French Bulldog Health Info
This article sharing French Bulldog Health Info was written by Kathy Dannel Vitcak of Jackpot! French Bulldogs and The Blissful Dog.
Breeding healthy French Bulldogs is a challenge and THAT is a fact! First, they are a dwarf breed and along that comes certain traits – short, chunky limbs, over sized head and curvy bones. Curvy bones equals curvy spines, some spinal anomalies and breathing issues etc.
We are proud that so many of our dogs have their OFA certifications and invite you to research the info for yourself. Health clearances means OFA, CERF, etc. NOT that the local vet pronounced them “OK.” No offense to any vet, but certifications have to mean something or they are useless!
Our Philosophy has always been to breed the very best French Bulldogs that we can, to raise them with all the love in the world and to select their future homes (if they leave us) with all the care that we can.
We X-ray hips and spines on all of our adult Frenchies. Patellas are checked for luxating. Hearts are checked and eyes CERFed (as we are able to get to clinics). The health of our French Bulldogs has always been a very serious part of our breeding program. Now, that does not mean that we can guarantee that every single puppy we ever bred was 100% PERFECT and is guaranteed to live to be 15, sorry, we are not that far along…yet! Another tip, x-rays will not tell you anything definitive until the growth plates are finished growing and that can be at a year or so.
We must brag…CH. Jackpot! For the Love of Money, bred by Jackpot! and now at Encore French Bulldogs was the FIRST OFA EXCELLENT HIP French Bulldog. His father, CH. Jackpot! Money Money Money was the First Registry of Merit award winner from the French Bulldog Club of America.
One thing I would like to make you aware of is this…often a new Frenchie owner takes their beloved French Bulldog to their well meaning vet for one ailment (let’s say limping) and the vet will do a routine x-ray. The next thing you know, all “you know what” has broken loose as the vet discovers a hemi-vertebrae!!! Everyone panics, the breeder is called and tempers are testy. OK, everybody BREATHE and calm down! Many Frenchies can have multiple hemis or other spinal malformations and they lead a completely normal life – presenting no clinical signs of any problems. Others may develop spinal issues as they age, but the issues will have nothing to do with the deformity.
Be aware that unless your Frenchie displays clinical signs of a problem, there may be NO problem!
The same goes for some hip dysplasia. I have seen hip x-rays that the ball and socket were not in the same zip code and the Frenchie never missed a step and was very active. Also, many vets want to operate on stenotic nares and often when it is done there is NO change in the breathing of the Frenchie. Ok, I am NOT saying that hip dysplasia, stenotic nares and train wreck spines are ok, of course, they are NOT! But do not be quick to jump and create a problem where there is none. Let your vet know that these are commonly seen problems in the breed! Be aware, be alert and be on the lookout for issues, but do not overreact to them. Remember, this is a dwarfed breed! BUT be aware of them and watch for clinical signs – limping, hesitation on activities that were once enjoyed, stiffness, hunched up condition, etc. Then call your vet and do not delay!
Also, due to their ever-so-adorable undershot jaws, many French Bulldogs can have issues with their teeth. If you notice a not-so-pleasant smell coming from your darling’s mouth, check their teeth! You may be surprised to find some tartar and other buildup. Even those that chew a lot can have dirty teeth, due to the jaw structure. The bad part is that we are all loathe to out our babies under anesthesia unless absolutely necessary. So, talk to your vet and try to do more than one thing while they are under – clean teeth, flush ears, cut toenails, etc.
On a VERY sad note…please do not give your Frenchie Greenies®. A friend of mine just lost her adored Jackpot! boy to choking on a Greenie®. It was heart breaking for all involved. I know the people that manufacture this item have nothing but good intentions towards pets, but they are not a good treat for our Frenchie kids. So please, be warned.
Temperament is also a very, very big part of our breeding program. I plan as much for good personalities as I do for good health and conformation. A lot of effort is put into matching up the correct pedigrees, body types, temperaments and attitudes in my breedings. And then to match them up with the best possible home.
A healthy Frenchie is healthy in BODY, MIND & SPIRIT!
Kathy Dannel Vitcak ®2007