Do French Bulldogs Have Health Problems?: French Bulldogs are renowned for their long list of genetic health troubles. When people start owning a French Bulldog, they find out they are not cheap in many different aspects.
The French Bulldog seems 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 and 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 are impacted.
Many owners who have not done their homework give their 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|
|Heat Stress||Laryngeal Collapse|
|Intervertebral Disc Disease||Hemivertebrae|
|Degenerative Myelopathy||Patellar Luxation|
|Distichiasis||Von Willebrand’s Disease|
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 many factors, such as allergic reactions, dry eyes, or other allergens.
|Narrowing of the eyelids||Eyes with hard or runny discharge|
|Red eyes||Rubbing their 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 the two parts do not align correctly.
This can cause pain and discomfort later in life and have the onset of hip or elbow arthritis, significantly limiting the dog’s activity.
- Reduced activity
- Trouble trying to stand
- Pain and sensitivity around the hips or elbows
- Unable to jump or climb
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.
|Tracheal collapse is a genetic disorder, but it’s not always genetically determined. It presents itself as a bluish tinge to the gums of the dog. It may grow at any period, but the median age occurs at about six to seven years of age.|
|Difficulty in breathing|
|Has difficulty breathing in activities or exercises|
|Hooping sounding cough|
Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome
Bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs. Brachycephalic implies “short-headed” or “flat-faced” and relates to the distinct look of the Bulldog breed facial features. This includes the French Bulldogs.
This condition allows your French Bulldog to make all those snorting noises and snore.
Brachycephalic Syndrome relates to a variety of circumstances. His can severely impede your Frenchie’s capacity to breathe correctly in severe instances. These are listed below.
|Elongated soft palate|
|Overall, these circumstances usually lead to loud breathing, activity intolerance, and gagging. Maintaining your French Bulldog weight in a healthy range is essential, as being overweight will exuberate 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.
What is Stenotic Nares? Simple means pinched or narrow nostrils. Many bulldog breeds suffer from this disease, leading 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 are 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 mentioned 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 puppy’s 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 suffers from stenotic nares, your vet would most probably recommend a straightforward surgical procedure to widen them.
Hearing loss or deafness is becoming a prevalent health concern in French Bulldogs. It may be heritable due to genetic defects or 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 of discovering 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. Electrodes linked to a computer can measure the brain’s reaction to noise. The experiment can be performed once the pups are six weeks old. When the puppy reaches this age, the hearing loss in those having inherited the disease will develop.
Heat stress in French Bulldogs is among the most common conditions of this type of dog. Your Frenchie will usually have difficulty breathing and controlling their core body temperature due to their flat faces.
The primary cause of heat exhaustion and its progress to heat stroke is leaving your Frenchie in a hot vehicle.
Leaving your Frenchie in a vehicle on a hot day is a hazard to the dog’s life. On even a moderate day (75-80 degrees F), the temperature within the vehicle can rise to 130 degrees rather rapidly. Leaving the window ajar does not stop the build-up of heat.
If you live in a warmer region, it’s even more essential that you take care of the heat stress of your French Bulldog.
|Red gums||Excessive panting|
|Rapid heart rate||Excessive drooling|
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 normal 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.
- 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.
|Surgery to shorten the elongated soft palate||Surgery to enlarge the nostrils|
|Excessive, obstructive tissue removal within the neck||Sections 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, and paralysis.
Serious harm to the discs in the spinal cord can be caused by hard impacts, including jumping and landing awkwardly.
|Muscle convulsions of the back or neck||Decreased appetite as well as the amount of activity|
|Crying out in discomfort||Stressed behavior|
|Stiffness of the neck||Decreased range of motion of the hind legs|
|Tense abdomen||Loss of ability to urinate|
If this was the first incidence and the spinal cord has minor damage, moderate treatment like cage rest, containment, and pain medication can be available.
Drugs can be used for any major damage depending on the damage’s severity. Some common drugs usually involve nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid medications.
Surgery might be necessary when the damage is undeniably serious and the inadequate medication-driven therapy.
