Molera in Dogs
Molera is a condition that is primarily found in Chihuahuas, their mixes, and other brachycephalic (shortened head) breeds. The condition is characterized by a noticeable soft spot or “hole” at the top of the dog’s head, which is similar to the fontanelle of a human baby. Molera is more common in chihuahua species of the dome-headed variety as compared to those with elongated snouts.
While all breeds of puppies are born with some form of molera, their skulls usually fuse and harden upon adulthood. However, for the chihuahua species, molera is often a lifelong condition, which may cause alarm for owners.
Although the condition may make it seem like the brain is unprotected, there is a thin layer of tissue that separates it from the skull.
Earlier breeding practices in Mexico and the US once bred chihuahuas with molera as a sign of purity but the prominent feature is no longer a criterion in the process. Molera is also relative to the size of the dog, with more obvious spots exhibited by smaller dogs. Average chihuahua sizes have seen a rise in recent years, resulting in the reduction of molera symptoms.
Prognosis and Treatment
The condition was once linked with hydrocephalus – a life-threatening condition where there is fluid build-up in the skull. However, medical experts have disproved the correlation. Molera spots occur in different shapes and sizes, which may cause dogs to be vulnerable to brain injury. As such, it is important to handle your pet with care by preventing falls and avoiding frisky playmates such as young children and more physical dog breeds.
Chihuahuas affected by molera can live long and healthy lives with the right precautions.
Owners who remain concerned over the possibility of a hydrocephalus diagnosis may seek a professional opinion. Vets usually diagnose the condition through a physical examination and an X-ray, which reveals the affected areas in the skull. In some cases, where there are additional signs pointing toward hydrocephalus, vets may recommend ultrasound scans to better visualize key brain components such as the ventricles.
Varies according to the level of diagnostics requested by owners. No surgical treatment is required in most cases as molera is not a life-threatening condition.
Although molera is not a dangerous condition, chihuahuas are more susceptible to a wide range of illnesses compared to other small purebred dogs. As such, the average monthly cost of insuring a chihuahua is around $50/month, slightly above the standard average of $46/month.