The Chihuahua is prone to certain breed-specific health conditions. Owners should be aware of possible health risks, since some can be prevented and others, when found early enough, can respond very well to treatment.
Overview - This is a condition in which the knee cap slips out of its place. Sometimes, it is not severe enough to need surgical treatment and sometimes it is. Your vet will tell you what steps to take. Genetics can make a Chihuahua prone to this and then a certain action - such as running or jumping down from a certain height - can trigger it.
Ethical breeders should have any potential breeding dogs checked for this and if found, that dog should be eliminated from the breeding program.
One tricky element about this condition is that a dog may only feel pain when the kneecap initially slips out of place. Some continue to walk normally for several hours afterward. Swelling will begin to inflame the area and it is at that time that most Chihuahuas will show signs that something is wrong.
Signs - The most common symptoms of this are:
- Favoring one side of the body
- Reluctance to run
- Whimpering when jumping from sofa to floor, etc.
- Yelping out when being picked up
Diagnosis - X-rays will confirm is the patella has slipped out of place; though some veterinarians are able to know simply by manipulating the leg.
Treatment - Bed rest is often a key element to healing. The dog should be crated or enclosed in a small gated area where he will not be able to walk or jump up. During this time. anti-inflammatory medication is given to help with both the pain and the swelling. With proper rest, this can heal well though most dogs will be prone for another episode. Running and jumping should be limited. Only in severe cases is surgery needed.