Preventing Health Problems in

French Bulldogs

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Please remember when choosing a breeder the color of a dog should not be the focus. The overall health and longevity should be foremost. 

All French Bull Dogs parents should be examined for diseases.

We concentrate on the major health issues in the French Bull Dogs. Patella, Eyes, Heart, Thyroid, Genetics 

Why genetic testing????  Why have we incorporated this into our breeding process in recent years.......

Understanding and paying attention to hereditary diseases can prevent problems in offspring.

A example: The parents may be cleared by a ophthalmologist.  The parent's may never have a problem with an eye exam. That doesn't mean that your puppy can not go blind. Surprised?   The reason.......There are genetic traits if not matched up correctly between the SIRE and DAM will cause a genetic abnormality in their offspring. These are all separate genetic eye disorders and will not affect each other.  

Patella: 

The patella, or kneecap, as you might know, is a small, sesamoid bone that is buried in the tendon of the quadriceps muscles (thigh) of your bulldog’s knee joint, and it attaches to the top front of the tibia bone, just below the knee. MPL is better known as a small breed orthopedic problem.That is why our dogs screened. 

Progressive retinal atrophy - crd4/cord1, PRA-cord1, PRA-crd4, PRA-crd4/cord1: Recessive

Progressive retinal Atrophy, cone-Rod dystrophy 4 (PRA-crd4) is an inherited eye disease affecting dogs. PRA-crd4 occurs as a result of degeneration of both rod and cone type Photoreceptor Cells of the Retina, which are important for vision in dim and bright light, respectively. Affected dogs can show symptoms of vision loss or have signs of retinal disease on veterinary ophthalmologic exam by 3 years of age. However, age of onset varies significantly in PRA-crd4 affected dogs, and has been reported from 1 to 15 years of age. Mutations in the RPGRIP1 gene show Incomplete Penetrance, meaning that not all dogs inheriting two copies of the Mutation develop clinical disease. This suggests that other unknown genetic or environmental factors may play a role in modifying disease development and progression. Although progression tends to be relatively slow, most affected dogs (especially those with an early age of onset) will progress to complete blindness.

Canine multifocal retinopathy BEST1/VMD2: Recessive

Multifocal Retinopathy 1 is an inherited disorder of the Retina affecting several breeds of dog. Affected dogs typically present between 11 and 16 weeks of age with multiple discrete circular areas of retinal detachment with underlying fluid accumulation that are visible on an eye exam performed by a veterinarian. These blister-like lesions are typically found in both eyes and can appear gray, tan, orange or pink and vary in number, size and location. Progression of retinal changes is usually slow and new lesions are not noted after 6 to 12 months of age. Occasionally as affected dogs age, lesions appear to heal and are no longer visible on an eye exam. Generally the dog’s vision is not affected although vision loss has been described in some cases of multifocal retinopathy 1.

Eye test recommended:

There is some confusion about Cataracts.

On a ophthalmologist eye exam you may get an idea whether they suspect a cataract is genetic or not, however there is no genetic test to prove this per researchers. There is the belief that the inherited type is more common for both eyes to be affected and on the triangle of the back of the eye.  After speaking to several genetic labs they haven't determined the links to produce a genetic test.  Researchers haven't determined if cataracts are a recessive or dominant trait.  There are so many causes of cataracts that is why you will see many breeders still using a dog with a cataract for breeding. This is done in the USA and all over the world. The OFA has now formed a special committee to study cataracts.

Causes:

  • They can be a inherited condition although as of yet researchers haven't found if cataracts are a recessive or dominant trait.  There is no genetic test to eliminate.

  • Diabetes is a common and preventable cause.

  • The aging process of any dog can cause.

  • Drug toxicity and other underlying eye conditions.

  • Sodium Selenite is normal for cell function but in high doses can causes due to toxicity.

  • Trauma to the eye.

  • Electric shock.

  • Inflammation of the eye's uvea (uveitis).

  • Abnormally low levels of calcium in blood (hypocalcemia) at some point in the dogs life or poor diet.

Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs.

Brain and Spinal Cord (Neurologic) Recessive

Degenerative Myelopathy is an inherited neurologic disorder caused by a Mutation of the SOD1 gene known to be carried by French bulldogs. 

