very affectionate. They are one of the most popular dogs to get. Chihuahua’s are also really easy to keep and take care of, especially in hot areas like New Mexico. They don’t get hot like dogs with heavier coats.

Chihuahua’s do have their own health issues you need to watch out for.

Most Common Health Issues for Chihuahua’s

Tracheal collapse

The trachea is the tube that runs down your throat. It has cartilage rings that hold open the airway and these are fragile. If they get damaged it can cause tracheal collapse.  Because Chihuahua’s are so small, and their neck is not very big, they are at a high risk of tracheal collapse. Thankfully you can avoid this issue with some easy precautions. Use a harness instead of a collar, this will keep pressure off their trachea. You can add glucosamine to their diet to help keep the cartilage rings strong, moist, and healthy. If your Chihuahua develops a cough, this could be a symptom of tracheal collapse, bring them to your Los Lunas vet immediately to get check out.


Despite being small, Chihuahua’s are prone to getting arthritis. 75-80% of Chihuahuas have arthritis in their knees (luxating patella), which is mostly an inherited problem. Unlike their larger dog counterparts, they are not prone to malformations like hip dysplasia. Glucosamine is a good supplement for arthritis.


Because Chihuahua’s are so small we tend to over-feed them. Very few Chihuahua’s eat more than 2 cups of food per day. Talk to your vet about an appropriate feeding schedule for your dog. If you feed them too much your Chihuahua will be fat. To prevent obesity they need to be exercised regularly and fed properly. An over weight dog will have a shorter life and predisposes them to other diseases.

Heart conditions

Did you know that coughing is a sign of heart disease in Chihuahua’s? If your dog develops a cough you should get them checked out by your Los Lunas Veterinarian. Chihuahua’s are prone to an inherited heart disease called PDA. A dog with PDA will often have bluish rather than pink gums. Endocardidis is also common. Any heart disease can be made worse if your dog also has dental disease because the bacteria in their mouth circulates through their blood. So it is important to brush their teeth.

Bladder stones

Chihuahuas are genetically prone to developing cysteine bladder stones, especially the males. If you notice your dog having trouble going pee, bring them in to see your veterinarian to be checked for bladder stones. Thankfully they are easy to treat, but they are painful for your dog.

Now you know the biggest concerns. If you have a chihuahua make sure to bring them in to the Los Lunas veterinary clinic for your annual exam and keep an eye out for symptoms of these issues.

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2510 Main St. NE #1 Los Lunas, NM Phone: (505) 865-0662

Veterinarian Clinic Website: www.loslunasvetco.com


The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.