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French Bulldogs have short muzzles, flat faces and condensed breathing systems. This is the reason for the adorable breathing sounds and snorting that the Frenchies make. These characteristics make Frenchies a brachycephalic breed. Although Frenchies are loved for their appearance and snorting sounds, these particular characteristics can become a serious matter for the health of your pup.
French Bulldogs have shorter airways. Shorter breathing system means that there is less time to cool the air which is drawn into its body.
To prevent heat strokes:
1. Never leave your dog in a locked car, even if the weather does not seem too hot
2. Be conscious of the dog’s proximity to the hot pavement
3. Give your pup lots of water and shade
Elongated Soft Palate:
Brachycephalic breeds often have forms of airway obstruction due to an elongated soft palate. The soft palate is an extension of the hard palate which forms the roof of the mouth. A soft palate that is elongated hangs in front of the airway or falls into the larynx when the dog takes in a breath. The purpose of the soft palate is to regulate the food and water to fall down the throat and prevent it from entering the nasal passages during swallowing. Due to chronic airway obstruction (CAO) the dogs tend to breathe noisily, especially when excited, hot, or during exercise. Dogs tend to deal with this issue by gagging or bringing up foam and saliva to clear their airway. An elongated soft palate is rather difficult to positively confirm. In severe cases surgery may be helpful.
Tracheal Collapse is a syndrome in which the trachea becomes weakened. This happens due to internal or external pressure which is created during activity. This syndrome interferes with normal breathing. Further irritation to the trachea such as coughing will most likely worsen the condition. Tracheal Collapse can occur by itself, as well as with another airway disorder such as chronic Bronchitis. In mild cases the dogs respond to cough suppressants and stress reduction (less intense exercise and excitement). In advanced cases the dog may need surgical correction.
1. Dry honking cough
2. Difficulty breathing
3.Unproductive efforts to vomit (retching)
4. Abnormally rapid breathing
5. Abnormal breathing sounds
6. Inability to perform routine exercise
7. Bluish colored membranes
8. Spontaneous loss of consciousness
Narrowed nostrils in Frenchies are known as Stenoic Nares. This condition restricts the amount of airflow into the nostrils. With a mild case of Stenotic Nares, the dogs will exhibit noisy breathing which increases their demand for oxygen. This condition is diagnosed during a physical exam. Some pet owners decide to have Stenotic Nares surgically corrected to improve the pup's breathing ability.
1. Noisy breathing
In Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, weight control and proper exercise are a must. Frenchies with Stenotic Nares show improvement when they get controlled exercise, as well as avoid hot and humid conditions. For short-term relief of airway inflammation, respiratory distress, or anti-inflammatory medication, tranquilizers and oxygen therapy may help. However, it is important to note that these are only temporary relief solutions. These medications do not fix the underlying cause of this condition. The best way to fix Stenotic Nares is with surgery.
Cherry eye is caused by the protruding fibrous membrane. The fibrous membrane which is located in the lower inside corner of a dog’s eye can become disconnected or loose, thus causing the membrane to protrude. This can happen in one eye, as well as in both eyes. This membrane will continue to stick out until the loose connective tissue is treated. The cause of Cherry eye is not well known. However, this condition is highly treatable by the veterinarians. Cherry eye is not lethal or fatal, but it almost always causes extreme pain and discomfort to your pup. The eye becomes red, dry and itchy. Make sure that your pup does not claw at their eye because it may cause infections and even corneal ulcers. In general brachycephalic breeds tend to have more eye problems than other breeds. It is extremely important to get your dog to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will most likely prescribe ocular antibiotics. In more severe cases surgery may be needed.
1. Eye redness(conjunctivitis)
2. Swelling around the eyes
3. Excessive tear production
4. Abnormally dry eyes
5. Pawing/rubbing at the eyes
7. Vision impairment
8. Pus-filled discharge
9. “Eye rot” and changes to a black colour
Food and Skin Allergies:
The gastro intestinal problems in Frenchies are most likely caused by parasites, bacteria, indiscretion eating, etc. The skin problems are usually due to environmental allergens (pollen, dander, and plants), fleas, bacteria or medications. To diagnose the cause of allergies, foods and skin irritants should be ruled out one at a time before the introduction of hypoallergenic food.
Symptoms of Food Allergies:
1. Chronic or recurrent ear or skin infections
2. Skin allergy that persists all year round instead of being seasonal
3. Excessive gassiness
4. Abdominal pain
Symptoms of Skin Allergies
1. Excessive itching/scratching
4. Watery eyes
5. Paw chewing
6. Skin inflammation
Offer your pup fresh, organic, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Avoid onions, garlic and grapes (raisins). It is important to maintain a strict diet during the ruling out process. If you suspect a food allergy, give your dog a minimum of 8 week hypoallergenic food trial. If your Frenchie feels better by the end of this trial, try to reintroduce the previous diet. Once the previous diet is reintroduced, the gastro intestinal problems or itchiness (if it is a skin allergy) will most likely start in a few days to a few weeks. Reintroduction of the previous diet will help you diagnose that your Frenchie has a food allergy. Although many pet owners believe that the most common food allergy in dogs comes from grain, it is not necessarily true. Many food allergies are due to the protein source found in meat. The most common protein allergens are found in chicken (60%), beef and fish. Other common allergens are corn, soy, wheat, and dairy. If you believe that your dog is allergic to grain, then a grain free diet should be given for at least 10 weeks. If the gastrointestinal disease due to a food allergy is untreated, it may lead to IBD (inflammatory bile disease. See your veterinarian for consultation.
Flank Alocepia-Seasonal Flank Baldness:
Flank Alocepia is when the hair follicles slow down or stop growing, thus causing baldness. This condition is associated with the dogs not getting enough sunlight (especially during the winter months). The lack of sunlight affects the growth of the hair follicles. The seasonal effect may be influenced by melatonin and prolactin hormone production.
This skin condition is not associated with a medical problem. Flank Alocepia does not need to be treated. The Frenchie can be given sunlight therapy (similar to the type of lamp used for humans when treating seasonal mood disorders). Another option is to give your dog a melatonin supplement. However, as stated previously, this is a cosmetic skin condition and therefore can be ignored. This condition will likely improve with the seasonal changes.