Every French Bulldog Owner Should know... Every breed has genetic weaknesses
that dispose them to certain diseases, and their temperaments (and yes
looks) are often why we choose one breed over another. It makes good sense
to know the breed you may be thinking of buying or rescuing, and to better
understand what you can do to prevent problems for your own dog if you
already have a certain breed.
There are several congenital diseases and conditions that French Bulldogs
are prone to, although they are still considered the healthiest of the
Bull Breeds. Please scroll down to see certain diseases and information.
Frenchies can suffer from Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD), a bleeding
syndrome similar to to Haemophilia in humans which can impede their clotting.
In conjunction to this, French Bulldogs may also suffer from thyroid condition.
Many breeders follow a program of testing younger dogs for VWD, and only
testing for thyroid at that time if the VWD factor is low. In this program,
the breeder tests thyroid again just prior to using the dog for breeding.
Other breeders test both VWD and Thyroid at the same time.
As a result of the rather cramped conditions that a Frenchie's flat
face creates, one of the most common defects in French Bulldogs is elongated
soft palate or cleft palate. Puppies affected with Cleft palate are generally
put down at birth, as it is generally considered to be an almost impossible
condition to correct. Elongated soft palate can manifest as anything from
a mild condition causing laboured breathing to severe condition that can
cause the affected dog to pass out from moderate exercise. One of the most
disgusting possibilities in a dog affected with elongated palate is passive
regurgitation, in which the affected dog vomits up food or phlegm after
eating or exercise. It is generally advisable to ask breeders if either
parent has elongated soft palate, or has ever been operated on for the
Another result of the compacted air way of the French Bulldog is their
inability to effectively regulate temperature. While a regular canine may
suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may be lethal. It
is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times,
and that they always have access to fresh water and shade.
French Bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back and spinal
diseases, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were
selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the Bulldog Breed. Some breeders
feel that only dogs that have been X-rayed and checked for spinal anomalies
should be bred from, but this is a difficult position to take sides on.
While it is true that no dog affected with a spinal disease should be bred
from , there is a great deal of variance in the appearance of a French
Bulldog's spine as compared to, for example, a Labrador Retriever. If possible,
such decisions should be left to either a Vet or breeder who has seen quite
a few Bulldog Breed Spinal Xrays, to avoid eliminating dogs unnecessarily.
No matter who you buy your French Bulldog from, make sure to ask what
disorders they are testing for, and beware of any breeder who cavalierly
states that "They don't have any of those problems in *their* lines." Reputable
breeders are struggling to produce dogs that are as healthy as possible,
and while these tests are expensive for the breeder to do, they can help
to save the puppy purchaser hundreds or even thousands of dollars in potential
vet bills. Needless to say, any one who would consider the purchase of
a French Bulldog from a pet store would be further ahead to just sign their
life savings over to their vet. In spite of all this, French Bulldogs are
still considered to be the healthiest of the Bull Breeds.
• Major concerns: stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, intervertebral
disc degeneration, hemivertebrae
• Minor concerns: CHD, patellar luxation, entropion, cherry eye
• Occasionally seen: distichiasis, cataract, deafness
Since Frenchies have small throat openings you must be careful when
giving pills that are not chewable. When giving
oral medications such as pills, place pill in some cream cheese... They
will gladly swallow the pill this way. You can try sliced meats/cheese also, but cream cheese works better.
Bulldogs require special precautions when going under Anesthesia. Make sure your Vet is experienced with flat faced breeds. Young Frenchies are more prone to have adverse reactions to anesthesia so puppies should only go under anesthesia for emergency procedures.
Here for Frenchie Anesthesia
Keep Your French Bulldog Cool in the Summer...
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body
temperature exceeds 107 degrees for more than a few minutes. Dogs, especially
Frenchies are easily overheated in hot weather because their only significant
way of releasing excess body heat is through panting. Dogs at increased
risk are thick-coated dogs, naturally anxious or "high-strung" dogs, short-nosed
dogs, or "noisy panters." These dogs may overheat on a hot day even while
resting in the shade. Insufficient water to drink may also predispose a
dog to overheating. Dogs left in a car even on relatively cool days may
rapidly overheat because of the heat that gets trapped inside the car.
Initial signs of heat stroke are deep, rapid breathing and sluggish
mental status, followed by loss of consciousness and possibly seizures
(convulsions). Complications arising from heat stroke, even following treatment,
include kidney and brain damage and widespread clotting of the blood inside
the blood vessels (a deadly condition called D.I.C.). The first step to
take if you suspect overheating or heat stroke is to lower the body temperature.
