Do French bulldogs have lots of health problems?

Do French Bulldogs Have Health Problems?: The French Bulldog, they seem to be everywhere nowadays. Well, there is a good reason for this, and that’s how adorable this breed can be.

Being the fourth most common dog throughout the United States as well as the second most frequently registered pedigree in the United Kingdom.

Their popularity seems to have no end. But is there a cost. Scientist says there is in a recently published paper. As we breed these dogs to the demand, their genetics lose out in the end. https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-018-0057-9

French Bulldogs are renowned for their long list of genetic health troubles. When people start looking into own a French Bulldog they find out, they are not cheap in many different aspects.

Many owners who have not done there homework end up giving there Frenchie up for adoption when faced with mounting bills.

Here is a list of the most prevalent French Bulldog genetic health issues to assist you in understanding some of the challenges that might be faced with being a Frenchie owner.

Main Health Issues

Conjunctivitis Dysplasia Of The Hips or Elbows
Tracheal Collapse Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome
Stenotic Nares Deafness
Heat Stress Laryngeal Collapse
Intervertebral Disc Disease Hemivertebrae
Degenerative Myelopathy Patellar Luxation
Distichiasis Von Willebrand’s Disease
Cataracts Cleft Palate
Thyroid conditions

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the skin that encompasses the front of the eyeball. Generally referred to as pink eye, conjunctivitis is defined by symptoms including swollen eyelids, red eyes, narrowing, and discharge from the eyes.

It may be triggered by a multitude of factors, such as allergic reactions, dry eyes, or any other allergens.

Symptoms 

Narrowing of the eyelidsEyes with hard or runny discharge
Red eyesRubbing there eyes

Dysplasia Of The Hips or Elbows

Hip dysplasia is a disorder of the Hip socket and ball joints, it also can happen in the elbow joints. The skeletal structure has not formed correctly, so two parts do not align correctly.

This can cause pain and discomfort later in life as well as have the onset of hip or elbow arthritis and significantly limiting the dog’s activity.

Symptoms

  • Reduced activity
  • Trouble trying to stand
  • Pain and sensitivity around the hips or elbows
  • Unable to jump or climb
Hip dysplasia in french bulldog

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a severe, progressive trachea or “windpipe” disorder. It is often triggered by chronic respiratory diseases, Cushing’s disease, or cardiovascular disease. It may be genetically determined at birth or may develop over time.

Symptoms

The tracheal collapse is a genetic disorder, but it’s not always genetically determined at birth. It may grow at any period, but the median age it occurs in about six to seven years of age. It presents itself as a bluish tinge to the gums of the dog.
Difficulty in breathing
Has difficulty in breathing in activities or exercises
Hooping sounding cough

Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome

Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed. This includes the French Bulldog. Put simply, brachycephalic implies “short-headed” or “flat-faced” and relates to the distinct look of the Bulldog breeds facial features.

This condition is what allows you French Bulldog to make all of those snorting noise and to snore.

In severe instances, this can severely impede your Frenchie’s capacity to breathe correctly. Brachycephalic Syndrome relates to a variety of circumstances. These are listed below.

Stenotic Nares
Elongated soft palate
Overall, these circumstances usually lead to loud breathing, activity intolerance, and gagging. It’s essential to maintain your French Bulldog weight in a healthy range, as being overweight will just exuberated the situation.

Here is a study on the effects of Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome on the French Bulldog: Characterisation of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome in French Bulldogs Using Whole-Body Barometric Plethysmography

Report: brachycephalic dog health problems

Stenotic Nares

What is Stenotic Nares? Simple it means pinched or narrow nostrils. Many bulldog breeds suffer from this disease, which can lead to breathing difficulties via the nose, snorting, and snoring.

Stenotic nares come in varying degrees of impact on your dog. Some may be minor closed to server cases where the nostrils almost closed.

This disease can severely decrease the standard of living of your Frenchie, making it hard for them to practice, endure heat, and breathe.

So where do stenotic nares come from? As mention before this breed is genetically predisposed to brachycephalic which comes hand in hand with stenotic nares.

