Hettie van Zyl

Teeth and Jaw problems in the Chihuahua

Teeth and Jaw problems in the Chihuahua

This condition seems to frequently affect the poor Chihuahua. Even when two adult Chihuahuas with perfect mouths have been bred together, one or more of the resulting puppies may have an incorrect mouth.

The KUSA Standard for the Chihuahua (both the Long & Smooth coated variety) states that the jaw of the Chihuahua should be strong, with a perfect, regular & complete ‘scissor’ bite.

A ‘scissor’ bite (‘bite’ refers to the teeth set within the jaw when the teeth are closed together) is when the upper incisors (front teeth) closely overlap the lower incisors and are set square in the jaw (also known as a ‘perfect 6×6 scissor bite’ – this refers to the 6 upper incisors and the 6 lower incisors)

Unfortunately, not all Chihuahuas mature to have a ‘perfect scissor bite’. This is a particular problem if you intend to show or breed from your Chihuahua.

Jaw abnormalities that can occur are: ‘Undershot Jaw’ (Bite), ‘Overshot Jaw’ (Bite) & ‘Level Jaw’ (Bite).

In a Chihuahua with an ‘undershot’ jaw the lower incisors will be in front of the upper incisors. This is usually quite easy to spot, even without opening the dogs mouth because the lower lip will be prominent of the upper lip in most cases. However, it always best to check the dogs mouth properly.

Conversely, an ‘overshot’ jaw is when the upper incisors are prominently in front of the lower incisors.

In a ‘level jaw’ both the upper incisors and the lower incisors sit level (upper incisors lain directly on top of the lower incisors) in the mouth when it is closed.

 

Above is a diagram showing the different levels of ‘bite’ in a dog.

The last diagram (fig. 10) shows a ‘level bite’

 

Puppies born with an incorrect bite are highly unlikey to gain a correct bite as they mature and will probably have the abnormality all of their life. Although, this tends not to affect the quality of life of the dog – it will be unsuitable for showing or breeding and the puppy should be rehomed as a ‘pet only’

However, puppies born with a ‘correct bite’ will usually have a correct bite as an adult. Sometimes, around the age of 5 – 7 months a Chihuahuas bite may become slighty undershot, overshot or level. But providing the puppy had a correct bite when it was born it should correct itself over the following few months as it matures (although it’s not guaranteed to).

 

Leash walking your Chihuahua

Leash walking your Chihuahua.

Fit your puppy with a collar or training harness and let him get used to it.  Initially, he may scratch  at the collar to try and get it off.  Even though he may seem annoyed, don’t take it off.

Distract him.  Give him a chew toy to keep occupied and distracted from thinking about the collar.

Attach a soft leash to the ring on your dog’s collar or harness and let him walk around the house for a short time with the leash dragging behind him.

Give him a treat when you put the leash on, so he learns to associate it with something positive.

It is also a good idea to encourage him to walk alongside you.  Call gun, coax him and make it fun, but don’t pick up the leash just yet.

The next step to leash training is teaching your puppy that the leash has two ends – and you’re attached to the other end!    Your job is to hold the leash, not keep it as tight as you can.  Remember this point from the start and avoid tugging and pulling on your puppy.

When your puppy is used to the leash, take him outside into the garden for a training session.  Let him walk alongside you (try for the left).  When he walks with a slack lead, praise him and offer a treat.  If he tugs or pulls at the lead, stop immediately.  Call him back to your left leg and start again.  He’ll soon learn that if he tugs, you st0p walking and he gets now where .

Keep the first session short but fun.  Continue until your puppy learns to walk properly.  Make the sessions slightly longer as he gets older and better at it.  Use your voice and body language to show your delight at his progress.

 

 

History of the Chihuahua

History of the Chihuahua

Did you ever wonder where the smallest dogs in the world came from? The history of the Chihuahua dates back to ancient Mexico. They were believed to be sacred and they have never forgotten this.

