Chihuahua Breathing Problems

The Chihuahua is a popular toy breed, but the dogs may be prone to breathing problems and additional health problems. These may be due to their genetics or their anatomy. The breathing problems are related to the toy size of the pet, a collapsing trachea and possibly pulmonic stenosis.

Breathing Problems in Chihuahua

Breathing problems are often caused by a trachea collapse or a pulmonic stenosis.

The trachea may be compressed due to an injury or a tight collar. This condition is more frequent in senior Chihuahuas, but some puppies may be born with the condition and in this case, it is considered genetic.

A pulmonic stenosis is a condition that leads to restricted blood flow to the heart and will result in breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the condition can result in a congestive heart failure.

Symptoms of Breathing Problems

A Chihuahua with a collapsing trachea will have restricted air passages and will display symptoms such as:

  • Dry coughing, which may be present both during the day and while the dog sleeps
  • Breathing difficulties — the dog may gasp for air
  • Rashes in the collar area
  • Lack of appetite and incapacity to swallow properly
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Anemia

If the dog has suffered from an injury that leads to a collapsing trachea, you should look for signs in the neck area.

If the dog is affected by severe pulmonic stenosis he will have:

  • Irregular pulse
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Exercise resistance, the dog may not be able to perform regular moves without gasping for air
  • Swollen abdomen, in severe cases
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy

Detecting Breathing Problems

Breathing problems may be detected if you watch your dog’s behavior. However, a veterinary checkup is needed to detect a collapsing trachea or pulmonic stenosis. The vet will examine the dog and perform a few radiographs to establish if the condition affecting the dog is a collapsed trachea. To detect pulmonic stenosis, the vet will have to check the heart and establish the severity of the condition and how much the arteries are blocked.

Treatment Options for Chihuahua Breathing Problems

Both in the case of a collapsing trachea and pulmonic stenosis, the vet will recommend surgery. The surgery can fix the problem and will allow the pet to breathe normally.

If the condition of the pet is not severe, surgery may not be necessary, but he will require some support therapy. Regular checkups are necessary to monitor the dog’s condition and prevent more complex health issues. You should check back with your vet, whenever you notice breathing problems.

Preventing Breathing Problems

As a collapsing trachea is often associated with injury or a tight leash or collar, you should avoid injuries and keep your dog safe. Choose the collar and the leash so that the dog won’t choke. Opt for soft collars and avoid harsh leathers. Some vets may recommend a harness instead of a leash.