Bulldog Deaths on Airplanes

The government has forced the airlines to release information on the number
of pet deaths during air travel and the outlook is very grim for Bulldogs.
Of the 122 deaths over 50% were flat-nosed breeds with the Bulldog leading
the pack at 25 deaths.  Pugs were next with 11, followed by Frenchies.

Personally I would never fly my Bulldog in the cargo area of an airplane.  My
cousin was a pilot who first alerted me to the high number of dog deaths that
were never released to the public.

For the reasons why a Bulldog is so susceptible to death, read this FAQS page
from the American Veterinarian Medical Association:
http://www.avma.org/animal_health/short-nosed_dogs_air_travel_faq.asp

Here’s an excerpt:

“brachycephalic breeds are prone to respiratory problems because, although they have shortened noses, they still have to pack all of the same anatomical structures in there that dogs with longer snouts do. Just because their snouts are shorter doesn’t mean they’re missing any parts – they still have to pack nasal passages, sinuses, and a hard palate into that small area. It’s sort of like moving from a house to an apartment and having to put the same amount of furniture in the apartment – it’s all there, but it can be a bit cramped. The situation is worsened if the dog is overweight or obese.”

And one more – I couldn’t have said it better:

“As a result of the tighter space, they are prone to problems such as smaller-than-normal nostrils, a longer-than-normal soft palate, and a narrowed trachea (or windpipe). Because of these abnormalities, they don’t breathe as efficiently as dogs with normal-length snouts and can have difficulty cooling off when they’re playing or exercising, or if they’re stressed or overheated. And when they’re stressed, their airway can actually collapse (either partially or completely) and cut off their airflow.”

You can also watch this related short video:
http://www.avmatv.org/media.cfm?c=761&m=3503&s=68&

It’s just another one of those Bulldog things.  When I travel with Archie, I
drive.  Mostly I just leave him at home where he’s happiest with the same
reliable dog sitter every time I leave.

divider

Signs of Bulldog Overheating in the Summer

It’s the long hot summer and it’s time to think about your bulldog’s inability to cool off. Nothing makes me angrier than to see some ignorant human walking a bulldog down the black pavement in hot weather. Dogs partially cool off through the pads of their feet, so think about this.

Pavement can get upwards of 120 degrees in the sun. I’ve seen many bulldogs panting so hard their tongue is coming out of their head five or more inches in an attempt to cool off. If a bulldog gets to this degree of overheating death is possible. And it may occur a few hours later so the owner doesn’t “know what happened”. This sad scenario is one I’ve heard of numerous times.

My Bulldog Archie is a very active dog. I walk him two miles in the morning (earlier and earlier as the days warm up, making sure it’s below 60 degrees in the morning) and again in the evening if it’s not too hot. He’s trim and fit. The exercise is a bonding experience for me and him and it also helps work off excess energy.

Not all Bulldogs are like Archie. My Vivy could not have done this. Her breathing was too compromised. Only you can determine if your Bulldog can tolerate walking in the warm weather. Archie has a little longer snout and he’s able to breathe better than many other Brachycephalic dogs.

A lot of a dog’s cooling mechanism is in the snout, not through the skin as in us. The long snout allows air to travel over the tongue and by evaporating saliva cools down a dog. Since the Bulldog breeds have short noses and elongated palates they do not have this capacity to cool off properly. The air is slowed down, the throat swells causing more distress, thickening saliva and “foamy stuff” which further compromises breathing. This can lead to heat stroke and death.

If you have any doubts about overheating don’t take your bulldog out at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you want to exercise your dog in the heat, here are a few tips. It’s June in California and it can get up to 80 degrees or more so I take him early in the morning when the temperature is around 60 degrees.

I take a bottle of water and wet him down on his back, belly, sides, and rear end, avoiding his face and wrinkles since water will make his folds get infected. An option is what I call the “wet t-shirt” routine. Put your dog in a child’s t-shirt or a cooling blanket from a pet store and soak it in water to keep him or her cool.

I keep a close eye on his breathing. If he’s panting too rapidly I let him take a little rest in the shade.

Speaking of shade, I only walk him in a shady area. Direct sun is way too intense for an English Bulldog in the summer months.

If your dog’s tongue starts to protrude out the mouth really far, in contrast to normal tongue panting, it is a sure sign of overheating. Do not let this happen. If it does you need to cool the dog down immediately with more cold water and don’t let him walk anymore. Carry him to your air conditioned car or home immediately.

Another sure sign of overheating is when a Bulldog drops to the ground. This requires immediate attention and cooling.