Much of the Chihuahua’s history is speculation and theory, although everyone agrees on some matters. The Chihuahua is named for the Mexican State that borders Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is believed that the breed descended from the Techichi, a small canine that dates back to Mayan times (around the 5th century AD).

THe Chihuahua's HeritageThe Toltecs (the people that conquered the Mayans) are believed to be the first to domesticate the Techichi and brought the canine into the home as pets and also used them for religious purposes. After the Aztecs became the ruling class of Mexico, they also used the dog as a companion and in religious ceremonies. This has been learned due to the writings in Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec writings in tombs, temples, and pyramids. Also, remains of the small dogs were found in graves in both Mexico and the United States so this could back up the religious theory.

The dogs were found in the state of Chihuahua in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes, and are thought to be the ruins of the palace built by Emperor Montezuma I. The relics and remains of the Techichi indicate that the breed was longhaired and mute, very different from the modern Chihuahua. The Aztec wealthy and clergy thought the Techichi to be sacred while the lower class had little use for the dogs and sometimes used them as food.

When the explorers arrived in the New World it is believed the Techichi breed with a dog that was brought over and the result is the Chihuahua that we have today. The tiny modern day Chihuahua has gone through many changes and become very popular since their discovery. The American Kennel Club first registered the Chihuahua as a breed in 1904. Color variations are limited only by the imagination. The smooth coated variety is still the most publicly recognized, but the long-coat variety has increased in numbers and popularity. Chihuahuas are a long lived breed, often achieving 16 or more years of age.

Blood Sugar

Blood Sugar

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.

Bronties Chihuahua

 

 

 

Bronties Chihuahua’s

 

Bronties Chihuahua’s

We are are a family who have fallen for the Chihuahua breed!  Our Chis are spoiled rotten with their own sunroom & large outside play yard but they also have free run of the house during the day!

We are a family dedicated to breeding and showing Chihuahuas.  Forever learning and always striving to produce genetically sound Chihuahuas true to the KUSA breed standard and type.

Health is very important to us.

Our goal is to breed a limited number of outstanding examples of this breed for the show ring, but I also occasionally have pets available on a contract.       

Because we breed on  a small scale, we are able to provide our puppies with extensive socialization and early training. We are  also able to  be very selective about the homes we place them in.

We hope that you enjoy browsing our website

 

Patellar Luxation – Kneecap

Patellar Luxation – Kneecap

Patellar Luxation kneecap  is a common congenital (animals are born with this disease) health condition in small dog breeds such as miniature and toy poodle, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Pekingese and other breeds of dogs and cats. Patellar Luxation affects both knees in 50% of all diagnosed cases.

The patellar or kneecap is a small bone buried in the tendon of the muscles of the thigh. The tendon is a band of tough, inelastic tissue that connects a muscle with its bony attachement. With this condition, the kneecap may slip out of the tendon and then slip back. Patellar luxation is graded 1 to 4 based on the severity of the defect, 1 being occasional mild lameness. As the disease progresses in duration and severity, this lameness becomes more frequent and eventually becomes continuous. In young puppies with severe patellar luxation, the rear legs often present a “bow-legged” appearance that worsens with growth.

Surgical correction of patellar luxation grades 1, 2, or 3 results generally in a successful clinical outcome, whereas surgical correction of grade 4 patellar luxations may not be as effective in young dogs.

When the luxation is left alone, it causes deformity and disorder in the growth of the affected limb. In severe cases, the limb may cease to function or cause other degenerative joint diseases (DJD) such as osteoarthritis. Early surgical correction is therefore essential, but the owners are not able to detect the disorder at an early age and surgical intervention in most cases will take place after 6 months of age.

It is still unclear what exactly causes this orthopedic problem. Possible causes include: hip dysplasia, deviation of muscles and bones to which patellar attaches, etc.