The goal is to lower it rapidly until it is less than 107 degrees, then
slowly after that. Do not actually immerse the dog in water. Saturate the
fur with alcohol and cool water and apply cool compresses to the head and
groin area. If the dog is conscious, give him cool water to drink--small
amounts every few minutes. Go to a veterinary emergency facility as soon
as possible, since survival is some cases of heat stroke depends upon early
initiation of intravenous fluid therapy.
Here for Hot Tips
& Simple Measures For Keeping Your Frenchie Cool This Summer
When the tear gland of the third eyelid pops out of position, it protrudes
from behind the eyelid as a reddish mass. This prolapsed tear gland condition
is commonly referred to as "cherry eye". The problem is seen primarily
in young dogs, including the Cocker Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Shih-Tzu, Poodle,
Beagle, and Bulldog. It's also seen sometimes in certain cat breeds including
This can be due to a weakness in muscles or pressure exerted by inflammation
The first thing to do is reduce (roll back) the protrusion to its correct
position, immediately it occurs. Often this alone will be sufficient. Using
a clean handkerchief, place over the protrusion. Place thumb on lower,
inner edge of eyelid and roll thumb inward with minor pressure, popping
the third eyelid back into its original, correct position. Veterinary assistance
with an anti inflammatory eye drop could be beneficial in maintaining the
integrity of the third eyelid, while swelling reduces and healing takes
Worst case scenario is when the third eyelid is not retained and therefore
surgery is necessary. A number of effective procedures are available, with
no further problems occurring during the dogs lifetime, hence the condition
is more annoying at the time, rather than being a serious long term condition.
To correct cherry eye, surgical REPLACEMENT of the gland is necessary.
This treatment is superior to a somewhat older technique of surgically
REMOVING the gland. The gland of the third eyelid plays an important role
in maintaining normal tear production. We now know that dogs who have had
the tear gland removed are predisposed to developing Dry Eye Syndrome later
in life. Dry Eye Syndrome is uncomfortable for the patient, and requires
the owner to administer topical medications several times a day for the
remainder of the patient's life. To avoid this condition, it is preferable
to tuck the tear gland back inside the third eyelid, where it can continue
to function normally.
The procedures use to correct cherry eye by ophthalmologists vary depending
on surgeon preference but a common procedure is called a "pocket technique".
Although the gland cannot be put back into its original position in the
third eyelid, a new pocket is made near the original position. The tear
gland is tucked inside the pocket and the pocket is sutured closed.
Here to read more
about Cherry Eye and see BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES. This is a Neo Mastiff
site, but very informative.
Most people are not familiar with the term "Brachycephalic," but if
you own a pug, Boston terrier, Pekingese, boxer, bulldog, shih tzu or any
one of the other breeds with "pushed in" faces, you should become familiar
with this word. The word comes from Greek roots "Brachy," meaning short
and "cephalic," meaning head.Brachycephalic dogs have been bred so as to
possess a normal lower jaw, that is, one in proportion to their body size,
and a compressed upper jaw. In producing this cosmetic appearance, we have
compromised these animals in many important ways and you, as an owner,
must be familiar with the special needs of your pet.
THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM - Brachycephalic breeds are characterized by
"brachycephalic respiratory syndrome," which affects the different areas
of the respiratory tract. Fortunately, most dogs do not suffer from all
aspects of the syndrome but you should be aware of which your particular
pet may have.
STENOTIC NARES - This is a fancy name for narrowed nostrils. The brachycephalic
dogs begins by having very small nasal openings for breathing. If this
is severe, surgical correction is possible.
TRACHEAL STENOSIS - The brachycephalic's windpipe may be dangerously
narrowed in places. This condition creates tremendous anesthetic risk and
should be ruled out by chest radiographs prior to any surgical procedures.
HEAT STRESS - Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the
brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional
face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting.
Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood
circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back
to the rest of the body. In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work
is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed
and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further
read about this syndrome, it is VERY useful information.
|ELONGATED SOFT PALATE
A problem that is frequently seen in French Bulldogs is called, elongated
soft palate. The soft palate is a flap of mucousal tissue which closes
off the animal's airway (nasopharynx) during swallowing to prevent foods
and liquids from going into their lungs. It is difficult to fit the soft
tissues of the canine mouth and throat into the brachycephalic's short
face. As a result, the soft palate which separates nasal passage from oral
cavity flaps loosely down into the throat creating snorting sounds. Virtually
all brachycephalics suffer from this but, except in bulldogs, actual respiratory
distress is rare. Excess barking or panting may lead to swelling in the
throat which can, inturn, lead to trouble
figure to the left, you can see the soft palate just above the Esophagus.
