Many dog breeds are bred for their looks and personalities, which can leave some breeds more prone to certain health conditions than others. Frenchies are no exception. In this post, our Orange vets discuss some common health issues in French bulldogs you should know about before adopting one.
Like most dog breeds, the health issues that Frenchies are most susceptible to change as they age. Diagnosis methods and treatment options can vary depending on your dog's age.
A common question our vets at Vet4HealthyPet receive is, "Do French bulldogs have health issues?" French bulldog health issues are common as they are more prone to certain conditions, and some of these conditions are inevitable. Consult your veterinarian for best health practices when raising a French bulldog.
Below, our Orange vets detail the most common health issues in French bulldogs as puppies, adults, and seniors.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
Bred with a naturally flat face, Frenchies - like most types of bulldogs - are prone to having breathing and respiratory issues. You may notice the symptoms of respiratory struggle early on in your French bulldog's life, even in their puppy phase.
The most common breathing issue in Frenchies is brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This condition can lead to trouble breathing and panting, and one of the side effects is heatstroke. Depending on the severity, your Frenchie could require surgical correction to help with this condition.
Frenchies are unfortunately predisposed to a number of eye health problems as they age. Some of the most common French bulldog eye problems include:
- Cherry Eye
- Corneal ulcers
- Dry Eye
- Eye infections
- Entropion and Ectotropion
- Cataracts (more typical in senior dogs)
The pointy and upward-facing nature of Frenchie's ears already leaves them more vulnerable to bacteria entering the ear canal, but on top of this, their canal is particularly large.
Your Frenchie should have their ears regularly and gently cleaned in order to prevent bacteria from growing inside the ear and leading to infection.
Corkscrew tail, or "ingrown tail," is a vertebral malformation that occurs in breeds with naturally-curved tails. Frenchies can suffer from this condition when the vertebrae in their tail fuse together, causing a severely curved or "corkscrew" shape.
This condition can lead to pain and recurring infections in the tailfold. It often must be corrected surgically.
Intestinal Bowel Disease
Intestinal bowel disease (IBD) is the presence of an inflamed gastrointestinal (GI) tract in dogs which can lead to irritation. Frenchies are prone to IBD and often suffer symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss.
If you notice unhealthy changes in your Frenchie's stool, energy or movement level, there's a chance it is because of IBD! Consult your veterinarian for diet options to potentially help with the symptoms of IBD.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
IVDD is a degenerative condition that affects the discs of the upper spine and neck in a dog. As your Frenchie ages, they are particularly at risk of a disc-related condition.
This sometimes painful condition manifests in the form of neck pain, inability to lift their head or look up, holding the neck low, and slow movement,
Hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition that develops in French bulldogs and, in its advanced stages, can only be treated with surgery.
The type of surgery a Frenchie receives for hip issues depends on their age and the severity of the condition. A Pelvic Osteotomy is a procedure in which the pelvic bone is cut in two or three places in order to increase mobility. A more severe procedure, like Total Hip Replacement (THR) surgery, tends to be more invasive and costly.
Hip dysplasia also has to do with back leg health. Frenchies can develop Degenerative Myelopathy, which involves increasing weakness and sometimes disablement of the back legs with age. This condition is more common in French bulldog breeds than others.
You can help lower the risk of your dog developing degenerative myelopathy by not over-exercising them when they are puppies.