Digestive system health issues in Chihuahuas
Digestive problems in dogs account for about 60% of annual veterinary interventions. There is a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases that might occur with infective and non-infective etiology.
Your Chihuahuas’ digestive system starts with the oral cavity (mouth) where the food instantly starts to digest by the enzymes in the dog’s saliva. There are few noted diseases occurring in Chihuahuas regarding the oral cavity. Craniomandibular osteopathy is a very painful condition characterized by stiffening of the jaws making the dog abstain from taking his food. The treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medications. Dental disorders such as rotten or broken teeth, gums inflammation and formation of abscesses are very common and proper dental hygiene can prevent the occurrence of such. Depending on the root of the problem treatment consists of tooth extraction, antibiotics, oral antiseptic wash etc. Both conditions require physical examination performed by a vet and cranial x-ray images additionally to form a diagnosis.
The food from the mouth passes down to the stomach through the esophagus. A condition known as megaesophagus can be sporadically noticed in Chihuahuas. With this condition, the esophagus loses its usual muscular tone, becomes enlarged and accumulates food and water instead of passing it down to the stomach. The symptoms include weight-loss, regurgitation of food and drooling. The disease isn’t curable and can be managed with adaptation to specific feeding habits.
Once in the stomach and afterward in the guts the food is continuously digested, the nutrients absorbed and the surpluses excreted through the rectum. Most inflammations in the stomach and intestines happen because of infective agents that provoke digestive disturbances. Chihuahua puppies are at high risk of being infected with Canine Parvovirus, a potentially fatal disease manifested with bloody diarrhea, vomiting and extreme dehydration. Following proper vaccination protocols can prevent the onset of parvovirus symptoms. Bacterial and fungal infections are far less common and generally enter the organism through contaminated and spoiled food. The symptoms include usual diarrhea/vomiting/dehydration syndrome. Even though they can be easily treated, some types of infections can be extremely dangerous. Frequent practice of deworming the dog prevents the development of diseases associated with intestinal parasites. However, in cases of persistent diarrhea and vomiting veterinarians perform fecal sampling to exclude parasitic infestations. In all cases of infective gastrointestinal problems, the therapy consists of supportive symptomatic treatment and causative therapy against the infective agent (except when it’s a virus).
Besides infective inflammation of the stomach and the guts, your Chihuahuas’ digestive system can also be affected by physical and chemical irritation, allergies, food intolerance etc. This goes for food and liquids that are too hot/too cold, detergents and other chemicals, alkaline and sour solutions and food allergens.
The Pancreas is one of the most important organs producing a vast variety of food digesting enzymes. Chihuahuas often develop pancreatic inflammation and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency which can be really dangerous on long-term. The main clinical signs are anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight-loss, hiccups, and vomiting. The therapy will depend on the exact cause of the symptoms and it’s always best to get your dog checked by a vet in case you notice such symptoms.