In animals with a normal soft palate, it touches or slightly overlaps the
In dogs with an elongated soft palate, the palate overlaps the epiglottis
to a considerable degree, partially obstructing the animal's airway during
breathing. This is manifested by snorting, snoring, strider, gurgling and
gagging. The obstruction is worse with exercise.
In time, stretched ligaments in the larynx leads to labored breathing
and laryngeal collapse. Laryngeal collapse is a late stage in airway obstruction.
Pressure changes caused by the elongated soft palate bring about the stretching
of the ligaments that support the laryngeal cartilages. These cartilages
gradually collapse inward and block the airway. (See the drawing below).
In the diagram you can see that more air moves freely in and out of
the lungs in the normal dog's airway, but the dog with the collapsed airway
has less air flowing through it. At this stage any changes in the dog's
need for air can cause acute respiratory insufficiency and cardiac arrest.
TREATMENT: An elongated soft palate is treated by surgically shortening
the palate so that the edge opposes or slightly overlaps the epiglottis.
Results are good and can extend the life of your French Bulldog by years
if the operation is done before destructive changes occur in the larynx.
It is for that reason that you have your French Bulldog checked by a veterinarian
who is familiar with French Bulldogs and is skilled in identifying this
& INTERVERTEBRAL DISC DISEASE
by Jan Grebe
Premature degeneration of the intervertebral discs, like hemivertebrae,
is an all-too-common problem in French Bulldogs. In Sweden, research indicates
that Frenchies are second only to Dachshunds in the incidence of disc disease,
proportionate to the breeds' population sizes. No data are available for
the frequency of the condition in the United States Frenchie population;
but it seems to be high here as well.
Researchers believe that the breeds most commonly affected are the "chondrodystrophic"
ones in which an abnormal development of the bones results in various skeletal
disproportions, such as short legs and noses. In these breeds, chondrodystrophy
predisposes the discs to being prematurely converted to an abnormal type
of tissue, whose consistency is unsuitable for the discs' function. Then,
in the parts of the back most subject to mechanical stress, these degenerated
discs are liable to rupture or protrude.
Here to read more
and see pictures on HEMIVERTEBRAE
Here to read more and see pictures on INTERVERTEBRAL
The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar
luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial
or lateral position.
Bilateral involvement is most common, but unilateral is not uncommon.
Animals can be affected by the time they are 8 weeks of age. The most notable
finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible,
and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial
retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot
can be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.
read more about Patellar Luxation
Click Logos to visit links...
Foundation For Animals
Eye Registration Foundation
State University BAER
We do not claim to be veterinarians & by listing any information on
this page we are not giving medical advice. We do not claim that the information
herein will guarantee that this correct with anyone else's French Bulldog.
Please do not use these links to attempt to diagnose or treat your pet.
A licensed veterinarian is the best source of health advice for an individual
pet. Remember that different veterinarians often disagree about the best
treatments for pets. There are often several perfectly acceptable ways
to treat the same condition. Just find the right Vet and ask a lot of questions!!!!
We place these articles here for the public to read, as information, not
FACTS. We found this information online, through web sites and other sources
of information and list it here to inform others what we have read and
what we think is important regarding French Bulldog Health concerns. If
we state certain methods we have used or use on or have experienced with
our own dogs, we do not wish to infringe these methods on anyone else,
it is solely our opinion and nothing else. By reading, and/or using the
material contained herein, reader or user of this information fully
understands the above and again agrees to utilize this information AT HIS
OR HER OWN RISK TO HIS OR HER OWN PET.
do not claim to be experts & by listing any information on this page
or any page on our site we are not giving expert advice. We have owned
Bullies for decades and French Bulldogs for years now, but feel no matter
how many years you have in anything, you can never know enough and there
is always something new to learn. We do not claim that the information
on this website will guarantee that it is correct with anyone else's French
Bulldog experience. Please do not use any links or pages on our website
to make your decision. If any images here are copyright and they belong
to you and you would like acknowledgment or removal please email us, they
were sent to us to use on this page years ago
YOU MARI FOR THIS ARTICLE
that different breeders and owners have different opinions and often disagree.
Frenchies vary in personalities and there can always be an exception to
what is normal for the breed, therefore you must understand this BEFORE
purchasing one. We place these articles on our website for the public to
read, as information, not FACTS. We found this information online, through
web sites, our own experience, friends experiences, things we have been
told from other Frenchie owners, etc. If we state certain methods
we have used or use or have experienced with our own Frenchies, we do not
wish to infringe these methods or opinions on anyone else, it is solely
our opinion and nothing else. This is America, we do have Freedom of
Speech and we are all entitled to an opinion. By reading, and/or using
the material contained herein, reader or user of this information
fully understands the above and again agrees to utilize this information
at your own risk.