Bulldog Love

Dec 20, 2018

Bulldogs have a lot going for them with their cute faces and big personalities. They have become very popular breeds over the years. I happen to be one of the many people that own a French bulldog, and I was lucky enough to have obtained mine through a rescue situation. Although these breeds are cute and make great pets, it is important to realize that they come with a whole range of specific health problems!

Bulldogs are classified as brachycephalics, which describes the shape of their short skull. Because of this conformation, they are often born with airway issues. They can have an elongated soft palate, stenotic (small) nostrils and other congenital problems that can alter their ability to breathe normally. Because of this abnormal airflow, they are more susceptible to overheating, even at temperatures that would be considered very tolerable for another dog. Depending on the degree of airway abnormalities, surgery might be recommended to shorten the soft palate or open up the nostrils to allow more airflow.

Bulldogs also have a genetic predisposition to “cherry eye,” or a prolapsed eye gland. This can appear as a red fleshy object in the corner of the dog’s eye. This condition left untreated can lead to chronic eye issues including dry eye, predisposing these dogs to ulcers. However, cherry eye can be fixed with surgery to place the gland back in the correct position.

Some other conditions bulldogs may have a higher incidence of are skin issues and allergies. Because of all the folds in the skin, this opens up a perfect environment for moisture and therefore infections. They may require special diets and allergy treatments. Bulldogs may also have a higher risk of some spine and neck abnormalities. It is also very important to spay and neuter your bulldog as these breeds typically cannot give birth naturally, requiring dangerous and expensive C-section surgeries to deliver.

It is a great idea to think about pet insurance from the start with these breeds as it will definitely help with their healthcare costs. Although it may sound like bulldogs can have a lot of medical problems, they can be a great addition to your family. As I mentioned, I am a Frenchie owner myself! If you have any questions about the right breed choice for you or your family, don’t hesitate to come see us at Hillcrest Animal Hospital!

Dr. Andrea Gilstrap