Archive for the “Caring for Your English Bulldog” Category

Caring for Your English Bulldog.

Problems Particular to English Bulldogs (Part II)

Entropion

English Bulldogs, because of their short faces and wrinkles, may have entropion eyelids. Other short-muzzled breeds are subject to this same problem. This is a condition in which the eyelashes turn in and rub against the surface of the eye. The eyes will be inflamed, the lids swollen, and there is excessive tearing. It will irritate the eye and may cause blindness.
The treatment is a minor surgical procedure, or, if very minor, your veterinarian may be able to give you medication to put in the eye. But this is a daily chore, and a more permanent solution is surgical intervention. Entropion is a genetic defect, and dogs who are affected should not be bred.

Hip Dysplasia

Unfortunately English Bulldogs, because of their build, may have dysplastic hips. Hip dysplasia is a failure of the head of the femur (thighbone) to fit properly into the acetabulum (hip socket). Hip dysplasia is not just caused by poorly formed or malpositioned bones; many researchers believe the muscles and tendons in the leg and hip may also play a part.
Hip dysplasia is considered to be a polygenic inherited disorder, which means many different genes may lead to the disease. Also, environmental factors may contribute to the development of hip dysplasia, including nutrition and exercise, although the part environmental factors play in the disease is highly debated among experts.
Whatever the cause or causes of this problem, hip dysplasia can cause a wide range of problems, from mild lameness to movement irregularities to crippling pain. Bulldogs with hip dysplasia must often limit their activities, may need corrective surgery, or may even need to be euthanized because of the pain.

Hypothyroidism

A high percentage of English Bulldogs suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). One of the most common signs is loss of hair on the animal’s sides. If it’s not treated, there will be complications, including hair loss, changes in the skin, lethargy, reproductive problems, and more.
Tests evaluating the thyroid function are becoming more accurate, and a tiny pill given daily will return the thyroid gland to its normal function.

How to Make a Canine First-Aid Kit
If your dog hurts herself, even a minor cut, it can be very upsetting for both of you. Having a first-aid kit handy will help you to help her, calmly and efficiently. What should be in your canine first-aid kit?
– Antibiotic ointment
– Antiseptic and antibacterial cleansing wipes
– Benadryl
– Cotton-tipped applicators
– Disposable razor
– Elastic wrap bandages
– Extra leash and collar
– First-aid tape of various widths
– Gauze bandage roll
– Gauze pads of different sizes, including eye pads
– Hydrogen peroxide
– Instant cold compress
– Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol tablets or liquid
– Latex gloves
– Lubricating jelly
– Muzzle
– Nail clippers
– Pen, pencil, and paper for notes and directions
– Plastic syringe with no needle (for administering liquids)
– Round-ended scissors and pointy scissors
– Safety pins
– Sterile saline eyewash
– Thermometer (rectal)
– Tweezers

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Problems Particular to English Bulldogs (Part I)

Most of this breeds health problems are due to their shortened muzzles and their inability to give birth naturally. Although their life span is only about ten to fifteen years, those years are relatively healthy and happy. Still, Bulldogs do occasionally suffer from conditions to which the breed seems to be predisposed. Of course, not all English Bulldogs have these problems. But some do.

Acne

When the English Bulldog becomes a teenager (between 6 and 8 months of age), she may develop acne. Just as with human teenagers, this is due to hormonal changes in the body. Keep the dog’s face and wrinkles clean. If the problem gets bad, talk to your veterinarian about prescribing medication. Do not use human acne medications without your veterinarian’s recommendation.

Brachycephalic Difficulties

Like other breeds with shortened muzzles (such as Pugs and Pekingese), English Bulldogs can have breathing difficulties, especially in hot, humid weather. If your dog ever has trouble breathing or her lips or mucus membranes turn blue, call your veterinarian immediately. This may be a temporary problem, but it may also be life threatening.