Hypoglycemia symptoms and treatment

Hypoglycemia symptoms and treatment

Hypoglycemia is a sudden fall in the concentration of glucose in the blood below normal levels. The body uses glucose as its primary energy source. The brain, for example, is completely dependent upon glucose to function. The liver is responsible for manufacturing glucose and for storing it in a usable form, for release into the blood stream as needed. Muscle tissues store some of the important materials used in this process

Hypoglycemia Must Be Treated

Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia, which is brought on by fasting, is common in Toy dog breeds, such as Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle, Pomeranian and other Toy dog breeds, and usually seen in puppies 5 to 16 weeks of age. Stress, low body temperature, poor nutrition, sudden change in feed, water and schedule patterns, infections, and premature birth may precipitate the onset of hypoglycemia. Some puppies, bred exclusively for tiny size (“teacup Yorkies”, “teacup Chihuahua”), are even more predisposed to Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia since insufficient muscle mass may make it difficult for the body to store the glucose and keep its blood sugar properly regulated.

Most common clinical signs of hypoglycemia are drowsiness, shivering, collapsing, disorientation, seizures, listlessness, depression, muscle weakness and tremors. Lee Weston, author of the article about Hypoglycemia (Pomeranian Club of Canada) says that “the entire sequence of clinical signs is not always seen, so close observation of your pet and knowing when your dog is going into a distressed state can mean the difference between life and death of your dog. Immediate treatment by a veterinarian is imperative, as recurrence of, or prolonged attacks, can cause permanent damage to the brain.”

It has been proven experimentally that eight hours fasting in a Yorkshire terrier puppy can result in marked variation of blood glucose, showing both hypo- and hyperglycaemia.

Frequent feeding of a high-energy, protein-rich diet to both mother and puppies may prevent toy-breed puppies from developing hypoglycemia and may help them to overcome periods with a decreased intake of energy.

Puppies and dogs can develop severe hypoglycemia after consuming sugar-free gum sweetened with the sugar-alcohol xylitol. In humans, xylitol has little to no effect on plasma insulin or glucose levels, but in dogs xylitol is a strong promoter of insulin release and can cause severe hypoglycemia with collapse and seizures. With the increased appearance of xylitol-sweetened products in the US, xylitol toxicosis in dogs may become more common. Sometimes, a dog will outgrow this condition.

Hypoglycemia in Adult Dogs and Cats

1. A common cause of hypoglycemia in dogs is a functional islet cell tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma). While a wide variety of breeds may be affected, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Standard Poodles, Collies, Boxers, Fox Terriers, and most Toy breeds may have a higher incidence than other breeds. Insulinomas occur less frequently in cats.

2. Hypoglycemia can result from excessive insulin administration to animals with diabetes mellitus, and cats may be at greater risk of insulin overdose than dogs, especially if the cats are obese and receiving insulin doses > 6 U/injection, administered once or twice daily.

3. Hypoglycemia in highly nervous hunting dogs is also well recognized. Attacks are characterized by apparent disorientation, weakness and generalized seizures. Recovery is rapid; however the affected animal’s hunting ability is compromised. Frequent feedings with protein-rich foods and/or candy bars may prevent the attacks. The cause has not been determined.

In adult dogs, hypoglycemia may also occur with severe Addison’s Disease (failure of the adrenal gland to produce the necessary hormones), liver disease (e.g., impaired glucose production and glycogen storage), sepsis, and as a complication of pregnancy accompanied by ketonuria (the presence of ketones in the urine, a dangerous feature of severe and uncontrolled diabetes).

Chihuahua Health

Chihuahua Health

“Reverse Sneeze”…

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.

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.

Hypoglycemia…

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.

Historically, the Chihuahua as developed in Mexico and the United States has displayed a “soft spot” on the top of the head. In the Chihuahua, this spot, or fontanel, is know as a MOLERA, and is the same as that found in human babies. In the past, this molera was accepted as a mark of purity in the breed, and it is still mentioned in most Chihuahua breed standards the world over.

It is important to note that while many Chihuahua puppies are born without the molera, there are probably just as many born with one, and its presence is nothing to become alarmed over. The molera in a Chihuahua will occur on the top of the head and may vary in shape and size when present.

Unfortunately, many lay people (and some Veterinarians not familiar with the Chihuahua) have tried to link the mere presence of a molera with the condition known as hydrocephalus. This has caused many new comers to the breed serious concern and undo worry. The truth is that a domed head with a molera present does not predispose the Chihuahua to this condition.

