Chihuahua Bone and Muscle Diseases

Chihuahua Bone and Muscle Diseases

What do the bones and the muscles do?

The bones are the foundation of any dog and give it strength and sturdiness. Bones such as the ribs are responible for protecting vital organs. Muscles are connected to the bones with tendons. When a Chihuahua flexes its muscles, bones are put into position so that it can move its limbs. The brain is connected with the muscles via the nerves which it uses to control which muscles need to be flexed. That is why sometimes neurological problems can affect the muscoskeletal system of a dog.

Chihuahua bone muscle diseasesSymptoms

Following symptoms can indicate that your Chihuahua has a problem with either its bones and/or muscles:

  1. Limping
  2. Loss of body structure
  3. Dog cannot stand up (without pain)
  4. Loss of muscle tissue
  5. Spots of swolleness
  6. Abnormal movement


The diagnosis has to be performed by a veterinarian, this is very important as the underlying cause for the symptoms has to be determined. First of all the vet will ask you to let your dog walk around to determine where the limping is coming from. Depending on how the dog places it front or back paws, it can give the vet an ndication of what is going wrong. In a second the step the vet can gently feel the afflicted areas to determine the degree of swolleness. In a third step (to eliminate all doubt) the vet can advise to take x-ray picture. An x-ray picture is ideal to determine fractures or arthritis as they appear very clearly on the picture. If the problem is not situated in the bones than an echoscopy or an MRI can be necessary in order to locate problems within the muscles.


Depending on the issue there a number of available treatments:

  1. Often vets prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs when treating injury in the legs or back.
  2. Sometimes opiates are prescribed to relieve the dog from the pain, this however does not cure the underlying issue
  3. Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine that is effective against muscle problems
  4. When there is a neurological issue the vet will most likely prescribe antibiotics
  5. Broken bones and/or torn muscle tissue can be fixed through an operation
  6. Hydrotherapy or physiotherapy can be effective for your dog to recover lost muscle strength

Types of bone/muscle problems

Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Broken bone Depending on the severity of the injury the dog limps or is unable to stand up X-ray It’s vital to first stop the bleeding before anything else. A vet will often put the dog under complete narcosis
Broken ribs Limping in the frontal legs and pain during inhaling X-ray Operative removal of one splinters if present
Broken spinal cord Acute paraplegia of one or more legs X-ray Operative but low chance of survival
Dislocations Dog cannot but any weight on afflicted leg, that is often positioned in an abnormal manner Naked eye Depends on the severity of the dislocation; if severe, operation is in order to strengthen the afflicted area
Torn ligaments Dog wil start whining after twisting hind legs Naked eye Small dogs can go on without an operation
Hip dysplasia Oscollatory walk, the hind moves from left to right when walking X-ray and manual manipulation Operation to stabilise or replace the hip
Elbow dysplasia Swollen elbows X-ray Operation to remove bone particles from elbow
Osteochondritis One or more swollen joints and limping Echoscopy and/or MRI Afflicted tissue has to be removed through arthroscopic procedure
Diseases of Legg Perthes Stifness and pain in hind legs, the skina round the hip feels rough X-ray Painkillers and physiotherapy, unless in some more serious cases operation is needed
Patellar luxation When bending the knee the knee disc pops out Naked eye Physiotherapy in a first step and an operation to stabilise the knee if problem persists
Osteoarthritis Limping, pain and swollen joints X-ray Use of anti-inflammatory drugs, loss of weight and an adaptive diet can supress the symptoms
Spondylosis Stiff back, dog moves legs on one side at the same time instead of normal walk MRI Painkilles, acupuncture and/or physiotherapy