English Bulldogs are prone to a number of health issues. It is IMPOSSIBLE to list all of them, but I am listing some of the most common ones as well as tips and advice for your benefit on this page!
It is important to realize that English Bulldogs look strong but they are a delicate breed with specific breed related issues. English Bulldogs are very sensitive to certain health problems and because they are a man-made breed they are more prone to these issues. English Bulldogs are not for everyone! We recommend that you research the breed thoroughly before deciding to make one a part of your family.
English Bulldogs are very compact which makes them a very heat sensitive breed. They should not be left outdoors in the heat for any period of time; even with access to fresh cool water. English Bulldogs love to lay in the sunshine and even though they are hot; will unknowingly lay directly in the sun which will make them hotter. It only takes a few minutes for an English Bulldog to overheat so PLEASE always watch your bullie when he or she is outside.
English Bulldogs are easily exerted so short walks and other sources of exercise are best for them. Be sure to offer fresh cool water immediately after to cool them down.
Never leave your English Bulldog in your car without the a/c on even for a short period of time.
Cherry eyes are medically referred to as nictitans gland prolapses. Cherry eyes are common in all breeds of dogs; but some breeds are pre-disposed including English Bulldogs, Beagles, Bull terriers, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apsos, and St. Bernards.
Cherry eyes are not life threatening but do require prompt attention. Cherry eyes are caused when the third eyelid comes out of it's normal position and swells; thus making the gland visible when it should not be. There is no exact cause for cherry eye, but it may be caused by weak connective tissue that connects the gland with other eye structures.
Treatment for cherry eye is very straightforward-the gland needs to be surgically repositioned. Topical or injectable treatments of steroids or antibiotics should be avoided as they are not effective and treating your pet with them only serves to leave the gland exposed to further trauma. Note: We do not recommend removing the gland entirely as it is responsible for tear creation in dogs. Removing it will cause dry eye and should be avoided. If your bullie develops a cherry eye double check to ensure that your vet does not remove the gland but instead "tucks" it. The tuck is more effective and your pet will have no further complications or loss of eyesight associated with removing the gland entirely.
Dermatitis presents in English Bulldogs because they have sensitive coats. Dermatitis can be caused by many different things including an improper diet, food allergies, flea bites, sunburn, cancer (which can inflame the skin itself), or contact with an irritating substance.
It is very difficult to find the specific trigger that causes dermatitis because of all of the possible triggers. One way to do so is through monitoring your pet's food intake, environment, and lifestyle. This can provide clues as to what exactly is causing the dermatitis. Dermatitis is usually a reaction to a something within the environment so that's the best place to start.
Corticosteroids such as injectable dexamethasone will help calm the itching and inflammation resulting from dermatitis.; however, safer and more natural approaches may be more suitable for your pet. Speak with your vet about what would be best for your pet.
Hypothyroidism is the condition that occurs when not enough thyroid hormone is produced. The production of thyroid hormone is influenced by the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, and the thyroid gland. Although dysfunction anywhere in the complicated hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid pathway can result in hypothyroidism, more than 95% of all cases occur as a result of destruction of the thyroid gland. It occurs more often in dogs as opposed to cats. It can cause a variety of symptoms including difficulty with weight gain, obesity, skin problems, and hair loss. These symptoms can appear early in life but usually symptoms will manifest at around 4- 10 years of age. Male and female dogs are just as inclined to develop hypo-thyroidism. It usually affects mid to large breed dogs such as golden retrievers, Doberman pinschers, and some terrier breeds including Airdale terriers.
Some symptoms of Hypo-thyroidism includes lethargy, hair loss, weight gain, slow heart rate, cold intolerance, dry coat, excessive shedding, and etc.
Hypo-thyroidism can be diagnosed by your veterinarian doing a blood test that checks hormone levels. There are a few different types of tests that can be used. Your veterinarian will choose the best one depending on your pets symptoms and your veterinarian's access to tests.
