Luxation of the Patella
Luxation of the patella, or dislocation of the kneecap, is a common hereditary problem with chihuahuas and other small breeds. Patellar luxation can occur in varying degrees from minimal to debilitating. Very young dogs may be able to compensate for this deformity, but the condition tends to worsen over time. Most of the time the chihuahua is older before symptoms of patellar luxation are obvious.
The dislocation is most commonly found on the inner side of the patella. The attached ligaments become stretched over time until the patella is rarely where it is supposed to be, and may "pop" in and out of place very easily.
Recent studies have shown that immediate treatment is recommended, rather then waiting until the dislocation has crippled the dog. The reasoning is that, while the knee is dislocated, the entire body of the dog is compensating for it, causing deformations of many other skeletal areas.
Research has definitively shown that patellar luxation is an inherited trait, and dogs with this genetic problem should not be used in breeding programs.
Occasional bouts of sneezing, snorting, honking and wheezing are not unusual in chihuahuas, and is sometimes called a "reverse sneeze". This is usually caused by a elongated soft palate that is thought to become temporarily misaligned. It is a common trait in toy breeds. Pulling hard on a leash, drinking too fast or getting overly excited can lead to an episode of reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing SHOULD NOT be confused with a different condition called "collapsed trachea".
Although reverse sneezing may appear to be scary, it only lasts a short time and can be ended by massaging the dog's neck and throat and encouraging the dog to swallow or lick. Another way to slow the reverse sneeze is to clap your hands to distract the dog, or pinch closed the dog's nostrils with your fingers, forcing it to breathe through its mouths and to swallow.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the chihuahua's blood sugar level drops to an extremely low level, causing "sugar shock." When levels of glucose in the blood drop rapidly, the dog's body and brain are deprived of essential nutrients. The results of hypoglycemia can be weakness, seizures, coma, and in severe cases, death.
Because chihuahuas are so small, they can be prone to hypoglycemia, especially when they are very young. Hypoglycemia is usually caused by stress, illness, lack of food, or by using up stored energy without it being replenished.
It is important to make sure that young puppies and very tiny chihuahuas eat regularly throughout the day. Another preventative for hypoglycemia is regular feeding of a high-calorie supplement called Nutrical, available from your veterinarian or your local pet store.
If you suspect that your chihuahua is hypoglycemic, call your vet AT ONCE as this condition can be quickly fatal.