Unfortunately a puppy with closed nostrils will not grow out of it. Look at the breeder’s history of dogs and the puppies parents to see if this is a handed down trait.

Because they are hereditary and present at birth, the best way to prevent this would be to discover a puppy with two parents who do not have a severe stenotic nose.

How to treat stenotic nares. If your French Bulldog is suffering from stenotic nares, your vet would most probably recommend a straightforward surgical procedure to widen them.

Deafness

Hearing loss or deafness is becoming a very prevalent health concern in French Bulldogs. It may be heritable owing to genetic defects or may grow over time in elderly dogs.

Like so many other animals with a white coat, French Bulldogs may suffer from deafness in one or both ears.

Therefore it is essential to guarantee that any Frenchie you purchase can hear at least from one ear well. Imagine the mental anguish if you discover that your pet is deaf in both ears once you have assumed responsibility for its future and have become attached to it.

There should not be a problem at all if the dog can hear from one ear, so do not let that put you off.

There is a test for deafness called the BAER test. The experiment can be performed once the pups are 6 weeks old. Electrodes linked to a computer are capable of measuring the brain’s reaction to noise. When the puppy reaches this age, the hearing loss in those having inherited the disease will develop.

Heat Stress

Heat stress in French Bulldogs is among the most common conditions of this type of dog. Your Frenchie will usually have a difficult time breathing and controlling their core body temperature due to their flat faces.

The primary cause of heat exhaustion, as well as its progress to heatstroke, is leaving your Frenchie in a hot vehicle.

On even a moderate day (75-80 degrees F), the temperature within the vehicle can rise up to 130 degrees rather rapidly. Leaving the window ajar does not stop the build-up of heat. Leaving your Frenchie in a vehicle on a hot day is a hazard to the dog’s life.

If you live in a warmer region, it’s even more essential that you take care of the heat stress of your French Bulldog.

Symptoms

Excessive pantingStaggering
WeaknessDiarrhea
ConvulsionsFainting
Red gumsExcessive panting
Rapid heart rateExcessive drooling

Laryngeal Collapse

Laryngeal collapse happens when the stiffness and support of the laryngeal cartilage (voicebox) are lost, allowing the larynx to fold and collapse. Where this happens, there’s an obstruction that stops the ordinary movement of air into the trachea.

The debilitating impact of pushing and pulling air via their deformed upper airways weakens, fatigues, and ultimately deforms the cartilage. In rare cases, cartilage may break and collapse after trauma to the throat.

This disease generally occurs in dogs older than two years old but may occur earlier in brachycephalic races such as the French Bulldog.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing after direct trauma to the upper throat.
  • Increased effort or breathing difficulties, especially in a dog with a record of upper respiratory issues.

Treatment

Surgery to shorten the elongated soft palateSurgery to enlarge the nostrils
Excessive, obstructive tissue removal within the neckSections of collapsed cartilages will have to be removed surgically

Intervertebral Disc Disease

This disorder is when discs between the vertebrae in the spine swell or herniate into the spinal cord. These discs push the nerves, causing discomfort, nerve damage, as well as paralysis.

Serious harm to the discs in the spinal cord can be caused by hard impacts, including jumping and landing awkwardly.

Symptoms

Muscle convulsions of the back or neckDecreased appetite as well as the amount of activity
Crying out in discomfortStressed behavior
Stiffness of the neckDecreased range of motion of the hind legs
Tense abdomenLoss of ability to urinate

Treatment

If this was the first incidence and the spinal cord has minor damage, moderate treatment like cage rest, containment, and pain medication can be an available choice.

For any major damage: depending on the severity of the damage, drugs can be used. Some common drugs usually involve nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid medications.

When the damage is undeniably serious and the medication-driven therapy is inadequate, surgery might be necessary.

Hemivertebrae

Hemivertebrae in dogs is a heritable bone malformation shaping the spine of the dog’s vertebrae. Hereditary means that if the dog has the condition, much of the time, their parents either have the disorder actively or have passed the gene silently.

The condition causes a distorted wedge shape where the spine ought to be straight. It can lead to spinal cord twisting and spinal compression.