About half of the causes of thyroid gland destruction are suspected to be caused by the dog's own immune system killing the cells of the thyroid gland. The other half is caused by atrophy of the thyroid tissue and resultant infiltration of the tissue by fat.
Hypo-thyroidism can be easily treated. A daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine) would provide the needed hormone to the body thus eliminating the symptoms. The dose and frequency of administration of this medication will vary depending on the severity of the disease and the individual response of the pet to the medicine.
Canine hip dysplasia is a very common degenerative joint disease seen in dogs. It results from the abnormal development of the hip joint in a young dog making the hip joint loose and not fit into the socket properly. It may or may not be bilateral (affecting both right and left sides). It is brought about by the laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that should support the joint.
Hip dysplasia is found in dogs, cats, and even humans. It can be found in all dog breeds but is mostly found in large and giant breeds such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Saint Bernards.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia include altered gait when walking or running. Many times, pets who have hip dysplasia will walk with a "bunny hop". Hip dysplasia can be confirmed by your veterinarian during an exam as well as x-rays.
Many factors can lead to hip dysplasia including genetics, nutrition, and exercise among others. If your pet has hip dysplasia, weight management, exercise, and warm sleeping quarters will help your pet feel comfortable as coldness and dampness can aggravate dysplasia. Wearing a pet sweater will help your pet feel more comfortable. Try to make everyday tasks easier by purchasing elevated food and water bowls as well as using a ramp to get up and down close to the door.
For more information about hip dysplasia contact your veterinarian.
Demodectic mange can also be referred to as demodicosis. Demodectic mange is one of 3 species of mites found in dogs. Demodectic mange is not contagious. It can not be passed to other pets or to humans. Any dog who is raised naturally by his or her mother will possess these mites as they are passed from mother to newborn puppy through cuddling and contact. They are not transferable after 1 week of age and puppies then have immunity. Normally, dogs have no reaction to these mites and live their lives with no problem from them. Pet owners are unaware of them until a problem occurs.
Outbreaks of demodectic mange occur when the natural equilibrium in a dog's body is thrown out of balance.
There are 3 forms of Demodectic mange:
1. Localized- this form of demodectic mange is mainly found on the face. For Demodectic mange to be of this form; there must be no more than 4 areas found on the entire dog. The manifestations must present in no more than 2 regions of the dog's body. They will be red and look like irritation on the dog's skin which can be seen clearly. Treatment for the localized form on demodectic mange is not necessary as it will usually clear itself up. The healing time for localized demodectic mange is approximately 3 months. However, bathing your dog in warm water and applying (not rubbing) antibiotic ointment will help speed up the healing process.
2. Demodectic Pododermatitis- this form of demodectic mange is mainly found on the paws. It is the most difficult to treat form of demodectic mange. When the other forms of demodectic mange have been treated it can resist treatment as the feet are the last stronghold for the mite.
3. Generalized Demodectic mange- this form of demodectic mange affects all of the dog with patchy areas, skin infections, and patches of bald or scaley skin. The areas can be solid or they can be several small patches grouped close together. This form of mange is known also known as "the buckshot look". Generalized demodectic mange can occur in both young dogs and in adult dogs.
There are many different things that can cause stress to a pet which result in generalized demodectic mange. These stressors include irritation to certain shampoos, pet coming in contact with something in his or her environment that causes irritation, intense heat, coldness, first heat cycle in females, and any other event that causes your pet's immune system to weaken or become compromised.
A few ways you can lower the risk of your pet becoming stressed include include keeping up with your pet's vaccinations, keeping your pet parasite free, feeding him or her a balanced diet with a good quality dog food.
Demodectic mange can be treated traditionally by Mitaban. Mitaban is a dip which must be used every 2 weeks as per the instructions. Also, Ivermectin can be used to treat demodecit mange. Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasite medication. It can be used in a variety of doses to treat demodectic mange. It is important that you speak with your vet before giving your pet Ivermectin and follow his or her instructions and suggestions precisely as Ivermectin can be lethal if given in too large of a dose.
