One of the cutest breeds of pet dogs, French bulldogs rank very high on the list of popular pets worldwide. Originally from England, these cute companions were bred to be the fun-sized version of the larger Bulldog. They are popular for their small, stout size, their very social nature, and their hilarious quirks.
However, some of the most lovable features of the French Bulldog—its smaller snout and ears and short, stocky appearance—have also been linked to chronic health problems in the breed. Despite being considered the healthiest breed of the “bully” dog family, most French Bulldogs will be faced with at least one or two common health problems of the breed in their lifetime. This significantly affects the quality of their life, as well as incurs tremendous veterinary bills for their owner; important factors to consider as a Frenchie owner or prospective owner.
A healthy French Bulldog can live for 10–14 years. With their growing popularity, it is important to be aware of some of the common health problems faced by the breed, most of which stem from breeding and genetics.
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Allergies result from the immune system overreacting to an object known as an allergen. All dog breeds are prone to allergies, just like people. Unfortunately, food and environmental allergies are among the chronic conditions to which Frenchies are genetically more prone. Since there is a chance that your French Bulldog will have allergies, it’s also vital to remember that allergies can appear at any time during your dog’s lifetime. Symptoms of allergies include excessive licking or itching (particularly on the paws), sneezing, ear infections, watery eyes, raw patches of skin, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or lethargic behavior.
Another common health problem that Frenchies are vulnerable to is hip dysplasia, which prevents the ball and socket hip joint from developing normally. As a result, the hip joint degenerates because it no longer slides smoothly but instead rubs and grinds. Hip dysplasia advances as a result of environmental variables like obesity, as well as excessive growth and exercise. Untreated, this condition may cause pain, restricted exercise, and the onset of hip arthritis.
French Bulldogs are particularly prone to conjunctivitis because of their flat faces. Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, can be brought on by allergies, various irritants, or a disease called dry eye. Your dog may have conjunctivitis if its eyes are pink or red, it blinks frequently, and there is mucus, pus, or discharge in its eyes.
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS):
All Frenchies experience Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS) to some extent. Their adorable squashed faces and narrow snouts result in an excessively lengthy soft palate, which obstructs the windpipe. Breathing issues, trouble sleeping, shortness of breath, and heat intolerance may result from this, often more noticeable with exercise and warm weather.
One strategy to lessen the symptoms of BAS is to keep your French Bulldog at a healthy weight. The best way to improve a Frenchie’s quality of life, though, is through surgery. To aid in enhancing airflow to the lungs, surgical treatment entails shortening the soft palate and widening of the nostrils.
French Bulldogs, like many other small dog breeds, commonly experience skeletal-related health issues because they were bred to have curly tails and small rear legs. Patellar luxation, in which the patella or kneecap slips out of its place at the front of the stifle (knee) joint, is one of the disorders they are genetically predisposed to.
Symptoms of patella luxation in Frenchies include irregular hindlimb movement, occasional skipping, or abrupt hindlimb lameness, which are often best corrected surgically.
The charming skin folds and wrinkles on a French bulldog’s face contribute to their attractive appearance, but they can also lead to skin-fold dermatitis, one of the most prevalent problems that affect Frenchies. As the name suggests, in addition to the armpits, neck, and vulva, this type of dermatitis can affect other folded areas of skin.
Skin-fold dermatitis might develop in your French Bulldog if you don’t take care of their skin. It’s possible for the wrinkles to swell and hurt. The dog’s skin may become infected if untreated.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD):
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is brought on when the discs between the vertebrae suddenly or gradually protrude into the space around the spinal cord, resulting in discomfort, nerve damage, and paralysis. French Bulldogs are genetically susceptible to this problem due to their short, stocky legs.
Depending on the location, underlying cause, and severity of the problem, it may require either surgery or medication, or a combination of the two.
Deafness and Ear Problems:
The small ear canals and large openings of the French Bulldog’s ears make it simple for bacteria and other debris to enter and start an infection. To fight against infections, ear glands expand and create more wax than usual. This causes excessive growth of ear tissue, which enlarges and inflames the canal.
The eardrum may rupture in extreme circumstances, which would be very painful for your dog. Your Frenchie’s ears need to be cleaned frequently, and you should watch out for any redness, discharge, or frequent ear-scratching. If you think your dog may have an infection, take them to the vet right away since you might need antibiotics to get rid of it.
Digestive Issues (Diarrhea):
Frenchies frequently experience digestive problems, so it’s important to watch what they eat. French Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to parasites, viruses, and E. coli, all of which can result in recurrent attacks of diarrhea.
The telltale indicators of a digestive disease are runny, red, foul-smelling feces; vomiting; fever; and weight and appetite loss. Furthermore, serious medical conditions like Addison’s disease, pancreatitis, and several auto-immune disorders, all of which call for a veterinarian’s care, might manifest as diarrhea.
Another common eye problem faced by French Bulldogs is the Cherry eye. This is when the gland within the third eyelid protrudes from the eye socket, appearing bulky, red, and cherry-like. The third eyelid, located within the lower eyelid, offers additional protection in French Bulldogs. If you believe your Frenchie has Cherry Eye, consult a veterinarian right away since the gland will need to be sewn back into a pocket inside the third eyelid if it is.
The likelihood of your French Bulldog developing the majority of common health problems will be significantly decreased by choosing a reputable and ethical breeder. However, due to the Frenchie’s highly desired features, not all health issues may be completely avoided. In order to reduce some of the negative effects of selective breeding in your cherished Frenchie, purchasing pet health insurance should be taken into consideration when your Frenchie is still a young dog. Additionally, helping your French Bulldog lead a generally healthy lifestyle will minimize the likelihood of certain medical issues.
French Bulldog Health Management
& Disease Control
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