The Most Common Health Problems in English Bulldogs – Forbes Advisor

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Common English Bulldog Health Problems

Just look at their squashed faces and it’s not hard to fall in love with the English bulldog. English bulldog enthusiasts can’t get enough of their short, stocky bodies, flattened snouts, and multiply skin, but it’s these same characteristics that are linked to serious health problems in the breed that has been around for hundreds of years.

A 2022 study by the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London found that English bulldogs are “twice as likely have a health problem” than other breeds.

Although urgent action is needed to save the breed from extreme breeding practices to produce more pronounced characteristics, responsible English Bulldog owners understand that breeding this particular breed requires more care and attention than others.

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Common English Bulldog Health Problems

Despite its known health problems, the English Bulldog can live a long and happy life. With proper feeding and monitoring, the breed has an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

The very reasons the English Bulldog is so popular, including its loose skin, furrowed brows, squashed snout, pronounced bite, and waddling, are precisely the things owners need to pay attention to when serious health issues arise.

“The English bulldog’s distinctive, exaggerated short muzzle, protruding lower jaw, and stocky build have been linked to several serious health and wellness problems, including respiratory problems, skin and ear diseases, and disorders ocular”, we read in the study from the Royal Veterinary College.

Breathing problems

Unfortunately, one of the most common problems with English bulldogs – and most dogs with the characteristic “flat face” – is difficulty breathing properly.

English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and pugs are all considered part of the brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed, which is prone to respiratory problems.

In extreme cases, the breed may develop Brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS), which is caused by upper airway abnormalities unique to the brachycephalic breed, says Dr. Megan Conrad, DVM, veterinary advisor at Hello Ralphie, a pet telehealth site.

BAS can be caused by any of these factors:

  • Stenotic nostrils: Unusually narrow or small nostrils that restrict the amount of air that can flow into the dog’s nose.
  • Extended nasopharyngeal turbinates: Bony ridges covered in tissue that help humidify and warm inhaled air. When these ridges extend beyond the nose into the pharynx, they can obstruct airflow.
  • Elongated soft palate: When the soft part of the palate is too long for the length of the mouth, the excess palate can partially block the entrance to the trachea and the back of the throat.
  • Laryngeal collapse: Caused by chronic stress on the cartilage of the larynx, which prevents the larynx from opening as wide as normal, restricting airflow.
  • Inverted laryngeal saccules: These small sacs located inside the larynx can be turned outward or drawn into the airway when the dog is working harder to breathe due to other health problems.
  • Hypoplastic trachea: When the trachea has a smaller diameter than normal.

“Their owner may notice noisy breathing, easy fatigue, and/or coughing and retching. It also affects their ability to cool themselves by panting, so they can easily overheat,” Conrad wrote in an email to Forbes Advisor.

Owners should carefully monitor their bulldog’s breathing and be aware of what they are feeding their dog. Obesity can worsen the signs and symptoms of BAS. In fact, treatment for BAS often includes dieting, controlling daily exercise, avoiding extreme heat, and minimizing stressful situations.

In some cases, veterinarians can provide medication and oxygen therapy to provide short-term relief. The final and extreme option is surgery to treat the cause of BAS, including removal of stenotic manholes or shortening of an elongated soft palate.

Skin and ear problems

Those extra folds of skin on the bulldog that make them extra cute can also be the cause of a host of skin problems, says Dr. Dwight Alleyne, DVM, veterinary advisor at Better Pet, an educational website for parents of pets.

“Bulldogs can be prone to skin problems such as allergies because they have many skin folds,” Dr. Alleyne wrote in an email to Forbes Advisor. “These skin folds can trap moisture, leading to yeast infections, which can cause skin irritation.”

These skin infections and irritations can be particularly uncomfortable for the dog who is constantly trying to scratch to relieve the itching. Allergies can also lead to sneezing, itchy ears and paws, swelling of the face, ears or lips, and runny eyes.

Owners should keep an eye out for signs of dermatitis and folliculitis, both of which develop in those adorable skin flaps they love so much.

The best way to avoid skin fold dermatitis is to properly wash and dry your dog, especially his skin folds, where moisture and bacteria can hide. Between baths, it’s always a good idea to wipe your dog down with gentle, veterinarian-approved wipes.

Treatment of skin conditions, from allergies to infections, usually involves a topical ointment and, in extreme conditions, an antibiotic.

Eye disorders

The three most common eye disorders English bulldogs typically experience:

  1. Prolapsed nictitating membrane gland (cherry eye)
  2. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  3. Entropion (upturned eyelids)

Of these three, English bulldog owners are most likely to see cherry eye, in which the dog’s third eyelid is poorly positioned and results in a red or pink swollen mass in the eye.

In some cases, cherry eye may correct itself. If this is not the case, then owners should seek immediate treatment. Left too long, cherry eye can become increasingly swollen and irritated.

The severity of cherry eye will determine whether a surgical or non-surgical approach will be taken to alleviate the problem. In some cases, gentle massage can put the gland back in place.

In extreme cases, the prolapsed gland will need to be replaced with surgery, depending on the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Common Health Problems in Other Breeds

Each breed presents its own mix of common health problems. See each breed below:

Does Pet Insurance Cover These Common Health Issues in English Bulldogs?

Whether breed-specific and hereditary conditions are covered by your pet health insurance will depend entirely on your coverage.

“Some companies may cover them, but may also charge higher premiums and deductibles. Other companies don’t cover these conditions at all,” says Conrad.

It’s always a good idea to do your homework and research what exactly will be covered before choosing a pet insurance plan.

As many dog ​​owners have learned the hard way, pet insurance doesn’t cover everything. This is what it is commonly covered by pet insurance:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Chronic diseases
  • Common illnesses
  • Serious diseases
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Tests and diagnostics
  • Procedures
  • Holistic and alternative procedures
  • Wellness procedures
  • Behavioral therapy

Dog owners should keep in mind that pet insurance generally does not cover certain things, including:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Experimental treatments
  • Grooming
  • Food, dietary and nutritional supplements
  • Non-veterinary costs

Are English Bulldogs Right for Me?

If a goofy, adorable, and often lazy cuddler with a muscular side sounds like a pet to you, then look no further than the English bulldog.

“A bulldog can be a great pet for someone who is less active and spends a lot of time at home, because bulldogs don’t require a lot of exercise time and are generally friendly and affectionate,” says Conrad .

She adds that potential owners should be willing to spend time and money on the breed; Due to its common health problems, English Bulldogs will need regular visits to the veterinarianwhich can result in significant veterinary costs.

Although they make great additions to families with children and other dogs, owners should be aware that they have a shorter lifespan than other dogs.

English Bulldog Health FAQs

What are the most common health problems in English bulldogs?

The most common English Bulldog health problems include respiratory problems, skin and ear diseases, and eye disorders.

What are the disadvantages of owning an English bulldog?

Due to years of unethical breeding practices, the English Bulldog can have many health problems, which can lead to expensive veterinary bills.

Is it possible to have a healthy English bulldog?

With a good diet, exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian, it is possible to have a healthy English Bulldog. It takes a responsible owner with the time and resources to supervise their bulldog.

What is the life expectancy of an English bulldog?

Most English bulldogs can live between 8 and 10 years.

How much does pet insurance cost for an English bulldog?

Pet insurance for dogs ranges from $20 to $44 per month, with an average of $35 per month for $5,000 of coverage. Multiple factors can affect the cost of pet insurance for your dog, including the pet’s age, where you live, pre-existing conditions and the types of coverage you want.


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