When to Call the Veterinarian
Go to the vet right away or take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic if:
– Your dog is choking
– Your dog is having trouble breathing
– Your dog has been injured and you cannot stop the bleeding within a few minutes
– Your dog has been stung or bitten by an insect and the site is swelling
– Your dog has been bitten by a snake
– Your dog has been bitten by another animal (including a dog) and shows any swelling or bleeding
– Your dog has touched, licked, or in any way been exposed to poison
– Your dog has been burned by either heat or caustic chemicals
– Your dog has been hit by a car
– Your dog has any obvious broken bones or cannot put any weight on one of her limbs
– Your dog has a seizure
Make an appointment to see the vet as soon as possible if:
– Your dog has been bitten by a cat, another dog, or a wild animal
– Your dog has been injured and is still limping an hour later
– Your dog has unexplained swelling or redness
– Your dog’s appetite changes
– Your dog vomits repeatedly and can’t seem to keep food down, or drools excessively while eating
– You see any changes in your dog’s urination or defecation (pain during elimination, change in regular habits, blood in urine or stool, diarrhea, foul-smelling stool)
– Your dog scoots her rear end on the floor
– Your dog’s energy level, attitude, or behavior changes for no apparent reason
– Your dog has crusty or cloudy eyes, or excessive tearing or discharge
– Your dog’s nose is dry or chapped, hot, crusty, or runny
– Your dog’s ears smell foul, have a dark discharge, or seem excessively waxy
– Your dog’s gums are inflamed or bleeding, her teeth look brown, or her breath is foul
– Your dog’s skin is red, flaky, itchy, or inflamed, or she keeps chewing at certain spots
– Your dog’s coat is dull, dry, brittle, or bare in spots
– Your dog’s paws are red, swollen, tender, cracked, or the nails are split or too long
– Your dog is panting excessively, wheezing, unable to catch her breath, breathing heavily, or sounds strange when she breathes.

Elongated Soft Palate

The soft palate is the flap of skin at the back of the throat. Loud, noisy, or difficult breathing may indicate an elongated soft palate – a common breathing disorder in all brachycephalic (short-muzzled) breeds.
In dogs with this condition, the skin and tissue on the roof of the mouth will either hang in front of the airway or will fall into the larynx when the dog inhales, causing the skin to vibrate or partially block the airways. It can impede breathing. The English Bulldog can also choke on or spit up pieces of kibble and even pass out from a lack of air.
Signs are excessive panting, being unable to calm down when excited, and possibly vomiting. Loud, raspy breathing when the dog is overheated is another sign.
This condition can be taken care of with minor surgery. This is a genetic defect, and dogs with this problem should not be bred.

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English Bulldog - Common Health Problems (Part II)

Broken Bones

Support the bone that appears to be broken and take the English Bulldog immediately to the veterinarian. X-rays are usually necessary. What do you have about the house to use for a temporary splint? How about rolled-up newspapers, or a small, thin foam rubber pillow, or a wooden spatula or a ruler? Use your imagination and fasten the splint with adhesive tape, masking tape, or strips of old sheets, and take the dog to the veterinarian.

Choking

Reach into the dog’s mouth and try to pull out whatever may be choking her. Pull her tongue out to clear an airway. If whatever caused her to choke has been removed, she will probably be all right. If she continues to try to vomit, then she must go to the veterinarian.

Diarrhea

How long has the diarrhea lasted? If it’s just a one-time problem that does not recur in a day or two, you need not be alarmed. But if the stools are frequent for twenty-four hours or more, or contain blood, mucus, or undigested food, let the veterinarian make the diagnosis and prescribe the treatment. As time goes on, you will learn when to push the panic button and when to wait a little while.

Eye Injuries

If the English Bulldog has injured her eye or has something in the eye, wash it out with eyewash or warm tap water. Cover the eye if your dog is pawing or scratching at it. Prompt diagnosis and treatment by your veterinarian may prevent corneal damage.

Overheating

Bulldogs cannot tolerate heat. If your dog stops walking or playing and plops down on the ground, is panting heavily, feels hot to the touch, and looks very stressed, bathe her feet and underside with cool water or put her in a tub of cool (not cold) water. If this is not possible, place small bags filled with ice under her front legs, in the groin, and on her head. Wrap her in towels that have been soaked in cool water. If possible, turn a fan on her. Keep her quiet.
Do not give the dog ice chips or water unless she takes them willingly. As long as her gum color remains good (nice and pink; not pale pink or white) and her breathing is regular, she probably is not in grave danger. But this is your veterinarian’s decision to make, so give the vet a call.