Compression of the spinal cord is a severe disorder as the spinal cord is the main component of the nervous system; it can lead to nerve impulses that are unable to convey their signals to the intended destination.

Hemivertebrae is quite common in French Bulldogs as this study shows: Heritability of hemivertebrae in the French bulldog using an animal threshold model

Symptoms

The weakening of the back legsIncontinence and in-coordination
Back PainParalysis

Treatment

The spine on the x-rays will look malformed in such a manner that it is bent, twisted to the side, or curved inward. Deformed vertebrae, such as wedges that cause the back to curve abnormally can also be seen.
Dogs with light or mild hemivertebrae can use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Dogs with moderate to severe instances, latest developments in medicine have made it possible to treat the spine by surgery, either to stabilize the spine, to decompress it, or both.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is an uncommon, progressive spinal cord illness that generally occurs in elderly dogs between 5 and 12 years of age.

It is a condition whereby the nerves along the spinal cord become inflamed, creating what is frequently defined as flare-ups. These flare-ups, which are usually not painful, are connected with the nerves that surround the spinal column of the dog.

Over time, these nerves are depleted of blood and ultimately die. When this process repeats, again and again, it creates more nerve damage; as the disease moves through the dog’s body.

Symptoms

There are three distinct stages of Degenerative Myelopathy

Early Stage

Progressive weakness of the hind limbsWorn nails
Difficulty risingStumbling
Knuckling of the toesScuffing hind feet
Wearing of the inner digits of the rear pawsLoss of muscle in the rear legs
Tremors of the rear legs

Late Stages

Persistent early stagesUrinary and fecal incontinence
Eventual front leg weaknessMental stress and anxiety
Pressure soresInability to rise
Muscle atrophyPoor hygiene
PneumoniaDepression
Infection/sepsisConstipation
Organ failure

Final Stage

Difficulty breathingProlonged seizures
Uncontrollable vomiting/diarrheaSudden collapse
Profuse bleedingCrying/whining from pain

Treatment

Medication with aminocaproic acid, vitamin supplements and exercise has been suggested, but the safety and effectiveness of these medicines have not been documented. Physiotherapy, acupuncture, or supportive braces may also be useful.

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Patellar Luxation

Luxating implies “out of location” or “dislocated.” Therefore, a luxurious patella is a kneecap which moves out of its ordinary place. It usually resumes its usual anatomical alignment after only a short period.

The dog would only feel pain as soon as the joint is dislocated; afterwards, they rarely notice any discomfort.

Symptoms

Prolonged abnormal back leg movementOccasional skipping when walking
Back leg lamenessSudden lameness

Treatment

Fortunately, patellar luxation, surgery has shown to be highly efficient even in the most severe cases. In 89% of instances, the primary function would be restored, and discomfort alleviated.

Distichiasis

Distichiasis is rather widespread for all dogs. Distichiasis is a disorder in which new hair grows out of the eyelash region. It occurs when two or more hairs grow out from the opening of the Meibomian gland. Such hairs do not need to be there.

In certain instances, such additional hairs might be lengthy and rigid and aggravate the eye, culminating in a corneal ulcer. The seriousness of the issue depends on how rigid the hair is, how long it is, where it is situated, and how many new hairs there may be.

Symptoms

Your Frenchie may try to keep there eye closed all the time or keep trying to touch it.Corneal ulcers
Eye dischargeEye pain
Eye inflammationExcessive blinking or squinting

Treatment

There are quite several treatment choices, and the decision of your vet will usually rely on how many new hairs are involved and what equipment the veterinary facility has. General anesthesia is generally required. Every now and then, a somewhat cooperative dog may allow therapy with a local anesthetic, but this would be highly uncommon.

Cryosurgery freezes the lid margin at the locations in which there are new hairs.
Surgery will thoroughly remove the hair.
Electrolysis will permanently remove the hair also.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s Disease is a rare genetic, chronic bleeding disorder which is comparable to human hemophilia. It is triggered by the impairment of the blood adhesive glycoprotein needed for normal platelet clotting.

Symptoms 

  • Nosebleeds
  • Blood in the feces (black or bright red blood)
  • Bloody urine
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Bleeding from the vagina (excessively)

Treatment

Most dogs do not require therapy only if surgery is scheduled or injuries has happened.