Distichiasis occurs when small eyelashes grow along the inner surface of the eyelid. These small eyelashes can be found on both the upper and lower eyelids. Symptoms of distichiasis is irritation of the affected eye, inflammation, and discharge from the eye. This irritation will cause the dog to squint or blink often like a person who has something in his or her eye. If left untreated, severe corneal ulcerations and infections usually develop. For treatment options speak with your vet about what he or she recommends!
A murmur is a vibration caused by disturbance of blood flow. The “lub dub” sounds are the sounds of the heart valves closing. If these valves do not meet correctly, then some blood will flow back into the heart chamber instead of all of it exiting the heart as it should. The noise caused by the blood flowing back into the heart is called a murmur.
Heart murmurs are graded based upon intensity or loudness.
Grade I -- barely audible
Grade II -- soft, but easily ausculted (clearly audible)
Grade III -- intermediate loudness
Grade IV -- very loud, audible with stethoscope barely touching the chest;
palpable thrill (meaning you can feel the murmur by placing your
hand over the heart)
Grade V -- very loud, audible without the stethoscope; palpable thrill
Cardiomyopathy (Heart Disease):
When the heart starts to weaken, it will not push out the same amount of blood with the same amount of force with each heartbeat as it does when the heart is healthy. This decreased cardiac output results in lowered blood pressure. There are certain Baroreceptors in the body whose job is to monitor cardiac output and blood pressure. When the heart is not doing its job properly, these baroreceptors alert the brain to the heart’s problem. The brain then does two things. It sends signals down the nervous system causing the arteries and veins to constrict and increase systemic blood pressure. The brain also sends a hormone to the kidneys causing the kidneys to conserve sodium and therefore water. This is because certain organs like the brain and the kidneys need a minimum blood pressure for them to work properly. They take precedence over the heart.
At first this helps the body and gets the blood pressure back up to normal. Except that now, the heart is having to push against an increased force and therefore has to work harder. This causes the heart to weaken further.
In order to compensate for its decreased cardiac output, the heart will dilate (increase in chamber size) so that it can push out increased blood volume with each beat. Sometimes this dilation will pull the heart valves apart and cause a murmur. It cannot be determined whether valvular disease or dilation occurred first. When increased chamber size is no longer enough, the heart will start to beat more quickly in order to get the correct amount of blood volume moving through the body.
Clinical signs of heart disease depend upon which side (sometimes both sides) of the heart is affected. Dogs with heart disease may exhibit the following clinical signs (based upon which side of the heart is affected):
Weakness, depression, lethargy, coughing, weight loss, difficulty breathing, anorexia (not eating), fainting spells, abdominal distention (fluid), possible cyanosis (blue tinge to tongue and mucous membranes), exercise intolerance, vomiting, collapse, sudden death. Some pets may be asymptomatic (without clinical signs).
English Bulldogs are a manmade breed. They are very prone to allergies and at times may even be allergic to things within their own environment. This includes shampoos, air fresheners, and pretty much anything within the environment that could irritate or stress out your pet. There is no way to prevent allergies from occurring but pay close attention if you notice a rash, runny eyes, or etc. and think about what may have been introduced into your household at that time to prevent your pet from being uncomfortable.
Like all other breeds, English Bulldogs do require vaccinations to help protect them from disease. De-worming should also be done to keep your pet parasite free. We start all of our puppies on their vaccinations at 4 weeks of age with a straight parvo vaccination because Parvovirus is very contagious and easily spread. It can be found pretty much anywhere and passed on without knowledge. We recommend that puppies receive vaccinations bi-weekly until 12 weeks of age. After that time, we recommend a yearly booster. Your vet can provide you with information on Rabies vaccinations. If your pet is around children or outside in an area where there are wild animals we recommend a Rabies vaccination for your pet as a precaution. If you purchase a puppy from us that is over 12 weeks of age and flown to you; we will obtain a rabies vaccination for your puppy!