Poisoning

In every home there are cleaning fluids, fingernail polish, bleach, and other poi-sons. Few Bulldogs would eat or drink these things, but no English Bulldog should have access to them. Store household necessities, fertilizers, insect sprays, and so on in secure cupboards and on high shelves.
Keep the poison control telephone number, your veterinarian’s number, and the number of the nearest emergency vet clinic by your telephone. Call these experts for their advice. There are too many chemicals and too many complicated formulas for the average person to know what action to take in an emergency. Sometimes the animal should be made to vomit, sometimes she should have a gastric lavage (washing out of the stomach), and some-times this action would be fatal. Only the professionals can evaluate the situation.

Vomiting

If your English Bulldog vomits just once, nothing needs to be done. However, if vomiting is persistent, or contains blood, mucus, or large amounts of undigested food, the veterinarian should be called. Your veterinarian will ask several questions, including, Did the dog get into the garbage, chew up a toy, or swallow a foreign substance? Does she have a fever? Take a good look at what your dog has vomited up so that you can answer those questions.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has a staff of licensed veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists avail-able 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number to call is (888) 426-4435. You will be charged a consultation fee of $60 per case, charged to most major credit cards. There is no charge for follow-up calls in critical cases. At your request, they will also contact your veterinarian. Specific treatment and information can be provided via fax.
Keep the poison control number in large, legible print with your other emergency telephone numbers. When you call, be prepared to give your name, address, and phone number; what your dog has gotten into (the amount and how long ago); your dog’s breed, age, sex, and weight; and what signs and symptoms the dog is showing. You can log onto www.aspca.org and click on “Animal Poison Control Center” for more information, including a list of toxic and nontoxic plants.

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English Bulldog - Common Health Problems

Your English Bulldog may never come down with any of these problems, but it’s a good idea to be aware of them just in case. If, at any time, your feel your dog is sick, call your veterinarian for guidance.

Animal Bites

If your English Bulldog has been bitten by a dog or another animal, clean the wound with soap and water (preferably with an antiseptic scrub) and call your veterinarian. Check the status of your dog’s rabies vaccination, as well.

Bee Stings and Spider Bites

Some English Bulldogs are allergic to these bites. Quick treatment is required if the dog’s head, face, and feet begin swelling and respiration becomes labored. You can give your dog Benadryl (an antihistamine). Give two 25-mg tablets for a fifty-pound dog. Then call your veterinarian right away.

Bleeding

Apply pressure and an ice bag to the site of the bleeding. The extent of the injury and the amount of bleeding are the criteria for the need for speed and professional treatment. If the blood is spurting, put pressure on it and call your veterinarian immediately for guidance. Never put on a tourniquet unless told to by your veterinarian, as this could result in the loss of the limb.
Vomiting blood, blood in the urine, and rectal bleeding all require an accurate diagnosis before treatment can begin. Take your dog to the veterinarian right away.

Bloat and Torsion

When a English Bulldog bloats, the stomach enlarges. Although it often happens after the dog has eaten and then drunk some water (which causes the food to expand), it can also happen when gases in the food expand. If the stomach is greatly enlarged, it can twist or turn, cutting off any avenue for the food, water, and gases to escape from the stomach. This is called torsion.
A dog in the midst of bloat will pace or act restless, may bite or paw at the abdomen, may have a swollen abdomen, and may attempt to vomit. Bloat alone can be life threatening, and torsion definitely is; the dog will go into shock shortly after the stomach turns. Veterinary care is needed immediately!

