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French Bulldog Health Concerns

Health concerns in French bulldogs may be grouped into two

- Congenital diseases

- Acquired conditions

Congenital diseases are those the dog is born with and these are commonly noted at birth, though some may be noted later in life.

Acquired conditions on the other hand are those that the French bulldogs get during the course of their life. Of the two, congenital conditions pose more danger for the dog and are more commonly the cause for worry in French bulldogs.

Congenital conditions will include

- Stenotic nares

This is common in bulldogs due to the compressed structure of their faces. The nostrils appear as slits and will often close during inspiration. This will compromise breathing and should be rectified as soon as possible. The dogs are at times forced to breathe in through their mouths.

- Elongated soft palate

The soft palate which is the roof of the mouth is abnormally long and extends to the larynx during breathing closing up the passage. This makes breathing difficult and may cause the dog to snort or gag.

The occlusions of the air passage may also cause the dog to collapse. Treatment of this condition is usually surgical.

- Cleft palate

This is a condition in which there is communication between the oral and nasal cavity. Nursing puppies may be unable to suckle since they cannot create a vacuum and the milk will come out through the nose. Such puppies may die of starvation if the cleft is not closed.

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- Laryngeal Collapse

In French bulldogs with stenotic nostrils and elongated soft palate the French bulldog may also suffer from laryngeal collapse. There is reduced air pressure causing a collapse of the laryngeal ventricles into the lumen of the larynx.

The conditions mentioned above are usually fatal if not corrected when they are noted. They also make the French bulldog very intolerant to exercise and will severely compromise the breathing process.

Acquired conditions may include

- Atopic dermatitis

This is a hypersensitivity reaction that results after exposure to some allergens in the environment. It usually manifests with excessive itching of the skin, chewing and licking of paws. The skin may also be inflamed.

These conditions can be managed by removing the dog from the suspect allergen and use of ointments that will soothe the skin. There are also anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids that can be injected to reduce the inflammatory reaction.

- Hot spots

These commonly follow bacterial infections. These infections will affect part of the skin causing irritation; the dog will bite and scratch the affected area enlarging it. The hot spot is usually red, swollen, painful and hot to touch. They may spread to the surrounding area rapidly causing the dog a lot of discomfort. Hot spots are usually managed using antibiotics and steroid creams. You can also apply an ointment that will soothe the skin.

Other health concerns of Frenchies include inherited conditions such as Hip dysplasia, Patellar luxation and Von-Willebrand disease which cause defective clotting of blood. This disease is usually tested for in any prospective parents before they are bred.

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