The white matter tracts of the spinal cord contain fibers that transmit movement commands from the brain to the limbs and sensory information from the limbs to the brain. Bulldogs are known to develop degenerative myelopathy associated with this mutation. DM, on its own, is not a painful disease.  This is a progressive degenerative disorder of the spinal cord that can cause muscle wasting and gait abnormalities.  The first signs of neural degeneration appear in the nerves that innervate the hind limbs. However, compensatory movements for a weak hind end can cause the dog to develop pain in other areas of his body such as his neck, shoulders, and front limbs. SYMPTOMS DM typically comes on slowly, almost imperceptibly. Promise Land does bred to prevent this.

 

Symptoms generally occur as follows:

  •   Initial

    • Loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs

    • Wobbling when walking and/or rear feet knuckling over or dragging

    • Mild hind end weakness such as difficulty in: walking up steps, squatting to defecate, getting into the

      car

    •  Can first occur in one hind limb and then the other

  • Intermediate

    • Limbs become weak; dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing

    • Weakness progresses until dog is unable to walk in the hind limbs

  •  Advanced

    • Loss of urinary and fecal continence

    • Weakness in front limbs

    • In general the dog will become near-paralysis of all four legs and widespread muscle wasting. 

Hyperuricosuria and Hyperuricemia: Recessive

Hyperuricosuria is an inherited condition of the urinary system affecting several breeds of dog. The SLC2A9 gene codes for a protein that allows the kidneys to transport uric acid from the urine. Dogs with mutations in both copies of the SLC2A9 gene are predisposed to have elevated levels of uric acid in the urine, hence the name hyperuricosuria. Uric acid can form crystals and/or stones (uroliths) in the urinary tract. Dogs with hyperuricosuria most commonly present with symptoms of recurrent urinary tract inflammation, which include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and straining to urinate. They may also have loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting and pain. Urinary stones in the bladder can cause urinary tract infections or more seriously, blockage of the Urethra. Both male and female dogs can be affected, but obstruction of urine flow is more common in males due to differences in anatomy. Although an x-ray can be used to exclude other types of stones, urate stones cannot typically be seen using x-rays and must be evaluated by ultrasound. Not all dogs with mutations in both copies of the SLC2A9 gene will have symptoms of disease, though they will have increased uric acid excretion in the urine.

Chondrodystrophy with Intervertebral Disc Disease Risk Factor (CDDY with IVDD): Dominant

IVDD is an inherited disease affecting many dog breeds.  This is actually part of the breed itself and how they created some small breeds which means you can't removed it is what gives them there size. In many small breeds this variant is found in nearly all dogs.

IVDD there are other genetic and environmental factors (such as weight, mobility, and family history) that contribute to an individual dog’s risk of developing.  
Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) refers to the relative proportion between a dog’s legs and body, where in the legs are shorter and the body longer. For CDDY, dogs with one copy of this variant may have mild proportional differences in their leg length. Dogs with two copies of this variant will often have visually longer bodies and shorter legs. 
 
Specific for French bulldogs. I contacted genetic labs to ask about this. In french bulls  28% have one copy of IVDD, 68% have two copies of IVDD and they believe less than 3% in the world have no copies of IVDD. 

Heart Problems: Recommended Tests OFA one of these two tests:

Congenital Cardiac Exam - Echocardiagrams recommended but not required
Advanced Cardiac Exam - Echocardiograms recommended but not required

Congenital heart disease in dogs is a malformation of the heart or great vessels. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at birth and may develop more fully during perinatal and growth periods. Many congenital heart defects are thought to be genetically transmitted from parents to offspring; however, the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations. The most common congenital cardiovascular defects can be grouped into several anatomic categories. These anatomic diagnoses include:

  • Malformation of the atrioventricular valves

  • Malformation of the ventricular outflow leading to obstruction of blood flow

  • Defects of the cardiac septa (shunts)

  • Abnormal development of the great vessels or other vascular structures

  • Complex, multiple, or other congenital disorders of the heart, pericardium, or blood vessels

Thyroid:

The thyroid is a gland in your dog’s neck that produces the hormone thyroxine (T4) along with various other hormones.

These hormones play a huge role in your dog’s metabolism and can cause major problems if they’re not produced at normal levels.

The thyroid is like the thermostat of the body.So we check our dogs thermostats before breeding them to make sure not to slow.

Hypothyroidism causes your dog’s metabolism to slow down, which can result in the following symptoms.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in French Bulldogs

  • Lethargy

  • Exercise intolerance

  • Mental dullness

  • Weight gain without a change in appetite

  • Obesity

  • Cold intolerance

  • Changes in coat and skin, like increased shedding, hair thinning, and hair loss

  • Thickening of the skin

  • Reproductive disturbances in intact dogs Hypothyroidism generally responds well to medication.