If it seems like your Chihuahua has just started to walk around with a limp, then it's time to explore the situation by taking him in for a prompt checkup with the veterinarian. Limping in Chihuahuas is often a sign of a relatively common canine disorder known as patellar luxation.
Patellar Luxation Background
Chihuahuas as a breed are susceptible to patellar luxation. Luxating patellas are characterized by the improper location of the kneecap -- the patella. This occurs when the kneecap simply slips out of its correct spot. Dogs with luxating patellas are generally born with them, although they can also occur as a result of injury. Many dogs experience the problem in just one knee, and some in two of them.
Since Chihuahuas have a predisposition to patellar luxation, there's a strong chance that any limping in the wee dogs might signify the condition. Limping, however, isn't the sole clue of luxating patellas. Telling symptoms of patellar luxation include unusual and lengthy motions of the back legs, hopping, avoidance of physical activity and the abrupt inability to walk. Extended and consistent pain isn't often a common sign of the condition. Dogs with the issue tend to mostly undergo feelings of pain and discomfort exactly when their patellas shift and change locations.
As soon as your precious pet starts limping or exhibiting any other indications of patellar luxation, bring him in for a veterinary appointment, no time for hesitation. Surgery is necessary for many animals with the disorder, but not in all of them. Once the dogs experience the surgery, their owners must closely monitor them for any hints of inability to walk or related discomfort. It also is important for owners to stop, as much as possible, actions that could trigger the kneecap to move around again, whether high leaping or sprinting.
Chihuahuas aren't the only dogs who are at higher risk of developing patellar luxation. Apart from the Chihuahua world, luxating patellas also often affect poodles, American cocker spaniels, Great Danes, Lhasa apsos, papillons, Saint Bernards, pugs, English springer spaniels, Maltese, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Irish wolfhounds, shih tzus, Australian silky terriers, basset hounds, Boston terriers, Yorkshire terriers and Newfoundlands. Canines big and small alike can have this luxation. The majority of dogs who start having signs of this condition are of middle age.
- Animal Planet: Chihuahua Guide
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals: The Luxating Knee
- American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Patellar Luxation
- Twin Cities Veterinary Surgery: Postoperative Instructions Following Stabilization of a Luxating Patella
- Allwest Animal Hospital: Luxating Patella
- American Kennel Club: Chihuahua
- Boston Terrier Club of America: Boston Terrier Patellar Luxation
- Vetwest Animal Hospitals: Luxating Patella - A Kneecap Problem in Dogs
- Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images