If you own a French Bulldog or have ever contemplated getting one, you should be aware of common French Bulldog health issues. These dogs have many lovable characteristics and make good friends, but they can also be a little “high-maintenance” in terms of medical care.
French Bulldogs, like many other purebred dogs, are genetically prone to a variety of medical issues.
Knowing what to look for will help you identify potential problems and treat them as soon as possible. Furthermore, being prepared can reduce the possibility of being taken off guard by an expensive condition.
Six common French Bulldog health issues have been explained below:
1. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Disease
The smooshed-in face that gives French Bulldogs their endearing appearance can also lead to respiratory problems. Airway problems in French Bulldogs and kindred brachycephalic (smoosh-faced) breeds include unusually narrow nostrils, an extended soft palate, an excessively narrow trachea (windpipe), and a restricted or collapsed larynx (voice box).
This combination of respiratory problems, known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, can make breathing difficult in French Bulldogs. Heat stress, strenuous exercise, or even enthusiasm can all result in a respiratory crisis in French Bulldogs, in which the dog is unable to take in enough oxygen to survive. Unfortunately, if left untreated, this can be lethal.
Some elements of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome are surgically curable. Surgery to expand the nostrils, for example, is a fairly typical treatment in these dogs, as is a surgical trimming of the extended soft palate.
However, there is no straightforward surgical treatment for other features of this illness. Heat exposure, exercise, and excitement levels in French Bulldogs and other dogs with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome must often be controlled to avert a crisis.
2. Allergies to the Skin
One of the more common French Bulldog health issues is allergic skin illness. Skin allergies in dogs are frequently caused by the same airborne allergens that cause respiratory allergies in humans, such as grass, tree pollen, and weeds. Dogs may acquire allergies to a certain protein in their food less frequently. Allergies include itching, skin redness, and hair loss.
In some situations, the skin may become irritated to the point where bacteria or yeast proliferate uncontrollably, resulting in a skin infection.
To treat skin irritation, your veterinarian can prescribe a variety of therapies, including tablets, injections, and/or medicated shampoos. Your veterinarian may also advise allergy tests to determine which allergens are causing the reaction, as well as therapies to desensitize your dog to those allergens. It is important to emphasize, however, that allergies are managed rather than cured, regardless of the therapy plan followed. A dog with an allergic skin condition will most likely require at least occasional therapy for the rest of his life.
3. Ear Infections
Ear infections, like skin disorders, are frequently caused by allergies. However, anatomy may also play a role in French Bulldogs. The ear canals of a French Bulldog, like the respiratory tract, can be exceedingly narrow. This allows debris and moisture to become trapped, resulting in an ear infection.
Ear infection for the first time is usually treated with ear cleanser and medicinal ear ointment. However, if ear infections become a recurring issue, your veterinarian will work with you to discover any underlying reasons that may be contributing to the ear infection. To reduce the incidence of ear infections, your dog may require regular ear cleanings, an allergy management program, or other therapies.
4. Spinal Malformations
When it comes to French Bulldog health difficulties, hemivertebrae, a spinal mutation, can be especially dangerous. Hemivertebrae are half-vertebrae because “Hemi” literally means “half.” A hemivertebra lacks the typical block-like vertebral form and is instead wedge-shaped. This irregular wedge form has an impact on how the hemivertebra fits against its neighboring vertebrae. In other circumstances, the misalignment places inappropriate pressure on the spinal cord, disrupting the transmission of nerve signals from the brain to the back end of the body. Affected dogs frequently experience pain and may lose control of their legs, bladder, or intestines. Some dogs have transient flare-ups that can be managed medically, whilst others require surgical treatment to relieve spinal cord compression caused by hemivertebrae.
5. Intervertebral Disk Disease
Another spinal condition that is more common in French Bulldogs than in other breeds is intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. Intervertebral discs are soft, spongy shock absorbers that are positioned between the vertebrae of the spine. These discs, formed like a jelly donut with a more rigid outer and a soft middle, allow the vertebrae to flex and bend without grinding against each other. However, in IVDD, these discs degrade and protrude from their normal position. This bulging puts direct pressure on the spinal cord, as observed in dogs with hemivertebrae. IVDD is excruciatingly painful and can result in loss of function in the legs, bladder, and intestines. Some cases can be handled with rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, but if a dog begins to lose limb function, emergency surgery may be required.
6. Corneal Ulcers
Unfortunately, the adorable, forward-facing French Bulldog’s eyes are less shielded from the surroundings than the eyes of other dog breeds. This makes the eyes of French Bulldogs more vulnerable to damage and scrapes, which can result in a corneal ulcer, one of the more serious French Bulldog health issues. Redness, squinting, and discomfort are symptoms of a corneal ulcer (which may lead to pawing at the eye). Most corneal ulcers can be treated with antibiotic drops if detected early. Surgery may be required in more severe cases, and lifelong scarring may result.
While these French Bulldog health conditions may appear daunting, they do not have to be! The key to ensuring that your French Bulldog lives a long and healthy life is to work with a reputable veterinarian. Accept that your French Bulldog may require more medical care than other breeds over the course of his life; ensure that you have the time commitment and financial means to deliver that level of care. With proper medical care, you and your French Bulldog can have a long and happy life together.