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Top English Bulldog Health Issues


There are three types of Bulldogs, English, American, and French Bulldogs. In this article, we will be focusing on the English Bulldog. The English Bulldog is a sweet, dependable dog breed that makes a wonderful addition to the family. As with all dog breeds, Bulldogs are predisposed to certain health conditions and mobility problems. Joint conditions such as dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, and breathing issues are just a few of the medical issues impacting the English Bulldog.

The Top Joint and Health Issues in English Bulldogs

Breathing Problems in the English Bulldog

English Bulldogs have a distinct look, with a short nose. Although known for its distinct appearance, a bulldog’s facial structure can cause some serious breathing issues.

The bulldog is classified as a brachycephalic breed. A brachycephalic dog is any breed with a flat face and smooshed nose. Due to the shape of the dog’s face and nasal passage combined with a narrow windpipe, brachycephalic dogs are prone to breathing problems. Dogs with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) struggle to breathe and pant properly. Bulldogs are the most diagnosed breed with BOAS. This can lead to overheating, difficulty getting enough air into their lungs, and can cause heavy and rapid breathing. Exercise can worsen an English Bulldog’s breathing, leading to severe distress, gasping for breath, and even death in dogs with BOAS.

Bulldog breathing issues can range from mild to severe. Age is not always a contributing factor, although it can worsen as a dog ages. Very young dogs can also exhibit signs of BOAS. It’s believed that almost all English Bulldogs have some degree of breathing troubles, although how much it impacts a dog’s life will vary. Dogs diagnosed with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome should be cautious of any medical procedure that requires anesthesia due to an increased risk of dying. Secondary risks of BOAS include gastrointestinal issues, bronchial collapse, and even heart failure.

Joint Problems

Joint and ligament injuries are quite common among bulldogs. In fact, hip dysplasia is one of the most common issues among English Bulldogs.

Sometimes referred to as Bulldog Dysplasia, both the elbow and hip joints can be affected. Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that occurs when a dog’s hip joint develops abnormally. This can cause looseness in the hip joint leading to instability, joint pain, and arthritis. Similarly, a Bulldog’s front legs can be impacted by elbow dysplasia. Both elbow and hip dysplasia are prevalent among the English Bulldogs. Signs of dysplasia can be caught early on in a dog’s life, and early detection is critical to a bulldog maintaining healthy joints.

Simple Ways to Promote Canine Joint Health:

  • A high-quality dog joint supplement can reduce inflammation, support joint mobility, and ease joint stiffness.
  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight to limit joint stress. For example, an overweight bulldog is at a higher risk for developing joint issues as they age.
  • Regular exercise. Bulldogs prone to joint problems should avoid high-impact activities such as jumping or running.
  • A multi-modal approach through canine rehab can help keep joints healthy. Laser therapy, acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy are just a few techniques to help improve a dog’s joint mobility, reduce inflammation, build up strength, and improve flexibility.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease is a progressive condition that impacts a dog’s joints and worsens over time. Although a dog can show signs of arthritis at any age, most Bulldogs will show signs of arthritis in middle age or later. In addition, because bulldogs are prone to knee and elbow issues, osteoarthritis is also quite common among the breed.

English Bulldog Mobility Loss

Although paralysis in French Bulldogs is more common, mobility loss also impacts the English Bulldog breed. Mobility loss can range in severity from hind leg weakness, where a dog’s legs periodically give out or tire on long walks, to more severe cases, where a bulldog’s legs are completely paralyzed and unable to support the dog’s weight.

Sudden paralysis can be caused by a neurological condition, a traumatic injury (most frequently when the spinal cord because compressed), or a degenerative disease. Any change in a dog’s mobility and ability to walk necessitates visiting your veterinarian.

Bulldog Mobility Solutions

Luckily there are mobility aids available to help your bulldog walk. Becoming paralyzed or having sudden hind leg weakness does not mean the end for your best friend. A Bulldog cart will support your dog’s hind legs. The rear wheels of a dog wheelchair are on either side of your dog’s hips, with the wheels acting as replacements for your dog’s back legs. The cart will help your dog stand and walk naturally, and your dog will also get the exercise it needs.

Benefits of a Bulldog Wheelchair:

Paralyzed Bulldog in wheelchair walks on the beach
  • Ability to stay active and independent.
  • Help maintain muscle mass & limit atrophy.
  • Continued exercise encourages the natural elimination process, making it easier for dogs to pee and poop!
  • Great for mental health, an active dog is a happy dog!
  • Perfect for rehabilitative support during recovery
  • Dogs get to spend more time with their family doing their favorite things!

When choosing the best wheelchair for your bulldog, pick an adjustable cart. It’s normal for a dog’s weight to fluctuate, especially after long periods of inactivity. Since your dog will be moving more often, regular exercise can help an overweight dog shed extra weight and even help strengthen their legs. With an adjustable wheelchair, the cart’s width can widen or narrow as the body changes. Additionally, the height and length are adjustable, so the wheelchair will perfectly fit your Bulldog’s unique shape and size.

In many cases, mobility loss can be progressive in nature. This means that your dog’s leg strength may worsen, or the mobility issue may begin to impact all four legs. Look for a wheelchair that will adapt and change with your pet’s changing needs. The rear Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair can easily convert into a full support wheelchair with the addition of a front wheel attachment.

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