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English Bulldog Health Checker®
- *Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- *US National Library of Medicine
- *The American Kennel Club
7 Most Common Health Problems For English Bulldogs
#1: Bulldog Breathing Problems
Treatment Cost: $1,500-$5,500
English Bulldogs are susceptible to respiratory infections and breathing problems because of their brachycephalic (flat) faces, pinched nostrils & elongated soft palates. The most common causes of airway obstruction in English Bulldogs are:
- Stenotic nares
- Stenotic nares are another way to say nostril openings that are too small. These little nostrils make pulling in air while inhaling very difficult, like breathing through a straw. Surgery involves cutting the nostrils to make the openings wider.
- Elongated soft palate
- The palate, also known as the roof of the mouth, is elongated in some English Bulldogs. This interferes with air passing into the windpipe and prevents the dog from getting enough oxygen. Untreated, an elongated soft palate can cause breathing difficulties, trouble maintaining regular activities, difficulty playing and even death. With surgery, the palate is shortened with a medical-grade CO2 laser.
- Laryngeal saccules
- The larynx or voice box is an important part of the respiratory tract. Sometimes tissue from the Larynx protrudes into the windpipe causing breathing difficulties and airway obstruction. Laryngeal saccules can be removed fairly easily through endoscopic surgery.
#2: Cherry Eye in Bulldogs
Treatment Cost: $300-$1,000 per eye
Cherry eye in dogs is a common genetic issue for English Bullies. Cherry eye happens when the gland of the inner eyelid protrudes and becomes visible as a mound of blood and tissue. This reddish, pink mass over the lower eyeball usually occurs in younger Bulldogs, under the age of two and can happen in one or both eyes.
If left untreated, cherry eye may cause swelling, infection, vision impairment or severe eye dryness. Treatment for cherry eye is done under local anesthesia. A small part of the prolapsed gland is removed, while the remaining tissue is carefully pushed back into place during surgery.
#3: Bulldog Elbow Dysplasia
Treatment Cost: $3,000 per elbow
Canine elbow dysplasia is a condition seen commonly in English Bulldogs. Elbow dysplasia occurs when the elbow bones don’t come together properly, making regular movement painful. Elbow dysplasia is caused by abnormal growth in cells, tissue and bone and eventually leads to degeneration of the elbow joint.
Elbow dysplasia is a common cause of elbow pain and increased sensitivity around the elbow joint. It can be aggravated by walking, running, jumping or during regular exercise. Elbow dysplasia, if not treated can cause bone loss, osteoarthritis, limited mobility and severe pain.
Elbow dysplasia is diagnosed in three steps. First, your veterinarian will ask a series of questions to rule out other causes for the elbow pain. If other causes are ruled out, your vet may order one or more diagnostic tests like CT scans, MRIs and x-rays. Finally, a fluid sample will be taken from the elbow joint and examined to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for minor cases of elbow dysplasia can involve weight loss, physiotherapy, exercise modification, and anti-inflammatory oral medications. If surgical treatment for elbow dysplasia is the best option, there are a variety of surgical techniques that can be utilized. Your vet will determine the best course of surgical treatment, based on your dog’s unique anatomy and specific needs.
#4: Hip Dysplasia in English Bulldogs
Treatment Cost: $4,000 per hip
According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, hip dysplasia will affect 75% of English Bulldogs, more than any other breed. Hip dysplasia in dogs is a deformity in the hip joint caused by a misalignment in the hip structure.
Because hip dysplasia in a hereditary problem that bulldogs inherit at birth, it is impossible to completely avoid. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket that form your dog’s hip do not fit correctly. This causes a clicking or rattling noise and if left untreated can deform the bones that make up the hip, leading to arthritis and chronic joint pain. Hip dysplasia can cause limping, fluid buildup in the hip joint, painful bone spurs and joint dislocation due to cartilage breaking down.
Treatment for hip dysplasia is similar to treatment for elbow dysplasia: in minor cases, diet, exercise and movement modification may help. An oral medication may also provide additional relief. Unfortunately, by the time the symptoms become severe enough for most pet owners to notice, surgery is the only option. The good news is that hip dysplasia surgery has a high success rate (over 90%) and in the right hands is a relatively simple procedure.
#5: Bulldog Idiopathic Head Tremors
Cost For Diagnostic Testing: $3,000-$5,000
Head tremors will affect 38% of English Bulldogs and may occur for unknown reasons (idiopathic). Idiopathic head tremors are involuntary muscle contractions of the head and neck and appear similar to seizures. Most episodes don’t last longer than three minutes and unfortunately, the dog remains conscious and awake during the entire duration of the tremors.
Many English Bulldog owners become frustrated trying to find a cause or cure for head tremors and the bad news is that their exact cause has yet to be determined. While some folk treatments like ice cream, yogurt, and sugar cubes have gained favor among Bulldog owners, it’s important to point out that there is no empirical evidence to suggest that these treatments are helpful in anyway.
Unfortunately, in the medical community, there are no specific treatments for head tremors. However, there are tests performed to rule out other causes like epileptic seizures or neurological disorders that may be ordered.
#6: Interdigital Paw Cysts in Bulldogs
Treatment Cost: $150-$1,500
Interdigital Cysts are inflamed, irritated, infected growths between the toes. These cysts can cause limping, noticeable pain and can rupture, discharging blood, fluid, and pus.
Interdigital cysts are quite common in English Bulldogs and usually result from some type of allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or even an infected hair follicle. For less serious cases, medicated paw soaking, topical antibiotics and steroidal medications may help. Untreated, these cysts can cause severe discomfort and more serious cases may require surgery.
#7: English Bulldog Tail Infections
Treatment Cost: $600-$1,400
Many English Bulldogs have deep skin folds in their tails that can become infected with bacteria and yeast. Common signs of a tail infection are incessant scratching around the tail, a yeasty smell around the tail area and fluid buildup.
Treatment for tail infections usually involves a course of antibiotics, either oral, topical or both. For cases that don’t respond well to antibiotics or for dogs with extra deep skin folds around the tail, surgery may be the best option. This procedure usually involves tail amputation, with a recovery of 1-2 weeks. Because the tail is a part of the dog’s spine, finding vet with a long track record of positive surgical outcomes is very important.