Why Spay and Neuter?
Breeding English Bulldogs is a serious undertaking that should only be part of a well-planned breeding program. Why? Because dogs pass on their physical and behavioral problems to their offspring. Even healthy well-behaved dogs can pass on problems in their genes.
Is your English Bulldog so sweet that you’d like to have a litter of puppies just like her? If you breed her to another dog, the pups will not have the same genetic heritage she has. Breeding her parents again will increase the odds of a similar pup, but even then, the puppies in the second litter could inherit different genes. In fact, there is no way to breed a dog to be just like another dog.
Meanwhile, thousands and thousands of dogs are killed in animal shelters every year simply because they have no homes. Casual breeding is a big contributor to this problem.
If you don’t plan to breed your dog, is it still a good idea to spay her or neuter him? Yes!
When you spay your female:
– You avoid her heat cycles, during which she discharges blood and scent.
– It greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra (an often fatal infection of the uterus) and uterine cancer.
– It prevents unwanted pregnancies.
– It reduces dominance behaviors and aggression.
When you neuter your male:
– It curbs the desire to roam and to fight with other males.
– It greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
– It helps reduce leg lifting and mounting behavior.
– It reduces dominance behaviors and aggression.

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Spaying and Neutering Your English Bulldog

It’s an old wives’ tale that female dogs must have a litter of puppies to develop and mature properly. Bulldogs who are spayed will develop to the full extent of their genetic heritage.
In addition, raising English Bulldogs is not for the faint of heart. Bulldogs, because of their large head, are rarely able to give birth naturally. Cesarean sections are the rule, not the exception, and as with any major surgery, this carries some risk. Many a English Bulldog breeder has had to hand-raise a litter of puppies because the mother dog either did not survive the surgery or refused to care for her puppies after the surgery.
Some research scientists believe the trauma of the heat cycle is almost as great as pregnancy and puppies. In this case, it is only fair that your female be relieved of this biannual bodily function by being spayed as early as possible.
Most veterinarians advise spaying before the first heat period. Discuss the options with your vet as soon as possible. There is some risk in spaying, but the risk is minimal when compared to the risks involved with pregnancy and birth, as well as the risks of cancer, pyometra, and unwanted pregnancy in an unspayed female.
Male dogs can be neutered at any point after about 4 months of age although many shelters are doing it as early as 8 to 10 weeks of age. Talk to your veterinarian and ask about the best time to neuter your male English Bulldog.
Neutered males are less likely to provoke fights with other males, are less likely to look for ways out of the yard to go find a female, and develop fewer bad habits that are caused by hormones. In addition, testicular cancer and other diseases of the reproductive system are prevented when you have your dog neutered.

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English Bulldog Internal Parasites (Part II)

Heartworms

Adult heartworms live in the upper heart and greater pulmonary arteries, where they damage the vessel walls. Poor circulation is the result, which damages other bodily functions, eventually causing death from heart failure.
The adult worms produce thousands of tiny larvae called microfilaria. These circulate throughout the bloodstream until they are sucked up by an intermediate host, a mosquito. The microfilaria go through the larval stages in the mosquito, and then are transferred back to another dog when the mosquito bites again.
English Bulldogs infected with heartworms can be treated if caught early. Unfortunately, the treatment itself can be risky and has killed some dogs. However, preventive medications are available that kill the larvae.
Heartworm infestation can be diagnosed by a blood test, and a negative result is required before starting the preventive.

Hookworms

Hookworms live their adult lives in the small intestines of dogs and other animals. They attach to the intestinal wall and suck blood. When they detach and move to a new location, the old wound continues to bleed because of the anti-coagulant the worm injects when it bites. Because of this, bloody diarrhea is usually the first sign of a problem.
Hookworm eggs are passed through the feces. Either they are picked up from the stools, as with roundworms, or, if conditions are right, they hatch in the soil and attach themselves to the feet of their new hosts, where they can burrow through the skin. They then migrate to the intestinal tract, where the cycle starts all over again.
People can pick up hookworms by walking barefoot in infected soil. In the Sunbelt states, children often pick up hookworm eggs when playing outside in the dirt or in a sandbox. Treatment, for both dogs and people, may have to be repeated.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall to absorb nutrients. They grow by creating new segments, and usually the first sign of an infestation is the ricelike segments found in the stools or on the dog’s coat near the rectum. Tapeworms are acquired when the dog chews a flea bite and swallows a flea, the intermediate host. Therefore, a good flea-control program is the best way to prevent a tapeworm infestation.
Whipworms
Adult whipworms live in the large intestines, where they feed on blood. The eggs are passed in the stool and can live in the soil for many years. If your Bulldog eats the fresh spring grass or buries her bone in the yard, she can pick up whip-worm eggs from the infected soil. If you garden, you can pick up eggs under your fingernails, infecting yourself if you touch your face.
Heavy infestations cause diarrhea, often watery or bloody. English Bulldog may appear thin and anemic, with a poor coat. Severe bowel problems may result. Unfortunately, whipworms can be difficult to detect, because the worms do not continually shed eggs. Therefore, a stool sample may be clear one day and show eggs the next day.

