French Bulldogs are known now as companion dogs, but they were once excellent ratters. They originated from England and were created to be miniature Bulldogs. Now, of course, they’re much better suited to a life of luxury with their favorite humans.
Frenchies are known for their bat-like ears, cute wrinkly faces, and playful, quirky personalities. Unfortunately, like many purebred dogs, some health issues are associated with French Bulldogs.
The 15 Health Issues in French Bulldogs to Look Out For
1. Respiratory System Disorders
The most prevalent health issue the French Bulldog suffers from is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). French Bulldogs are vulnerable to BOAS because they’re flat-faced. Their shortened facial structure compresses the tissues at the back of the nose and throat, which leads to respiratory issues.
Their flat face also makes it difficult for them to pant and cool themselves down, and they’re much more likely to experience the effects of overheating and heat stroke. To avoid getting a pet with these issues, look for a puppy with a longer nose and wider nostrils.
2. Tracheal Collapse
Tracheal collapse is a chronic and progressive disease in French Bulldogs. It’s can be congenital or acquired secondary to the likes of heart disease or Cushing’s disease, to name a few. Symptoms include a “honking” cough, labored breathing, and exercise intolerance. You might also notice a bluish tinge to the gums. Tracheal disease is a genetic condition that isn’t always present at birth. The average age it manifests is 6–7 years old, but it can develop at any age. Treatment includes can include steroids, bronchodilators, cough suppressants, or in some cases, placement of an endotracheal stent.
3. Corneal ulcers
The French Bulldog’s flat face doesn’t just result in respiratory issues; their eyes also protrude, making them more prone to injuries and infections. Because of the protrusion, French Bulldogs are more prone to corneal ulcers.
Corneal ulcers are generally caused by dry eye, trauma, or chemical burns. If you notice your dog rubbing its eyes, which they’ll do in an effort to relieve the pain, take them to the vet as soon as possible because veterinary care is crucial to treating the condition.
4. Dry Eye
When insufficient tears are produced, the cause could be a congenital defect, adverse effect of a medication, or an actual disease. Seeing your dog squinting or blinking a lot or noticing a yellow or green discharge could be a sign of dry eye.
5. Cherry Eye
French Bulldogs have a third eyelid inside the lower eyelid that provides an additional layer of protection. Cherry eye is a common occurrence in French Bulldogs and is a result of the gland inside the third eyelid protruding from the eye socket. It can look large, red, and resembles a cherry-like lump. Contact a vet if you suspect your Frenchie is suffering from cherry eye because if they are, the gland have to be sewn back into a pocket inside the third eyelid.
Conjunctivitis is common in French Bulldogs, which isn’t a surprise since the breed is prone to eye infections. It’s usually caused by viral or bacterial infections or an allergic reaction. If your dog has pink or red eyes, is blinking a lot, and has mucus, pus, or discharge, it could be a sign that it has conjunctivitis.
Entropion is a hereditary abnormality that occurs when the eyelid rolls inward. This causes the hair of the eyelid to rub against the cornea. If left untreated, it causes pain, corneal ulcers, and erosions and can result in corneal scarring and interfere with your dog’s vision.
8. Skin Allergies
French Bulldogs often suffer from health issues that affect their skin due to their wrinkles and environment. The most likely culprit is environmental factors like dust mites and pollen. Fleas and other external parasites can also cause allergies, and you have to use the appropriate topical or oral preventatives.
9. Skin Fold Dermatitis
If you don’t look after your French Bulldog’s skin, it can result in skin fold dermatitis. The wrinkles can become inflamed and sore. Without treatment, the dog’s skin can become infected. While the skin wrinkles are cute, they require special attention.
10. Ear Problems
French Bulldogs are known for their unusual ears, but unfortunately, they are also a cause for concern. They have narrow ear canals and wide openings, which make it easy for germs and debris to get in and cause an infection. It’s essential to maintain regular cleaning of your Frenchie’s ears and be on the lookout for redness, discharge, or repetitive scratching of their ears. Take your dog to the vet if you suspect an infection because you may need antibiotics to clear it.
Deafness can be present at birth due to a genetic defect in French Bulldogs or develop over time in senior dogs. Thankfully, you can find out if your puppy suffers from congenital deafness by conducting a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test in puppies as young as 6 weeks old.
12. Patellar Luxation
French Bulldogs were bred to have curly tails and short back legs, and common health problems are related to their skeletal systems. One of the conditions is patellar luxation, which is when the kneecap temporarily slips out of place. It’s a common condition in small breeds, particularly in French Bulldogs, because of their anatomy.
The condition is graded from 1 to 4, from minor to most serious. You might notice your dog hopping about when its kneecap slips out and then return to normal movement when it pops back in. If you observe this action, contact your vet. Severe cases may require surgery.
13. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
The disc that provides cushioning between your dog’s backbones might become brittle or damaged. This makes them more likely to burst, slip, or bulge, which results in pressure on the spinal cord. The treatment for the condition depends on the location, cause, and severity and can involve medication, surgery, or a combination of the two.
14. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia occurs when the socket joint of the hip and ball haven’t formed correctly.
If this disorder is left untreated, it could result in pain, limited activity, and the development of hip arthritis.
15. Dental Problems
French Bulldogs have a shortened jaw with the standard number and size of teeth, and a common issue with the breed is tooth overcrowding. If you’ve noticed your dog chewing on everything and drooling excessively, it is time for a checkup at the vet! If left untreated, the problem can lead to tooth decay and infection.
This list of health issues can be frightening, but remember that medical conditions French Bulldogs are predisposed to may not affect your dog. However, they are at a higher risk than other breeds, and frequent medical appointments are vital to preventing chronic conditions. If you’re ever worried about your Frenchie’s health, contact your vet!
Featured Image Credit: Larissa Chilanti, Shutterstock