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. The spinal cord is the main component of the nervous system; it can lead to nerve impulses that cannot 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.
|The weakening of the back legs||Incontinence and in-coordination|
|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 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.|
|For dogs with moderate to severe instances, the latest developments in medicine have made it possible to treat the spine by surgery, either to stabilize it, decompress it, or both.|
Degenerative myelopathy is an uncommon, progressive spinal cord illness 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 are usually not painful and are connected with the nerves surrounding the dog’s spinal column.
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.
There are three distinct stages of Degenerative Myelopathy
|Progressive weakness of the hind limbs||Worn nails|
|Knuckling of the toes||Scuffing hind feet|
|Wearing of the inner digits of the rear paws||Loss of muscle in the rear legs|
|Tremors of the rear legs|
|Persistent early stages||Urinary and fecal incontinence|
|Eventual front leg weakness||Mental stress and anxiety|
|Pressure sores||Inability to rise|
|Muscle atrophy||Poor hygiene|
|Difficulty breathing||Prolonged seizures|
|Uncontrollable vomiting/diarrhea||Sudden collapse|
|Profuse bleeding||Crying/whining from pain|
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.
Luxating implies “out of location” or “dislocated.” Therefore, a luxurious patella is a kneecap that moves out of its ordinary place. It usually resumes its usual anatomical alignment after only a short period.
The dog would only feel pain when the joint is dislocated; afterward, they rarely notice any discomfort.
|Prolonged abnormal back leg movement||Occasional skipping when walking|
|Back leg lameness||Sudden lameness|
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 is a disorder in which new hair grows out of the eyelash region. It occurs when two or more hairs emerge from the Meibomian gland’s opening. Such hairs do not need to be there. Distichiasis is rather widespread in all dogs.
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.
|Your Frenchie may try to keep their eye closed all the time or keep trying to touch it.||Corneal ulcers|
|Eye discharge||Eye pain|
|Eye inflammation||Excessive blinking or squinting|
There are several treatment choices, and your vet’s decision will usually rely on how many new hairs are involved and what equipment the veterinary facility has. General anesthesia is generally required. 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 where 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 comparable to human hemophilia. It is triggered by the impairment of the blood adhesive glycoprotein needed for normal platelet clotting.
- Blood in the feces (black or bright red blood)
- Bloody urine
- Bleeding from the gums
- Bleeding from the vagina (excessively)
Most dogs do not require therapy only if scheduled surgery or injuries have happened.
- Healthy dog blood products can prevent excess blood loss in dogs, 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 patient’s blood with the donor’s blood.
- If a dog is discovered to have lousy thyroid function, supplementation with thyroid is suggested.
Cataracts are a chronic condition that can lead to blindness if not handled rapidly. Cataracts pertain to the cloudiness of the lens of the eye. Cloudiness may vary from full to partial transparency.
In cases of cataracts caused by diabetes, development becomes even faster.
- 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
The only efficient therapy for cataracts in dogs is removing 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 percent.
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 together and fuse. It leads to an opening between both the nasal cavity and the mouth.
- Respiratory difficulty
- Weight loss
- Slow growth
- Difficulty nursing
- Aspiration pneumonia
If selected, the treatment of cleft palate mainly depends on 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
The thyroid is a gland in your dog’s neck that generates the thyroxine hormone (T4) and numerous other hormones.
Such hormones are integral to your dog’s metabolism and, therefore, can cause significant issues if they are not produced in ordinary quantities.
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, leading to the following symptoms.
|Cold intolerance||Exercise intolerance|
|Thickening of the skin||Reproductive disturbances|
|Changes in coat and skin|
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 their lives though.
Hyperthyroidism of French Bulldogs happens when your dog’s body 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.
- Increased thirst
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart murmurs
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
When hyperthyroidism arises from a diet that includes elevated concentrations of hormones, a dietary shift is generally adequate to correct the condition.
Regrettably, it’s more prevalent for hyperthyroidism caused by aggressive thyroid cancer, which is often fatal. Therapy in this situation will rely on the size of the tumor and if it has metastatic.
Therapy may involve the partial extraction of the tumor or the removal of the entire thyroid gland. This will rely on your vet’s 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 for French Bulldogs.
The insurance price is usually based on your Frenchie’s age, present health, and the amount of coverage you need. Exemptions may be made regarding prior-existing conditions or health circumstances that are not covered by this.
We suggest 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’ll miss coverage if this happens.