Along with the observations of devoted breeders over the years, there is adequate medical evidence to support this statement:

* In “Diseases of the Brain”(1989), Green & Braund stated that many clinically normal toy breeds may have open fontanelles without associated hydrocephalus.

* Drs. Walters and Rivers, Veterinarians at the University of Minnesota, concluded that there did not appear to be any relationship between the presence or size of a fontanelle and the condition of hydrocephalus.

* Dr. Alexander de Lahunta of Cornell University in New York, one of the top neurologist in this country, stated that it would be wrong to conclude that any opening is abnormal.

While it would be impossible to list all the medical documentation in this paper, these few included here are perfectly clear: the presence of a molera does not mean the dog has a medical problem.

The Chihuahua is a little dog! They belong in the house, at their owner’s side, returning all the love they deserve to receive. With or without a molera, the healthy Chihuahua that is loved and given proper Veterinary care will live well into its teens as an irresistible member of the family.

Hydrocephalus

The presence of a molera in a chihuahua DOES NOT make the dog any more or less susceptible to brain injury, seizures or hydrocephalus.

The molera should not usually be any larger than the size of your thumb print, and there should be no swelling, bulging or throbbing. Check carefully on the sides of the head for normal bone there as well; make sure there is no more then one molera, on the top of the head only, as more than a single molera is not normal.

Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and is not normal for any breed, nor is it curable. Hydrocephalus is also known as “water on the brain” or “hydro”. When fluid accumulates in the brain, it compresses the brain against the skull. A puppy can be born with this disorder, or it can be caused by a brain infection or head injury later in life. Chihuahuas born with “hydro” do not generally live more than a few months, and they do not grow normally, often staying extremely tiny.

Signs of hydro include wide-set or protruding eyeballs (often with a lot of “white” showing at the corners), blindness, abnormal behavior, walking in circles, slowness (mental and physical), seizures, abnormally slow growth and lack of coordination.

Concerns about chihuahua moleras and/or hydro should be addressed to a licensed veterinarian. Be aware, however, that many veterinarians not familiar with chihuahuas have WRONGLY told owners that thier puppy is unhealthy and/or hydrocephalic just because of the presence of a normal molera. Diagnosis is based on the signs in conjunction with techniques to image the brain. In dogs with a molera, ultrasound can be performed by scanning through the molera to detect the excessive accumulation of fluid within the brain.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hydrocephalus. Mild cases can be treated with steroids and diuretics to reduce pressure, or with a surgically inserted shunt to divert fluid from the brain to the abdomen

Old Age and the senior Chihuahua

Old Age and the senior Chihuahua

Do not allow your dog to jump off furniture or out of a car. Elderly/senior chihuahuas are susceptible to bone fractures, so pick him up and place him gently on the ground.

Keep your chihuahua warm, if you live in a cold environment. Limit his time outdoors, and purchase a dog sweater for outdoor use. You can also purchase a heating pad designed for dog beds at your local pet supply store. Given their small size, chihuahuas are sensitive to the cold, and elderly chihuahuas may have trouble generating enough body heat to keep warm.

Keep your dog in a calm, stress-free environment. Do not allow small children or other pets to annoy him, and do not make any sudden changes to his environment. Make sure he has plenty of time during the day to sleep in a quiet place.

Feed your chihuahua a high-quality senior dog food on a regular schedule. Many dog-food manufacturers make special formulas for elderly dogs, which can help keep your chihuahua’s weight under control. Avoid making abrupt changes to his diet, which can cause stomach discomfort.

Be patient with your pet if he cannot do some of his normal activities. He may sleep more than usual and may not be willing to play as often. This is a normal part of the aging process.

Look for signs that he may be in pain, such as a loss of appetite, incontinence, irritability or changes in his daily habits. Elderly dogs should be regularly monitored for any changes in behavior or habits. If you notice any troubling signs, talk to your veterinarian.

