Neurological Disorders In Chihuahuas

Last Updated on January 12, 2022 by Griselda M.

What are some neurological disorders in Chihuahuas? These dogs can have a nervous disposition, so you need to check risk factors regularly!

Did you know that dogs can also suffer neurological issues? We need to take care of these issues as soon as possible to keep a good quality of life. Chihuahuas may be known for being healthy dogs that can live up to 17 years. However, a nervous system issue can drastically cut that lifespan down.

Do you have the suspicion that your Chihuahua could have a neurological issue? Read on to learn more.

What Are Neurological Disorders?

neurological issues in dogs

Neurological disorders are diseases that concern the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and the network of nerves found all over the body.

It is sometimes difficult to diagnose neurological diseases in dogs. Due to many conditions with similar symptoms, pinning down a neurological issue is dependent on specialized scans and imaging.

Many neurological disorders are fatal or have debilitating effects on the quality of life of your dog. The best way to handle such conditions is to prevent them. In addition, you can also learn what kind of disorders there are to describe symptoms to your doctor accurately.

Are Chihuahuas Prone To Neurological Disorders?

According to the Prestige Animal Hospital, Chihuahuas can be exposed to various neurological issues. These manifest through seizures, tremors, and even prolonged and excessive sleeping. 

Because Chihuahuas are susceptible to viral infections and the harmful effects of bacteria, they are at risk for neurological problems presented below. Chihuahuas have a reputation as one of the longest-living dogs. However, they are also exposed to the dangers of outside elements against the nervous system.

Typical Chihuahua health issues include low blood sugar and dental diseases. However, some common neurological problems in the tiny breed are spinal injuries and hydrocephaly.

While it may seem Chihuahuas get this kind of issue more often than other dogs, various other factors contribute to neurological damage and disorders that dogs experience. There are breed-specific tendencies observed in the history of neurological disorders in dogs.

What Are Common Neurological Disorders In Dogs?

According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, there are quite a number of neurological disorders that a dog can suffer from.

Congenital disorders of the nervous system

Some dogs are born with these disorders. They usually affect the following parts:

  • Forebrain
  • Cerebellum
  • Brain stem
  • Spinal Cord
  • Peripheral nerves
  • Muscle

These disorders are rare and breed-specific. Most issues are inherited from their parents. But other factors include the development of the puppy while still in the mother’s womb. Viral infections or nutritional issues during pregnancy can cause developmental defects in the fetus.


Dysautonomia in dogs affects the autonomic nervous system. This is the system that controls reflexes and actions with no conscious control. This is a fatal disease without treatment.

Signs of dysautonomia include drooping eyelids, misaligned eyeballs, and loss of control of the bladder and anal sphincter.

Facial paralysis

Facial paralysis is usually caused by trauma that affects the facial nerve and sometimes through inner ear infections, tumors, or hypothyroidism. This is manifested through a flat, unusual facial expression and constant drooling.

If the facial paralysis is severe, the dog would not be able to move parts like eyelids, ears, and lips. 

Parasite-caused nervous system disorders

Several parasites that tend to attach to and harm dogs can affect the central nervous system. These parasites are the following:

  • Tapeworms
  • Flukes
  • Roundworms
  • Other insects (bots, warbles)

Leg paralysis

Leg paralysis could affect one or more of the limbs. It is usually due to damage done to the peripheral spinal nerves.

Tumors that grow to affect the nerves can also cause leg paralysis.

Meningitis and encephalitis

Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membrane around the brain and the spinal cord. Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain itself. Bacterial infections or parasites cause these issues and the spread of symptoms.

While other forms of infections are common, a lowered immune system and damaged protective measures of the nervous system lend to susceptibility to such conditions.

chihuahua health issues

Motion sickness

Just like in humans, the inner ear sensory organs can become imbalanced during motion, such as in instances of traveling by car or train. They can either vomit, drool excessively, and lose their appetite during and after such episodes.

Medications and conditioned traveling can help alleviate such symptoms.


Rabies is a dangerous virus that spreads through salivary contact with an infected dog or mammal. The disease is usually spread through bites. However, it can also spread when infected saliva enters the eye or open wounds.

Signs of rabies infection include extreme aggression and paralysis.

Make sure to schedule regular rabies shots for your pets in order to keep them safe.

Tick paralysis

Ticks that often attach firmly to dogs release a toxin that affects the nervous system. Certain ticks can cause rapid paralysis in their victim. The continents of Australia, Europe, North America, and the country South Africa have tick paralysis reports and outbreaks.

It is necessary to remove the tick and keep the dog relaxed. One way to prevent tick paralysis is to get your dog (especially long-haired breeds) constantly groomed and checked for ticks.

Disorders of the peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, spinal column, and spinal cord

These parts of the nervous system can manifest through a number of different factors, including:

  • Degenerative diseases
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Nutritional disorders
  • Tumors
  • Toxic disorders
  • Injury and trauma
  • Blood vessel disorders

Consistent and regular veterinarian check-ups can help monitor changes in the nervous system. However, tests like MRIs, CT scans, and blood analysis can help determine and catch any neurological disorders in Chihuahuas before they take root.


Neurological issues in dogs are not the most common factor for canine deaths, but they can be surprisingly quick and fatal to your pets. Furthermore, it is crucial to have an attitude of prevention when dealing with our dogs’ health. This is true especially concerning matters of the sensitive and essential nervous system.

Have you dealt with a neurological disease in your pet? How did you deal with such a challenge? Share your story and tips in the comments below!

Read more about Dog Shivering After Vaccinations; Canine Vaccination Side Effects.

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