French Bulldog Health Issues
Contributing Author : Dr Hira
Dr Hira is a qualified veterinarian with a specialisation in vetinary pathology and an all-round french bulldog lover, her pup is called Courage. Dr. Hira has a passion for research and is currently working as a visiting university lecturer in Agricultural Science. She has been writing in the veterinary science space for four years sharing her expertise though her thesis, lecturing vet science students and online articles
Although adorable, loving and loyal to their owners, french bulldog health issues are at the forefront of most new owners minds when adopting their pup. Frenchies are prone to a range of abnormalities or conditions typically linked with their genetics.
Some illnesses may occur in coordination with others and are indirectly linked with them. We are going to discuss the key French bulldog health issues that every owner needs to be aware of including spinal, back leg, and eye problems one by one so you can give your frenchie all the support they need.
French Bulldog Back Problems
Intervertebral disc disease (IVD) in French bulldogs
This condition is also known as a herniated disc or slipped tendon. In this disease, Cushing discs between the bones of the spinal cord burst out directly into the space of the spinal cord. The discs then exert pressure on the nerves which are passing through the spinal cord and resulting in neuronal damage, pain, and swelling.
In severe cases, paralysis can also occur. The intervertebral discs are shock absorbers of the spine because of having a gelatinous matter covered by a thick outer covering. The major symptoms of IVDD in dogs are abnormal gait, difficulty in jumping, weakness and pain in the hind legs, uneasy gestures, back with tensed muscles, minimum activity period, less appetite, and loss of bowel movements.
There are two types of IVDD in French bulldogs. One is called type 1 and the other is type 2 IVDD.
Causes of type 1 IVDD
In this type, discs of the mid-region of the vertebral column are responsible for the calcification of the outer layer. It weakens the discs and they can be damaged. Any act like jumping in the wrong way can result in injuring the discs and their inner material causes force on the spinal cord.
This condition is most frequently present in small dog breeds having short legs such as French bulldogs.
Causes of type 2 IVDD
In type 2, discs get hardened and fibrous for a longer time and break down, causing swelling and ultimately exerting pressure on the spinal cord. This type is frequently seen in large breeds of dogs.
When the nerves of the spinal cord are put under pressure as a result of these conditions, the nerve impulses cannot transmit their signals to different parts of the body including limbs, kidneys, bladder, etc. Due to excessive damage, loss of bladder movement and paralysis occur. Usually, one side of the body is more severely affected than the other one.
A complete nerve-related examination can identify the exact location of the injury in the spinal cord. A procedure called myelogram is used to view the affected area with the help of an X-ray. In this method, a special material is injected into the spinal cord, to visualize the affected area by X-ray. For this procedure, anaesthesia is also used. Other techniques such as MRI and CT scans are also used to locate the affected part.
French Bulldog Back Leg Problems
Problems due to hemivertebrae or wedged bones
Some bones of the French bulldog are abnormal shaped and due to this, bones cannot align with their surrounding structure in the spinal cord. This results in deformity of the spinal column and ultimately the supplier nerves become damaged.
Symptoms that appear are pain, ataxia, incoordination, and loss of hindleg functioning. French bulldogs are more prone to this condition because of their prominent screw tail. According to some scientists, the gene causing deformity of the tail can also be responsible for creating a hemivertebrae condition in the vertebral column.
Diagnosis is done with the help of physical examination and certain radiographic techniques including X-ray. The exact method of elimination of this problem is not yet known. As this condition is linked with a screw tail, the selection of a straight tail can be a solution to overcome this problem.
Prevention of Back Leg Problems in French Bulldogs
This condition can be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the French bulldogs by maintaining their weight and health conditions which results in less stress and tension in the bones of the vertebral column.
Limiting excessive jumping of the patient can also contribute to the solution. As this condition is congenital, breeding with these types of dogs should be avoided to save future progeny from this condition.
French Bulldog Eye Problems
Compared to other dogs, French bulldogs have a different structure of their eye. The bulging appearance and little snout give protection against scratches. Due to these characteristics, these animals are more prone to various eye problems. To avoid these problems, proper care and hygiene are necessary.
Once of the most common french bulldog health issues is cherry eye.
What is Cherry Eye ?
Cherry eye is a very common condition in french bulldogs. The eyes become irritated, red in colour, and protruded tissue from the corner of the puppy’s eye. It’s related to the third eyelid. This eyelid mostly protects the eyes from irritation and serves as wipers for the eyes.
When a tear comes on the third eyelid, it swells and appears reddish. Due to more protruded pinkish tissue, the condition is named cherry eye. This condition causes itchiness and it becomes worse if the dog is not prevented from rubbing the affected area.
French Bulldog Eye Issues : Corneal Ulcers
This is the most serious eye problem seen in French bulldogs. It is also known as ulcerative keratitis and results in blindness. These ulcers develop when the inner layer of the epithelium of the eye wears up to the stroma.
Due to this, the tear is absorbed directly by the stroma and results in a cloudy appearance of the eyes. The severity of this condition depends on the deepness of the ulcer.
These ulcers are very painful for the French bulldogs. Rubbing of the eyes also aggravates the condition.
French Bulldog Eye Issues : Entropion
This abnormality is mostly seen among those breeds of dogs which are having droopy eyelids such as French bulldogs. It causes the eyelid to roll towards the eye. After that eyelash rubs on the eyeball and ultimately scratches the dog’s eye during blinking. It results in torture for the patient.
French Bulldog Eye Issues : Ectropion
In this condition, the bottom eyelid sags outward. Due to this, the third eyelid is exposed along with its sensitive tissues. Eyes become dry causing pain. If a French bulldog develops this condition, both eyes will affect. If the sagging of the eyelids gets worse, then the only solution is a surgical operation.
French Bulldog Eye Issues : Prevention and Control
Prevention is a better solution to reduce susceptibility to these abnormal conditions. Following practices should be adopted to overcome these conditions.
Regular eye checkups
The French dog should be checked by a veterinarian after 2 to 3 days for deep eye check-ups. Both physical and medical examinations should be adopted to diagnose eye problems. If any symptoms appear, the vet can treat that on an immediate basis.
For the safe cleaning of eyes regularly, you can use any ointment or drops recommended by the vet. Eye boogers should be removed gently, and regularly. To remove the tears, special wipes are available to prevent any type of infection.
These conditions can seem overwhelming for new frenchie owners but the fact that you are here reading this shows you are the right person to be taking well educated care of your little fur baby. Just remember, get to know your local vet and give your frenchie regular check ups to keep them health and happy.