Overweight Bulldog Cannot Breathe

I need some advise…. For some time now our bulldog Buster has been suffering from breathlessness when doing very little exercise, sores on his feet and NOT wanted to go out. He is picked on by other dogs often when he does go out even though he does nothing to justify being picked on.  He has obviously taken him to the vet for answers and we have found out he is approximately 36kg, apparently quite a lot overweight. From taking him to the vet he was referred to a specialist based on strange blood results, an xray showing a potential enlarged heart and a echo something or other showing a potentially strange heartbeat. The specialist is saying his heart is perfect, nothing to worry about, he does not have heart/lung worm which he is being treated with as a precaution but thinks he may have a problem with his throat and possibly needs his soft palette reducing to help with his breathing. My question is, should I give him time to lose some weight or go ahead with the recommended surgery of throat and soft palette surgery?  If he wasn’t so over weight as has been suggested would he even be presenting with the symptoms in the first place. I don’t want to rush into surgery if all he needs to do is lose weight…..

Anita

Hi Anita,

Some Bulldogs have breathing that is so compromised it becomes a danger to their health.  If Buster cannot get enough oxygen due to soft palate problems then he may need surgery.  If he suffers fainting spells or his gums are constantly bluish in tone you may not want to wait.

If he is not in immediate danger then I’d recommend you put him on a diet and see how he does when he’s a proper weight.  Cut down his food and give him NO treats unless they are vegetables.  An overweight Bulldog has extra stress put on his heart which when combined with an already compromised breathing/cooling system is a recipe for disaster.  Don’t feel bad if he looks hungry – you are saving his life.

Consult your specialist about how urgent his breathing problems are.  From what you say it sounds like his main problem is he’s overweight and it’s true that a correct weight may reduce his distress significantly.

Here’s a photo of my Archie – you can see his waist indents just behind his ribs. You want to be able to see a waist on him when you look down from above. I exercise him daily and keep him trim.

A healthy Bulldog has a waist

As he loses weight you’ll be able to walk him more.  Start slowly and stop if he starts to breathe heavily.

Concerning his being picked on. Is Buster neutered?  I have found that intact dogs do get picked on by other dogs.  Otherwise he may be timid or lack confidence (each dog has it’s unique personality)  and they sense that.  A trainer could help you work on this.

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Hives in Bulldog – What Do I Do?

Jan, I am enjoying your e-mails and love learning about my bully!  Last night he got hives, which he still has today.  I’m not sure if it was because of the terrible storms we’ve been having or if he found something old and disagreeable to eat in my teenager’s bedroom.  Do you have any thoughts on hives?

Thanks,

Carol

Hi Carol,

Hives are an allergic reaction that manifests in the skin.  They show up as small elevated areas that are warm and inflamed.  They usually appear quickly after contact and sometimes go away quickly when your dog is removed from the source.

Hives can be caused by contact with an allergen such as harsh chemicals in the carpet  or seasonal pollens from trees or grasses.  They can also be caused by food, insect bites, or medication.

It’s important to notice what your Bullie was doing before the incident.  If you can find the source you simply keep him away from it.  For example if his bed was washed in a new detergent that could be the source.  Only use “free and clear” laundry detergents.

For treatment you can give him a small dose of Benadryl (pink box, smallest dose – do not buy liquid).  This may clear it up.  If not you may need to take him to your vet for a cortisone shot if he has a really severe case.

You can also bathe him in cool water and oatmeal shampoo to remove any allergens that may be on his coat.  Do not use hot water as the hives are already ‘hot’ and this can aggravate them.

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Beware of Blue or Chocolate or Black and Tan French Bulldogs!

Want a blue or chocolate French Bulldog? Think again!  This warning applies to all so called “special” Bulldog breeds like “miniature” or “black English Bulldogs”.   Read this post from Frog Dog:

Due to requests, I’m compiling a list of “Bad French Bulldog Breeder Warning Signs”, which you’ll find serialized here, and on the new! improved! French Bulldog Z website.

Warning Sign:Breeder offers “rare” colors, such as Blue, Chocolate, Black and Tan

Why is this an issue? “Rare” colors are nothing more or less than a marketing scam. There really is nothing rare or unusual about any of the colors listed. In actual fact, they are uncommon simply because ethical breeders choose not to breed for them, because they are ‘DQs’ a show term which is short for ‘disqualification’.  Dogs in DQ colors cannot be shown in conformation show events, thus breeders who compete in conformation and who register their dogs with their country’s body of registry are unlikely to intentionally breed for them.

Additionally, most ethical breeders choose to belong to their national or regional breed clubs, and almost all French Bulldog clubs do not allow intentional breeding of DQ colors by their members.

Any breeder can, by accident, get a puppy of a DQ color in a litter. Reputable breeders simply place these puppies as pets, for the same price as any other puppy. In fact, past breeders who had DQ colors appear would usually place the puppies for free, since their color was considered undesirable.

By pushing these colors as ‘rare’,  Fad Color breeders are attempting to inflate their value, and their price. They want you to become convinced that these puppy have some sort of value added, by virtue of their color, and that this makes them worth a higher price.

They are taking advantage of the naivete of novice owners, who might be attracted to the idea of owning something ‘unique’, and who don’t understand the truth behind ‘fad’ colors.These breeders understand full well that they are scamming you into paying a higher price for a puppy that, years ago, would have been given away for free. Many of them brag, in private, about how the ‘stupid pet people‘ are ‘paying off their mortgages twenty years early‘ actual quote from a private email that was shared with me.

Some fad colors have been linked to health conditions, specifically, Blues with a condition called color dilution alopecia this condition is so common in Blue dogs of every breed that it is often referred to as “Blue Dog Alopecia”.CDA can result in hair loss and chronic skin inflammation. This inflammation can lead to skin ruptures, cracks and injuries, leaving the dogs afflicted by it prone to Staph infections, or even MRSA.

In Collie puppies, blue dogs an suffer from an immune linked disorder which can cause them to die within the first few weeks after birth.Early breeders noted all of these factors, and declared “Blue”, “Mouse” and “Grey” all of which are now believed to be the same, genetically in French Bulldogs to be a disqualification because they did not want to see breeding stock afflicted by these devastating conditions.Only a breeder who truly cares about nothing more than the money would resurrect them, at the potential detriment to the breed, and to the puppies produced.

A well thought out breeding program, in French Bulldogs or any other breeds, is essentially a pyramid.The base of our pyramid is our stable foundation – health and temperament. They are the base on which all else must balance. Above that, we put conformation, then above that movement which requires both proper health and proper conformation to exist. Above that, we put fanciful preferences, like color or pattern.

Imagine, now, if we invert that pyramid, and try to balance our ENTIRE breeding program on that tiny, unimportant tip? We will never be able to achieve balance, symmetry and harmony in our dogs, and our pyramid will crumble into a heap of unhealthy, improperly conformed, ill tempered dogs.Color fad breeders don’t care if their breeding program crumbles or fails, because, by the time it does, they will be on to the next new money making scheme. They will leave the breed, and the owners who bought from them, to fend for themselves.

via French Bulldog Breeder Warning Signs, Part One – Fad Colors : Frogdog Blog.

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