  • Healthy dog blood products can prevent excess blood loss in dogs with. Whether the liquid portion of the blood (plasma), the whole blood (plasma plus blood cells) or the concentration of clotting factors (cryoprecipitate) can be used.
  • If regular transfusions are needed, it is essential to match the blood of the patient with the blood of the donor.
  • If a dog is discovered to have lousy thyroid function, supplementation with thyroid is suggested.

Cataracts

Cataracts pertain to the cloudiness of the lens of the eye. Cloudiness may vary from full to partial transparency. Cataracts are a chronic condition that can lead to blindness if not handled rapidly.

In instances in which cataracts are caused by diabetes, development becomes even faster.

Symptoms 

  • Loss of vision or trouble of seeing in poorly lit regions
  • Vision impairment
  • Intolerance to light
  • The lens of the eye becomes opaque and white
French Bulldog 3 months after Cataract Surgery (Right eye)

Treatment

The only efficient therapy for cataracts in dogs is the removal of the lens by surgery. This requires substituting the eye lens with an intraocular lens, and when this surgery is undertaken, the cataract will not grow again.

The whole operation is conducted by ultrasound, with a percentage of success of between 90 and 95 per cent.

Cleft Palate

Cleft palate in French Bulldogs is a genetic condition frequently seen in brachycephalic dogs. It is defined by an unusual opening on the roof of the mouth.
Throughout fetal development, the two parts of the palate (the roof of the mouth) do not come with each other and fuse. It leads to an opening between both the nasal cavity and the mouth.

Symptoms

  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Weight loss
  • Slow growth
  • Difficulty nursing
  • Aspiration pneumonia 

Treatment

If selected, the treatment of cleft palate mainly depends on both the size and position of the deficiency. Also, the extent to which the impacted puppy is presently affected.

Cleft palate surgical procedures have historically endured a low success 

Thyroid conditions

The thyroid is a gland in your dog’s neck, which generates the thyroxine hormone (T4) together with numerous other hormones.
Such hormones perform an integral part in your dog’s metabolism and therefore can cause significant issues if they are not produced at ordinary quantities.

Hypothyroidism

A condition called hypothyroidism can happen in French Bulldogs, the dog may not naturally produce enough of the thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism leads your dog’s metabolism to slow down, that can lead to the following symptoms.

Symptoms

Cold intoleranceExercise intolerance
ObesityLethargy
Thickening of the skinReproductive disturbances
Changes in coat and skin

Treatment

The excellent news is that this disease is not life-threatening. Plus, it’s pretty simple and cheap to treat. Your dog would have to take oral drugs every day for the remainder of his lives though.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism of French Bulldogs happens when the body of your dog generates far too much thyroid hormone. This may boost the metabolism to a hazardous amount.

Although this is somewhat uncommon in dogs. It is generally severe when it impacts dogs.

Thyroid cancer is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism in dogs.

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart murmurs
  • Tachycardia 
  • Cardiomegaly
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatment

When hyperthyroidism arises from a diet that includes elevated concentrations of hormones, a dietary shift is generally adequate to correct the condition.

Regrettably, its more prevalent for hyperthyroidism to be caused by aggressive thyroid cancer. Which is often fatal. Therapy in this situation will rely on the size of the tumour and if it has metastatic.

Therapy may involve the partial extraction of the tumour or the removal of the entire thyroid gland. This will rely on what your vet deems to be the most suitable course of action.

Consider Getting Pet Insurance.

The average price of pet insurance varies from as small as $59 to more than $146 per month. Investing in pet insurance is undoubtedly a smart option when it comes to French Bulldogs.

The price of insurance is usually based on your Frenchie’s age, present health, and the amount of coverage you need. Exemptions may be made in respect of prior-existing conditions or health circumstances which are not covered by this.
We suggest that you insure your Frenchie as quickly as possible, ideally when it’s less than a year old. You would like to get insurance before the first hereditary condition manifests its symptoms, so you’re going to miss coverage if this happens.

More Reading

Are French Bulldogs good for first time owners?(Opens in a new browser tab)

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