French Bulldog Health Issues
There are several congenital diseases and conditions to which French Bulldogs are susceptible, although they are still considered among the healthiest of the Bull Breeds. Frenchies can suffer from Von Willebrand's disease (VWD), a bleeding disorder that is also found in humans and is similar to Hemophilia, which can impede their clotting. In conjunction to this, French Bulldogs may also suffer from thyroid condition. Many breeders follow a program of testing younger dogs for VWD, and only testing for thyroid at that time if the VWD factor is low. In this program, the breeder tests thyroid again just prior to using the dog for breeding. Other breeders test both VWD and thyroid at the same time. French Bulldogs suffer from Brachycephalic syndrome, which is what creates the flat faced appearance of the Frenchie. As a result, one of the most common defects in French Bulldogs is an elongated soft palate or cleft palete. Puppies affected with cleft palate are generally put down at birth, as it is generally considered to be an almost impossible condition to correct. Elongated soft palete can manifest as anything from a mild condition causing labored breathing, to severe a condition that can cause the affected dog to pass out from moderate exercise. Frenchies may also have a tendency towards eye issues. Cherry eye or everted third eyelid, has been known to occur, although it is more common in (English) Bulldogs and Pug dogs. Glaucoma, retinal fold dysplasia, corneal ulcers and juvenile cataracts are also conditions which have been known to afflict French bulldogs. Screening of prospective breeding candidates through CERF - the Canine Eye Registration Foundation - can help to eliminate instances of these diseases in offpsring. The skin folds under the eyes of the French bulldog must be cleaned regularly and kept dry in order to avoid fold infections. In extremely severe cases of persistent fold infections, some veterinarians have performed fold removal surgeries.
French bulldogs can also suffer from a condition called megaesophagus, a term which collectively describes several esophageal disorders and malformations in any combination from single-to-double or multiple. One of the more serious complications in a dog affected with megaesophagus is passive regurgitation, in which the affected dog vomits up food or phlegm after eating or exercise. Passive regurgitation can frequently result in aspiration pneumonia.
Another result of the compacted air way of the French Bulldog is their inability to effectively regulate temperature. While a regular canine may suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may be lethal. It is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times, and that they always have access to fresh water and shade. French Bulldogs frequently require Caesarean section to give birth. As well, many French Bulldog stud dogs are incapable of naturally breeding, requiring breeders to undertake artificial insemination of bitches (female dogs). French bitches can also suffer from erratic or 'silent' heats, which may be a side effect of thyroid diseaseor impaired thyroid function. Thyroid disease may also be responsible for some of the skin conditions which afflict some Frenchies. Skin allergies, obsessive foot licking, and interdigital cysts have been known to affect some French Bulldogs. French Bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back and spinal diseases, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the Bulldog Breed. This condition is also referred to as chondrodysplasia. Some breeders feel that only dogs that have been X-rayed and checked for spinal anomalies should be used in a breeding program, but this is a difficult position to take sides on. While it is true that no dog affected with a spinal disease should be used in a breeding program, there is a great deal of variance in the appearance of a French Bulldog's spine as compared to, for example, a Labrador Retriever. If possible, such decisions should be left to either a Vet or breeder who has seen quite a few Bulldog Breed Spinal Xrays, to avoid eliminating dogs unnecessarily.
Please do your research before committing to this (or any) breed.