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English Bulldog Internal Parasites

Ascarids (Roundworms)

These long, white worms are common, especially in puppies, although they occasionally infest adult dogs and people. The adult female roundworm can lay up to 200,000 eggs a day, which are passed in the dog’s feces. Roundworms are transmitted only via the feces. Because of this, stools should be picked up daily and your dog should be prevented from investigating other dogs’ feces.
If treated early, roundworms are not serious. However, a heavy infestation can severely affect a dog’s health. English Bulldog puppies with roundworms will not thrive and will appear thin with a dull coat and a pot belly.
In people, roundworms can be more serious. Therefore, early treatment, regular fecal checks, and good sanitation are important, both for your English Bulldog’s continued good health and yours.

Giardia

This protozoal disease infects mammals and birds. The parasites live in the small intestines and are acquired when cysts are ingested from contaminated water.
Giardia is common in wild animals in many areas, so be careful if you take your English Bulldog walking in the wilderness. If she drinks out of the local spring or stream, she can pick up giardia, just as you can. Diarrhea is one of the first signs. If your dog has diarrhea and you and your dog have been out in the wilds, make sure you tell your veterinarian.

Vaccines

What vaccines dogs need and how often they need them has been a subject of controversy for several years. Researchers, health care professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and dog owners do not always agree on which vaccines each dog needs or how often booster shots must be given.
In 2008, the American Animal Hospital Association issued a set of vaccination guidelines and recommendations intended to help English Bulldog owners and veterinarians sort through much of the controversy and conflicting information. The guidelines designate four vaccines as core, or essential for every dog, because of the serious nature of the diseases and their widespread distribution. These are canine distemper virus (using a modified live virus or recombinant modified live virus vaccine), canine parvovirus (using a modified live virus vaccine), canine adenovirus-2 (using a modified live virus vaccine), and rabies (using a killed virus). The general recommendations for their administration (except rabies, for which you must follow local laws) are:
– Vaccinate English Bulldog puppies at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks, and 12-14 weeks.
– Give an initial “adult” vaccination when the dog is older than 16 weeks; two doses, three to four weeks apart, are advised, but one dose is considered protective and acceptable.
– Give a booster shot when the English Bulldog is 1 year old.
– Give a subsequent booster shot every three years, unless there are risk factors that make it necessary to vaccinate more or less often.
Noncore vaccines should only be considered for those dogs who risk exposure to a particular disease because of geographic area, lifestyle, frequency of travel, or other issues. They include vaccines against distemper-measles virus, canine parainfluenza virus, leptospirosis, Bordetella bronchiseptica, and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease).
Vaccines that are not generally recommended because the disease poses little risk to Bulldogs or is easily treatable, or the vaccine has not been proven to be effective, are those against giardia, canine coronavirus, and canine adenovirus-1.
Often, combination injections are given to Bulldog puppies, with one shot containing several core and noncore vaccines. Your veterinarian may be reluctant to use separate shots that do not include the noncore vaccines, because they must be specially ordered. If you are concerned about these noncore vaccines, talk to your vet.