Bronties Chihuahua Puppies

Bronties Chihuahua puppies

Before you bring your chihuahua puppy home, you should have the following: An exercise pen or crate to confine your puppy, newspapers, potty pads or a litterbox, a collar and leash, food and water bowls, premium food, plenty of safe items to chew on and toys to play with, bedding, Nutri-cal, a good book on chihuahua care and training, the contact information of a good vet and a puppy proofed home (no exposed electrical cords, cleaning supplies, plants, etc.)

Housetraining

Small Chihuahua puppies eliminate frequently and with little or no warning. They are like babies and can’t hold it! Constant supervision is key. Never let a puppy have free run of your home if you are not supervising every move, every minute.

The more accidents your puppy makes when you are not watching, the more ingrained this bad habit becomes, and the harder it will be to housetrain your puppy. Prevention, supervision, and rewarding the desired behavior are the way to train your puppy.

A puppy will need to eliminate after each meal, after play periods, and after waking from a nap. Small puppies may need to urinate as often as every 15 minutes! Sniffing the ground and circling can be signs that it is time to take your puppy outside, or to his litterbox, newspaper or potty pad- whichever method you have decided on. If you catch the puppy starting to squat, bring him to the correct place, and reward and praise after he has eliminated in the correct spot! Never punish a puppy for an accident you find after the fact- he will not remember doing it, and will not understand why you are angry. Besides, the accident will be your fault for not having supervised him well enough.

When you cannot watch your puppy, you can keep him in an exercise pen with a bed and food at one end and a potty pad, newspaper or litterbox at the other end. The puppy will naturally not want to soil his sleeping/ eating area and will walk away towards the appropriate spot to eliminate. It may to helpful to place a small piece of soiled newspaper or potty pad, or a handful of soiled litter in the spot where you want your puppy to eliminate. Puppies naturally want to eliminate where they can smell urine.

Often, puppies will cry and whine when first introduced to their pen (or crate). Going back to comfort the whining puppy, or lifting him out every time he cries is rewarding bad behavior- this tells the puppy that “when I cry, mommy or daddy rescues me”. If you would like a puppy that is quiet and well behaved in his crate or pen, this behavior must be ignored. From day one, praise and attention should be given when the puppy is calm and quiet- reward the good behavior and ignore the bad!

Feeding

Chihuahuas have higher metabolisms than most breeds and only premium dog foods should be fed. The higher expense should not be an issue, as chihuahuas eat very little. When a quality dog food is fed, no additional supplementation is recommended.

Young puppies should have dry food available at all times to prevent hypoglycemia. Older adult dogs may be fed twice daily. Be careful not to overfeed your chihuahua, as obesity can create health issues and shorten your pet’s lifespan.

Also be careful not to create a fussy eater. For adults, offering the same food twice a day for 15-30 minutes on a consistent schedule can prevent fussy eating habits. Leaving food out at all times and/or constantly feeding treats and table scraps can lead to a dog that refuses to eat dog food, which can create serious dietary imbalances and health issues.

Homecooked diets are not recommended unless they are formulated by a nutritionist and followed to the letter. Be aware that not all recipes on the internet and/or in dog cook books are balanced or healthy for your dog.

Always provide water in a container that is heavy and can’t be tipped, but not large enough for puppy to fall into.

Milk or table scraps can cause diarrhea in a puppy. Small bits of lean meat may be used for training purposes, but should make up no more than 10% of any dog’s diet.

Certain foods are toxic to your chihuahua and should not be fed. These include: chocolate, onions, xylitol (found in candy and other sugar-free sweets), raisins, grapes, raw bread dough, large quantities of garlic, raw potato, mushrooms, coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, apple seeds, pear/peach/plum/apricot cores, avocado, tomato leaves and stems, large amounts of broccoli, cooked chicken bones, cooked meat fat trimmings/drippings (can lead to pancreatitis) and large amounts of beef liver (can lead to excesses of vitamin A and certain minerals. Safe in small amounts)

Bronties Chihuahua puppies

Bronties Chihuahua’s