French Bulldog Health Concerns
French Bulldogs suffer from Brachycephalic syndrome, which is what creates the flat faced appearance of the Frenchie. As a result, one of the most common defects in French Bulldogs is elongated soft palate or cleft palate. Puppies affected with Cleft palate are generally put down at birth, as it is generally considered to be an almost impossible condition to correct. Elongated soft palate can manifest as anything from a mild condition causing labored breathing to severe condition that can cause the affected dog to pass out from moderate exercise.
Frenchies may also have a tendency towards eye issues. Cherry eye, or everted third eyelid, has been known to occur, although it is more common in (English) Bulldogs and Pug Dogs. Glaucoma, retinal fold dsyplasia, corneal ulcers and juvenile cataracts are also conditions which have been known to afflict French Bulldogs.
French Bulldogs can also suffer from a condition called megaesophagus, a term which collectively describes several esophageal disorders and malformations in any combination from single-to-double or multiple. One of the more serious complications in a dog affected with megaesophagus is passive regurgitation, in which the affected dog vomits up food or phlegm after eating or exercise. Passive regurgitation can frequently result in aspiration pneumonia.
Another result of the compacted air way of the French Bulldog is their inability to effectively regulate temperature. While a regular canine may suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may be lethal. It is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times, and that they always have access to fresh water and shade.
French Bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back and spinal diseases, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the Bulldog Breed. This condition is also referred to as chondrodysplasia.
The French Bulldog is a gentle breed that typically has a happy-go-lucky attitude. Like many other companion dog breeds they require close contact with humans. They have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily walks. Their calm nature makes them excellent choices for apartment dwellers, as does their usually sensible attitude towards barking. As a flat faced breed, it is essential that owners understand that French Bulldogs cannot live outdoors. Their bulk and their compromised breathing system makes it impossible for them to regulate their temperature efficiently. In addition, Frenchies are top heavy and therefore have a difficult time swimming. Be cautious when exercising your Frenchie during hot or humid weather, as well.
French Bulldogs can play too roughly for some smaller children, and should be monitored at all times during play. As well, children should be cautioned not to pick French Bulldogs up, as the dogs' small size can mask how heavy they are.
French Bulldogs are essentially a bull and terrier breed, and as such, it is not surprising to learn that canine aggression can sometimes occur. Generally, this takes the form of same sex aggression, with the bitches being the most culpable in this respect. Owners considering adding a second dog to their household are usually cautioned to choose one of the opposite sex. Spaying or neutering can do much to curb aggressive tendencies before they begin. The French Bulldog energy level can range from hyperactive and energetic to relaxed and laid back.
ADVISE STRONGLY AGAINST USING: ace promazine, pentobarbital, metofane and halothane
USE WITH CAUTION: dormitor
SATISFACTORY CHOICES FOR FRENCHIES: ketamine, valium and torbutrol
OPTIMUM CHOICES: propofol, isoflurane or sevoflurane
INTUBATION vs. MASKING/CONING DOWN:
EVERY Brachycephalic dog that goes under anesthesia should have an endotracheal tube (ET) placed in his or her trachea! Always! That airway must be protected at all times. The tube should be left in until they are VERY awake and trying to chew it out. Use the intravenous propofol to induce anesthesia (which puts them under) and allows sufficient time to place the ET tube. From then on, anesthesia is maintained with sevo or iso.
Be Careful when masking a Frenchie down. Masking can be harder on Brachycephalic dogs because they struggle to hold their breath, which can irritate the airways and deplete their oxygen levels (which you do not want before surgery). It is my opinion that using injectable and then tubing them gives them the optimum oxygen supply that is ideal for Frenchies.
Lori Hunt, DVM