Another sign of overheating is vomiting. If your bully is laying in the sun on a hot day (I wonder why they like to do this!) and starts to pant and gets up and throws up, she is in trouble. Take her inside and cool her down. Don’t just let her stay outside without keeping an eye on her when it’s hot because sure enough she’s going to go lay on the patio in the sun.

your bulldog pal,
Jan

divider

Bulldog Snoring and Elongated Palate

Hi Jan,
We had traded a few emails about a month ago regarding my then 7 (now he’s 8) English Bulldog named Tyrus. After reading your book and doing some research online about the breed and there breathing problems, I was wondering if it wouldn’t be to risky to at least have tyrus examined for any of those type of problems? i.e palate issue, etc…. Jan, His snoring is soooooooooo loud, seems to have gotten louder by the day. He has no other issues. No regurgitation, vomiting, none of that. But his breathing and snoring when he sleeps is a whole different story. Sometimes I feel I have to wake him up if I don’t here him. He’s always snored, never this loud. Is this just part of him getting a little older? Is it worth getting him examined for these issues? I’m so confused. I don’t want to have to put him through that, but I also would feel awful if there was something going on that I could have possibly looked into. Thank you for your time in reading this email, I know i’m like a worry wart, but this guy is my best buddy, and I want to do the right thing for him.

Chris

Hi Chris,


My personal opinion is that he’s probably fine, just getting older, since you say he
does not suffer fainting spells, gagging, coughing, or other palate issues, doesn’t get
blue gums or tongue when exercising, foam at the mouth or other signs of overheating.

All Bulldogs have elongated palates.  It’s a condition caused by breeding the nose/snout back into the head for bull baiting.  So the palate and tongue are forced back into the head. The Bulldog’s problems comes from not being able to cool off like a normal dog does by air passing over the tongue/palate. It can get worse with age.

Here are a couple links to more information on this Brachycephalic Syndrome:

My Vivy snored so loud I would awaken when she stopped!  The surgical procedures have improved since I had her and many vets as well as bulldog owners think this something to do to all bulldogs.  I tend to think if the dog is able to function well (no bulldog does well in the heat) then they should not be tampered with.  If the breathing issues are so bad that health is compromised then the surgery would be necessary.  You would usually know this at a pretty early age.  Since Tyrus is older and has been healthy I’d be inclined to forego any surgery.

You certainly can take him in for an evaluation but bear in mind a surgeon likes to perform surgery!

Keep me posted,

your bulldog pal,
Jan
divider

My Bulldog is Panting A Lot

Jan,

I’ve noticed this past few days, she’s been panting more so than usual.
Since I live in Arizona, I always leave her inside with the air condition at 79;
which I think is not to cold or to warm for her until I get home.
Should I take her to the vet and have her checked out or is this normal?

Jessica

———

Hi Jessica,

79 is ok for an English Bulldog that is just resting at home
while you’re at work, but it’s a bit hot if she gets excited
or runs around.

Heatstroke can occur in a bulldog at this temperature
if they run around too much and overexert.  It is very
difficult for a bulldog to cool down because they do not
have a normal nose, which provides cooling for a dog.

You could try setting the temp at 75 and see if she does better.
When you come home she gets excited and that can make
her pant more, especially when it’s hot.

If you turn down the A/C and she continues to pant, you could have
her checked out.  An underlying heart condition can make a
bulldog pant with little exertion.  But in your case, I suspect
it may be due to excitement at seeing you and nothing to worry about.
your bulldog pal,
Jan

divider

Does My Bulldog Need Sunscreen?

It’s springtime! That means we go outside more with our bullies.
I walk Archie two to three times a day for about 20 minutes each.
And now that the days are getting longer and the sun is getting
brighter as summer approaches, it may be time to consider sunblock
for our dogs as well as ourselves.

I tend to take Archie before 10am and after 4pm so I don’t use
sunscreen for him or for me. But if your dog is going to be out
mid-day or lays in the sun a lot during the day, you might consider
sunscreen. If your bulldog is white or has thin hair, you can
apply it all over. But all dogs can use it on the nose and ears.

Do not use human sunscreen on your dog – it is too strong for them.
Personally, I have a hard time with most sunscreens over sfp 15
myself. I get a rash or my skin gets rough. A dog is more
sensitive to the chemicals than we are, so it’s best to get a dog
formula.

Doggles has come out with a new spray sunscreen called Pet
Sunscreen. It’s sfp 15. It’s available online and at select
retail outlets. I found it at a reasonable price at
http://www.naturalpets.com/petsunscreen.html but you could just do
a search for it.