De-worming should be done bi-weekly in small puppies. As your puppy ages, you will want to de-worm him or her on a regular basis. Parasites are very easy for your pet to pick up; even when de-wormed on a regular basis, your pet may contract more from dirt and regular day to day living. There are many options available for de-worming including liquid de-wormers, monthly tablets, and etc. They provide variety and make it easy to choose which method works best for you and your pet! Your vet can provide you with more information on what would be best for your pet.
English Bulldogs are tanks! They do have hearty appetites. All of our puppies are free-fed so they have continuous access to fresh food and water. We believe that this is best for their development as dogs continue to grow until 1 year of age. As a puppy matures, you can opt for scheduled feedings if that is your preference. Directions for the amount of feedings in that case vary depending on the brand of food you feed your pet. Fresh water should always be available to English Bulldogs-they are easily exerted.
With regards to choosing the appropriate food for your pet; that is entirely up to you. However, it is my opinion that just because a particular dog food is the most expensive, the least expensive, or has the coolest looking back doesn't mean that it has the best ingredients for your dog. Pay attention to ingredients! Be aware of brands that have been recalled. Check each bag you purchase for holes in it; if the bag looks rough choose another one!
We do offer treats to our dogs-specifically Ol-Roy dog biscuits. Any type of dog treat is acceptable as long as they are large enough to ensure that they are not a choking hazard. Rawhide toys or treats like pig ears should be avoided because they can be harmful to a pet's stomach. As much as your pet begs for a bite of your food; resist because it can be harmful to him or her.
English Bulldogs require minimal exercise. They love to spend time outside during cooler months and love to lay in the sun. Bullies are more of a homebody pet; they are not a breed that can tolerate a large amount of exercise. For example, wanting your English Bulldog to jog with you daily would not be realistic. English Bulldogs do enjoy short walks and are active; they should exercise but in moderation. Bullies love to play with balls but be sure to keep water close as they do get hot quickly.
English Bulldogs should be bathed sparsely. They do not need to be washed with shampoo often or it could dry out their coats. However, washing with a good shampoo occasionally (at least once a month) reduces shedding and keeps your bullie looking nice. We recommend a shampoo like Sargent's baby powder scented shampoo. Pay special attention to your bullie's facial folds and wrinkles.
English Bulldogs are very good when it comes to travel! They have no problem riding in the seat or in a travel crate. Some breeds do have some difficulty with travel and getting carsick during puppyhood. However, English Bulldogs do not. We recommend that when you travel with your English Bulldog be sure to stop for potty breaks and also offer your pet a small amounts of water during your trip. Depending on the length of your trip, you might want to consider a travel crate for your pet. The crate should be big enough for your pet to turn around comfortably in with no difficulty. A crate too large can intimidate your pet and a crate that is too small can be uncomfortable for your pet.
As I have mentioned previously on this page, English Bulldogs are very sturdy in appearance but are fragile. It is extremely important that children understand that they must be handled with care. English Bulldogs, like other dog breeds, are susceptible to accidents during puppyhood many of which can be caused by rough play with children. Picking a puppy up by his or her neck, hitting, or kicking a puppy are not appropriate even in play. Children do not understand that these behaviors can be harmful to a puppy which means that it is up to a parent to ensure that the child understands how puppies should be handled. It only takes a moment for a puppy to become hurt or worse! Improper handling or playing with a puppy can result in a fearful puppy, broken bones, or etc. As a puppy grows, it's important to remember that children should still respect your pet. Many times I have seen children who walk on, hit, or otherwise hurt an adult dog who is so docile he or she will not do anything and the parents do nothing to explain to the child what is acceptable and what is not. English Bulldogs are a docile breed and I felt it necessary to discuss this issue!
This page was last updated on January 14, 2015
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