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Keeping Your English Bulldog Healthy

The first step to having a healthy English Bulldog is to get a healthy puppy, born of healthy parents. The next step is to find a good veterinarian. Choose a veterinarian before you bring your puppy home. Set up an appointment with the veterinarian within seventy-two hours after you bring your new English Bulldog home. Take all the information the breeder had given you (immunizations, worm checks, diet) so that your vet can evaluate it and make a plan for your dog’s regular care. All this information will help the veterinarian establish a schedule to prevent problems rather than treat problems after they develop.

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English Bulldog - Mouth and Gums

If you start when your English Bulldog is a puppy, keeping his teeth clean can be easy. Take some gauze from your first-aid kit and wrap it around your index finger. Dampen it and dip it in baking soda. With your Bulldog on his back in your lap, take that baking soda and rub it over your dog’s teeth, working gently over each tooth, the inside and the outside, and into the gum line, taking care not to hurt the dog. Talk to him as you rub and praise him for his cooperation.
The rubbing action of the rough gauze and the chemical characteristics of the baking soda will help prevent plaque formation and will get rid of the bacteria that form on the teeth and gums.
Do two or three teeth and let your Bulldog have a drink. Then work on a couple more. You may even want to break it into several sessions, doing half or a quarter of the dog’s mouth at each session.

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English Bulldog Toenails

All English Bulldogs living the modern cultured, domestic, protected existence must have their nails trimmed. Nail trimming should begin almost immediately after birth. At least every week the tip of the nail should be trimmed.
The only problem is that English Bulldogs’ nails are black. Even the tips are black. Because of this, it will be hard to see the quick (the end of the blood supply to the nail). If you cut the quick, you’ll hurt your dog and the nail may bleed. The best thing to do, then, is remove just the tips and clip more frequently.

Making Your Environment Flea Free
If there are fleas on your dog, there are fleas in your home, yard, and car, even if you can’t see them. Take these steps to combat them.
In your home:
– Wash whatever is washable (the dog bed, sheets, blankets, pillow covers, slipcovers, curtains, etc.).
Vacuum everything else in your home – furniture, floors, rugs, every-thing. Pay special attention to the folds and crevices in upholstery, the cracks between floorboards, and the spaces between the floor and the baseboards. Flea larvae are sensitive to sunlight, so inside the house they prefer deep carpet, bedding, and cracks and crevices.
– When you’re done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away – in an out¬side garbage can.
– Use a nontoxic flea-killing powder to treat your carpets (but remember, it does not control fleas elsewhere in the house). The powder stays deep in the carpet and kills fleas (using a form of boric acid) for up to a year.
– If you have a particularly serious flea problem, consider using a fogger or long-lasting spray to kill any adult and larval fleas, or having a professional exterminator treat your home.
In your car:
– Take out the floor mats and hose them down with a strong stream of water, then hang them up to dry in the sun.
Wash any towels, blankets, or other bedding you regularly keep in the car.
– Thoroughly vacuum the entire interior of your car, paying special attention to the seams between the bottom and back of the seats.
– When you’re done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away – in an out¬side garbage can.
In your yard:
– Flea larvae prefer shaded areas that have plenty of organic material and moisture, so rake the yard thoroughly and bag all the debris in tightly sealed bags.
– Spray your yard with an insecticide that has residual activity for at least thirty days. Insecticides that use a form of boric acid are non-toxic. Some products contain an insect growth regulator (such as fenoxycarb) and need to be applied only once or twice a year.
– For an especially difficult flea problem, consider having an exterminator treat your yard.
– Keep your yard free of piles of leaves, weeds, and other organic debris. Be especially careful in shady, moist areas, such as under bushes.

For clipping, you will need a nail scissors or a guillotine type clipper, or you can buy an electric grinder. The grinder takes more time, but if the dog is cooperative, there is less danger of grinding the nail too short.
Start as soon as you get your English Bulldog puppy. At first, trim just the very tips so you do not cause any pain. If you are lucky, the dog will accept this procedure reluctantly. But you can get it done. I’ve only had one dog who would present his paws to have his nails trimmed.
If you cannot trim the nails, then either your veterinarian or a professional groomer should do it. You must keep nails trimmed or your dog’s feet will become misshapen. A daily long walk on a rough surface (sidewalks work well) will make nail trimming necessary less often.

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