If your bulldog goes out in the water, sunscreen is a good idea
since the water intensifies the effect of the sun’s rays. There
are some waterproof brands out there.

A word of caution: if your dog licks off the sunscreen, it is
probably not very good for him or her. If you notice any rash or
unusual symptoms develop after you use the sunscreen, stop use
immediately.

My best advise is to avoid the intense sun hours and limit your
dog’s time in the sun, since bulldogs are prone to heat stroke
anyway. But a little sunscreen every now and then for mid day sun
is probably ok.

There’s a good article on general dog tips for the upcoming summer
months at the AKC site:

http://www.akc.org/public_education/summer_safety.cfm

I don’t want you to keep your bullie in the house all summer.
Enjoy some sun with your bulldog – sun is really good for hair
growth and skin health. It’s a natural anti-bacterial. And it
provides needed vitamin D. Just 20 minutes a day in the sun is
beneficial for all kinds of skin conditions.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

divider

Bulldog Panting: Phlegm, Choking and Turning Blue. Heat Stroke?

This email series is taken from a much longer thread from one of a few
Yahoo Groups on Bulldogs that I participate in, called Bulldogfx.

It concerns a danger to your bulldog concerning the elongated soft
palate.  Unfortunately many bulldogs suffer health problems because
of their unusual palate.  Most problems arise when the bulldog gets
overheated, but as you will see it can just come on suddenly.
Hi All,

I had to rush Joe to the vet today because is really flemy he tried to vomit went through the whole motion and could not breath as he was trying to vomit he turned Blue then really white he fell over it was Very scary it seemed forever but was only seconds. I did not know what to do except to open his mouth and try to pull this egg white flem stuff out he never did vomit. The vet told me it is because of his pallet which he will be going in for I do have some questions for the vet I am waiting for him to call me I did not take him to my Bulldog vet today. Is there any specific questions I should ask I do not think this vet does Laser is that good or bad?? they gave me pred to give him prior to having this done 5 days worth. Any suggestions would be Great..

Jen

——

Hi Jen,

I’m sorry to hear about Joe, but the good news
is current vet surgical techniques are really good.

When this happens you can squirt lemon juice in his mouth
to cut the phlegm and help him breathe. The lemon needs
to be full strength.

It works because phlegm has a lot of glucose in it
and the lemon is acidic so it separates it from the
other proteins in the phlegm.

I had this happen with Vivy a lot, usually when she
overheated from too much exercise. She had a very
loud snore which is a sign of palate problems.

The bulldog gets hot and cannot cool
down like a normal dog (through the nose) so they
start to pant harder in an attempt to cool off.

As they struggle to breathe the tongue goes back into
the airway because of the elongated palate. This produces
phlegm and inflamed airways, which cause more severe
panting and the cycle can turn deadly.

Blue lips means oxygen is not getting into the lungs.
It is definitely a sign of hyperthermia (overheating)
and is a very serious sign of upper airway collapse.

I never had the palate surgery done
because in those days it was knife only and many
bulldogs died from the post surgical swelling that occurs.

The laser surgery is much better because it cauterizes
while it cuts and there is less swelling.

Now vets have a lot more experience in this palate surgery.
And I don’t mean to say a surgeon who uses a knife is bad,
just that given the option I’d choose laser.

The prednisone does reduce swelling but it’s a steroid
and should be used as little as possible.

And I’d definitely have him under 24 hour watch because
the first 24 hours are the most critical.

Good luck, Joe should be better soon, and keep us posted.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

—–

Hi All,

When Joe did this whole vomit thing he was sitting watching me take down the xmas tree along with Luci , Bill  he was not excited or anything just got up and started to get sick

Jen

—-

Hi All,

Joe goes in on Weds for his pallet surgery the vet told me to put him on pred Three days Prior to?his procedure. I know Pred makes them urinate more drink more hungrier and all that stuff But does it make them Sleepy Joe has been sleeping all day today and yesterday ?? I started him on it yesterday. I have used pred before But I do not recall ever having a dog so sleepy on it??

Jen & Bullies Houston Tx

—-

Hi Jen,

It usually has the opposite effect.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a601102.html#side-effects

But meds do work in unusual ways in some dogs.

I’d suggest you ask the vet to check to make sure Joe hasn’t contracted aspiration pneumonia when he had the ‘choking’ episode.  Pneumonia is slow to manifest and it would make him really tired when it starts to spread in his lungs.  The other symptom of it is he would have difficulty getting comfortable.

Since he wasn’t exerting himself when he had that episode, I also wonder if he had an allergic reaction to something that made his throat swell.

I always try to err on the side of caution with our bullies.

Keep us posted.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

divider