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English bulldog health issues

English Bulldogs are grumpy-looking dogs with a sweet, loving disposition. They are gentle, stubborn, and unfailingly loyal. They love human contact and will stay by your side. They need only a moderate amount of exercise and do great in small apartments.

Unfortunately, the English Bulldog is often afflicted with a wide variety of health conditions. It requires special attention to keep the English Bulldog healthy and happy throughout their life.

Health Conditions of English Bulldogs

English Bulldog lying on floor

Not every English Bulldog will have these health conditions, but they are prevalent within the breed. The physical characteristics of the dog cause most of these conditions. If you have an English Bulldog or plan to get one, it is best to know what physical problems to expect and worrisome symptoms. This list covers only the most common health problems, and your pet may have different health issues.

Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome, BAOS

BAOS causes respiratory obstruction due to the short face and narrow nasal passages the breed is known to have. Pressure in the airways causes the dog to have difficulty breathing. The breathing issues are more pronounced in hot or humid weather or when exercising.

Obesity contributes to the problem, so a healthy diet and moderate exercise are crucial for English Bulldogs. Keep the dog in an air-conditioned home and supervise them during strenuous activity.

Orthopedic Deformities for English Bulldogs

English Bulldog abnormal build

Hip Dysplasia

English Bulldogs have an abnormal build, which makes them more likely to have bone and joint problems. The English Bulldog has the highest incidence of hip dysplasia of any breed, according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals breed statistics. The condition is manageable with veterinary care, but once osteoporosis has set in, the dysplasia is irreversible.

Treatment options are best when the disease is caught early, so have your vet check out any problems with your pet’s gait or joint pain. Regular screenings by your vet are advisable, beginning before the second year.

 

Patellar Luxation

Smaller dogs, like English Bulldogs, develop a condition where the thigh bone, kneecap, and calf bone do not line up as they should. This misalignment causes lameness or an abnormal gait. The condition is present in the puppy at birth but does not reveal itself until later in life.

The condition also causes the joints to rub together and can lead to canine inflammatory arthritis. The situation can become severe over time. If your pet demonstrates lameness or an abnormal gait, have it checked out by your vet. In severe cases, it may require surgical intervention for your dog to be able to walk correctly. The bow-legged appearance that many English Bulldogs have is the result of Patellar luxation.

 

Skin Conditions for English Bulldogs

Dog skin issue closeup

Loose skin and folds trap moisture and cause English Bulldogs to be susceptible to a wide variety of skin problems.

Dermatitis

Sweat and moisture trapped in the skin folds around the dog’s face, lips, and tail cause dermatitis. Prevent dermatitis by keeping your dog’s skin clean and dry. Symptoms of dermatitis include red skin (hot spots), hair loss, or a bad smell.

Eczema

The short snout on your English Bulldog means that it has to bury its face in things to smell them. This causes the nose to encounter more bacteria and toxins, causing problems with eczema. To prevent inflammation, use an easily cleaned stainless steel food and water bowls. Once problems develop, treat them with antibiotic ointment. If the disease does not clear up or often returns, consult your veterinarian for additional care instructions.

Demodectic Mange

Canine demodectic mange is very common in all dogs and is caused by the Demodex mite. Usually, the mites don’t cause problems, but English Bulldogs with a weakened immune system can develop the disease.

Symptoms include patches of scaly, red skin, and hair loss. It usually occurs on the head, neck, and legs. If it persists beyond the puppy stage, see your veterinarian for treatment.

Eye Problems for English Bulldogs

Dog eye disease close look

English Bulldogs have several common eye problems such as dry eye, eyelid and eyelash abnormalities, and even cataracts in young dogs. Anytime your dog has an eye problem, you should have it checked by a vet quickly. An untreated eye problem can become severe enough to cause vision problems. A few of these problems require immediate attention.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is common in English Bulldogs and is recognizable by the red bulge in the dogs inside the corner of the eye. While cherry eye is not an emergency, it does cause considerable discomfort for your pet and can lead to more severe problems if left untreated. When caught early, treatment can resolve the issue without surgical intervention.

Entropion and Ectropion

Entropion results when the dog’s eyelid rolls inward toward the eye, and ectropion causes a droopy eyelid. Both conditions are irritating to your pet but do not require emergency intervention. If the condition does not resolve, it can become painful and surgery is required.

Hypothyroidism for English Bulldogs

English Bulldog's face collapses

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones resulting in low energy levels and severe problems in your pet. If your pet seems lethargic and exhausted all the time, please have them checked out by the vet. Hypothyroidism can interfere with your pet’s body functions and overall health.

Other Health Conditions for English Bulldogs:

English Bulldogs also have other less common health conditions, but you still need to be aware of them. Watch out for problems in these areas:

  • Bloating
  • Interdigital cysts
  • Problems with blood-clotting caused by Von Willebrand’s
  • Deafness
  • Urinary Tract Problems
  • Canine Kidney Disease
  • Heart disease
  • Tumors and cancer
  • Perianal gland problems
  • Head shakes
  • Head tremors and neurological problems
  • laryngeal paralysis
  • megaesophagus
  • pyloric stenosis
  • hydrocephalus

Finding an English Bulldog Healthy Adult or Puppy

English Bulldog running with unique face

Because many problems found in English Bulldogs are a result of breeding, it is necessary to deal with reputable breeders or adopt a healthy dog from a shelter. Dealing with a reputable breeder should ensure that your dog is as healthy as possible and has had good veterinary care from birth. The parents should have certifications from the OFA for their hips, elbows, and knees, and from the CERF to certify that their eyes are healthy.

If you are open to adopting a shelter dog, you will be helping ease the dog homelessness problems and gaining a loving pet. Shelter dogs are grateful for your attention and ready to love you back.

Once you have adopted a pet and brought them home, be proactive. Examine your dog daily for skin conditions, clean its skin folds, and make sure they get a healthy diet. Preventing obesity is important because excess weight increases the chances of problems in the joints. Pay attention to their behavior and check with your vet quickly whenever your pet is having problems of any kind.

Why Should you Consider Health Insurance for your English Bulldog

English Bulldog staring at camera

As a pet parent of an English Bulldog, you’ll need to monitor the health of your pet constantly and be ready to take them to the vet when problems first arise. One way to guarantee that you’ll always be able to take care of your pet is to purchase health insurance for your pet.

Prudent Pet Insurance was designed by pet lovers to help pet parents take care of their pets. There are different types of pet health insurance, and we can help you decipher them to choose the right pet insurance for your dog. Let us show you how affordable health insurance for your pet can be with a pet insurance quote. It only takes a few minutes and can mean a lifetime of health for your pet.

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About the author

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.

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