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French Bulldogs Common Health Issues

by | January 8, 2020 | Pet Care

French Bulldog closeup with black background

The French Bulldog, with his playful attitude and even disposition, is one of the most popular small dog breeds. The breed is affectionate and charming. Frenchies get along well with other animals and their human families. Their adaptable and quiet nature makes them a popular choice with city dwellers worldwide. Unfortunately, the breed has many health problems, with male Frenchies being slightly more prone to health issues than females.

French Bulldog checkup at pet hospital

French Bulldog Health Problems

The Royal Veterinary College, based in the UK, did some research on the breed and published a paper in 2018 detailing health problems of the French Bulldog. Alarmingly, their study showed that 72.4% of all the Frenchies studied had one or more of these common health problems.

Also noteworthy is that these health issues began when the dog was only two to three years old or younger. Most persist throughout the dog’s lifetime, creating a considerable expense for their pet parents. Let’s discuss these health issues in more detail.

French Bulldog looks on the side

Ear Problems

Middle Ear Infections – Otitis externa

Middle ear inflammations and infections are very painful for your pet and can even lead to the rupture of the eardrum and possibly hearing loss. Check your Frenchie’s ears regularly and see your vet should you notice redness, swelling, ear scratching, or any discomfort.

In addition to middle ear infections, French bulldogs are susceptible to congenital hearing loss and ear discharge.

Gastroenteritis, Colitis, Vomiting, and Diarrhea

Gastroenteritis affects almost 2% of all French Bulldogs, and diarrhea is even more prevalent at 7.5%. Gastroenteritis is often caused by a virus and begins with diarrhea and vomiting. It can resolve itself sometimes, but it is advisable to seek your vets help immediately when noticed. Symptoms of gastroenteritis include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Blood in vomit or poop
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

You can sometimes prevent or treat gastroenteritis by giving your pet fresh water and reducing their food intake.

Colitis

Inflammation of the large intestine or colon is called colitis. The warning signs are similar to the symptoms of gastroenteritis. If you suspect colitis, call your vet.

French Bulldog with a toy

Serious Eye Problems

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, occurs in over 3% of French Bulldogs. Bacterial or viral diseases cause most cases; foreign bodies in the eye or allergies also lead to conjunctivitis. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Excessive squinting or blinking
  • Pinkness or redness in or around the eyes.
  • Mucus or pus discharge from the eye
  • Swelling in the eye or surrounding area.

More severe cases could stem from blocked ducts in the eye, which will require surgery. In rare cases, conjunctivitis is caused by a tumor or cancer, and surgery to remove the eye is necessary.

Eye Ulcers

Eye ulcers, ulcerative keratitis, occurs in the cornea, which is the transparent part of the eye and can have various causes. If the abscess is deep, surgery is required. Less severe cases require antibiotics.

Prolapsed Nictitans Gland or Cherry Eye

Another common eye problem is a prolapsed nictitans gland, also known as cherry eye. It is easily spotted by the prominent red bulge in the corner of the eye. The eye may also be red and dry looking. Cherry eye is very painful. If you catch it quickly, your vet can provide a special gel to clear it up. However, it sometimes requires surgical treatment.

Every time you look into those beautiful eyes, check for anything unusual. Failure to treat eye problems rapidly can lead to more severe problems or even vision loss.

French Bulldogs Skin Problems

Black French Bulldog at park

Skin Fold Dermatitis

All those cute wrinkles in the Frenchie’s face can cause skin fold dermatitis. These same issues occur in the armpits, neck, and vaginal area. Watch for excessive itching, scratching, biting, redness, crust, sores, or welts in the areas with folded skin. Most of these problems can be prevented by keeping the skin folds dry and clean.

Pyoderma

Pyoderma is a bacterial infection that happens when your pet gets a cut, scratch, or other wounds to the skin. The area becomes infected and sore. You can help prevent pyoderma by keeping the skin clean, especially when your pet is wounded.

Anal Sac Impaction

French Bulldog anal sac impaction

Anal sac impaction is an uncomfortable condition for your pet. The most likely cause is the drying of the fluids in your Frenchie’s anal sacs. Watch for these signs:

  • Your Frenchie starts scooting across the floor on his bottom.
  • He begins biting or licking his bottom obsessively.
  • You notice a terrible odor.
  • He shows signs of constipation or pain when relieving himself.

It is easy to treat, but not a pleasant task for you or your pet. You must gently squeeze on your Frenchie’s anal sacs to try to remove the foul-smelling discharge. Treating anal sac impaction is probably worth paying the vet fee.

There is a high chance that your French Bulldog will have an upper respiratory infection (URT) at some point in his life. URTs are highly contagious and can infect other dogs in your household and social sphere. The symptoms are similar to a cold: nasal congestion and discharge, coughing, watery eyes, sneezing, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Your pet doesn’t feel well, and it shows.

Alabama Rot

Black French Bulldog lies on pink blanket

Despite the name, pets can get Alabama rot anywhere. It is a dangerous disease because it can damage your pet’s kidneys and circulatory system.

To prevent Alabama rot, clean your pet’s claws, and skin folds after all wet and muddy play. Better yet, avoid walking them in muddy wooded areas.

French Bulldog ear standing

Other Health Conditions that Affect Frenchies:

Finding a Healthy Adult or Puppy

When adopting a pet, take your time to investigate the facility where they currently reside and their breeder. Irresponsible breeders cause many of the genetic conditions that affect Frenchies.

Start your search at your local shelter. Shelter dogs have a lot of love to give, and you would be helping a homeless pet. Many of these dogs are well-trained and well-behaved, so you needn’t worry.

When buying from a breeder, do your homework. Don’t buy on your first visit and be suspicious of any breeder who is willing to sell you a dog without investigating you a little. A responsible breeder wants to make sure her dogs are going to a good home. Take your time and get to know the breeder and the pet.

Why You Should Consider Health Insurance for your Frenchie

If you have a Frenchie, you know how loving and giving they can be. You will want to do your best to take care of them at all times. Unfortunately, Frenchies often have health problems requiring expensive trips to the vet. One way to make sure you can always take care of your precious pet is to purchase dog health insurance. Prudent Pet Insurance was created by dog lovers to help other pet parents plan for their dog’s continual health.

There are several different types of health insurance for your pet. In other posts, we have more information about what is pet insurance and how to choose the right pet insurance for your dog.

Knowing about the health problems your pet may face and what to look for is very important to keep them healthy. Treat problems quickly and consult your vet when you are not sure or think that the problem may be severe. It’s vital to your pet and its health.

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Diane

Diane loves all animals and has parented dogs, cats, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, and four children over the years. She is currently owned by Lucy, a senior Chow who always wants to stay close to her people. Lucy is a retired guide dog who is happiest when a child is nearby.