I have spent a fortune at the vet this past month. My
Olde English is 1 1/2 years old. She has started gagging (like trying
to clear her throat or puke? Sounds like a bark) and coughing. This
goes on basically 24/7. The vet first gave her injections and benadryl
100 mg. 3 times a day. Now another steroid and hydroxizine 25 2x a day.
She is getting WORSE. I don’t know what else it is.

Amy

—–answer——

Hi Amy,

Your english bulldog is being treated as if she had an allergic reaction to
something in her environment.  If she does not have an allergy, steroids
and anti-histamines will have no effect on her gagging.

At a year and a half she’s just reaching maturity. She could have a congenital
problem with her elongated palate. Does her tongue and the inside of her mouth
start to turn blue? If so, she may be a candidate for palate surgery. This type
of surgery is not to be taken lightly but sometimes is the only way to cure this
condition. It’s called bracycephalic syndrome and the dog literally chokes on
her own palate and throat.
Here’s an overview of what is involved in this:
http://www.acvs.org/AnimalOwners/HealthConditions/SmallAnimalTopics/BrachycephalicSyndrome/

Or she may be experiencing problems with her esophagus. There are two
conditions that plague bulldogs: megasopagus and esophogeal motility
disorder. You can read more about them on my Q&A blog:
http://bulldoghealth.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/bulldog-megasphagus-and-esophageal-motility-disorder/

I hope this helps. Please write with any more questions.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Hi,
Our English Bulldog is named Rusty and tonight he (all of a sudden) seemed to be swelling with welts. On top of his head, legs, mouth. He was perfectly fine and we noticed his mouth was turning a little red then the welts. He’s acting pretty fine, panting quite a lot. This happened two weeks ago, too. We took him to the vet and they didn’t have a clue. Gave him something for the swelling and an antibiotic. We stopped giving him the meds a few days later b/c he seemed fine. Weird.
Thanks.
Paula

——answer———

Hi Paula,

This sounds to me like your English Bulldog is having a sudden
allergic reaction. The red mouth and then the welts sounds like
he got stung by a bee, or got into something – dogs always
explore with their mouths – and then developed hives. The panting is also
consistent with an allergic reaction which can cause breathing difficulties.

If not an insect bite, is there something else in his environment that he
could be allergic to? Even carpet cleaner can cause allergic reactions
in bulldogs.

He could even be alergic to something in his food. Did the welts appear
after he ate? A dog can be fine with food for a while and then develop
the allergic reaction.

If Rusty is getting into something (whether an insect or an allergen) and
he has this reaction, be aware that the more exposure to the toxin, the
more severe his symptoms will become. The classic example of this
is a human who develops an allergic reaction to bee stings until they
become life threatening.

Do you have any idea what he could be exposed to?

You can give him a childrens dose of Benedryl dye free (pink box) to
help mild symptoms. If breathing becomes very difficult or symptoms
worsen you need to get him to a vet immediately.

Does he chew his paws? This is another sign of allergies.

Here’s a link to a good article on dog allergies:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=75

I hope this helps. Please keep me posted on his progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

——-response——-

Hi Jan,
Thanks for your email.  We’ve taken Rusty to the Vet twice now.  We took him this morning.  Two weeks ago to the day we took him, too.  The vet said what you did only she thought it was a spider bite.  We live in Michigan and right now there are no bugs anywhere b/c it’s freezing up here.  There is snow everywhere which he eats alot of.  This morning she thought maybe an allergy to something.  We got benedryl the first time this happened and the vet also gave Rusty and antibiotic and prednisone in case he needed it.
Actually, the carpet and furniture in our home are new.  We got them about 3 weeks ago and this has been going on with Rusty for 2 weeks now.  We have leather furniture and new carpeting.  Of course Rusty thinks he’s a lap dog so he’s on the furniture, too.  I’m wondering if what they treat leather furniture with might be the issue?  We haven’t treated anything so it would have to be what is already on it.  My other thought is maybe dairy?  What do you think?
Thanks so much.
Paula

———-answer——–

ah ha,

I bet it’s the new things, possibly the carpet because they treat it with anti-stain coatings,
and I’m sure they treat leather with something potentially allergenic as well.

One thing that occurs to me is that since Rusty walks on the carpet, if he then
licks his paws, he could be getting the offending carpet sealer in his mouth and
then have the allergic reaction.

You could get the carpet cleaned and when they do, don’t allow them to use
any strong chemicals to clean and don’t let them re-treat it for pet stains or
pet odors.

As for the leather couch, you could put a cover over the leather where he lays on it.

Some of those things like flame retardants and such do some ‘off gassing’ when they
are new and they will diminish in time.

I realize it’s cold, but you could try airing out your house on a warm day to let
the odors escape.

But I suspect it’s something that gets on his paws that he licks off and whamo!

I wouldn’t suspect dairy at this juncture although it can aggravate and cause allergies.

The fact that the allergic reaction happened when you got the new carpet really
leads me to believe it’s related to that.

Does this sound like a possibility?

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Dear Jan,

We have a 4 month old Bull.  When we got her, the breeder gave her a Bortedella shot the day we picked her up.  4 days later she contracted pneumonia.  We treated her successfully with antibiotics and a vaporizer.  A week ago, on a follow up visit. Our vet suggested that she get an intra-nasal dose as we were taking her to conformation classes  and would be exposed other show dogs.  4 days later,  she began to  experience lethargy, elevated temp, and lose interest in eating and or drinking.  immediately I returned to the vet and he gave her antibiotics and in 24 hours she was back to normal.We also are worried as she has gotten pimples and redness on her head and eyes that looks like a skin infection.  Any thoughts???

Sincerely,
Bob and Kathie

—–answer—–

Hi Bob and Kathie,

Poor gal.  It sounds like she’s getting aspiration pneumonia from the nasal dosing,
so I’d be careful about doing that again.

As for the pimples on her face, she may have a staph infection.  You can try to
treat it with Neosporin or another anti-biotic cream.  But it could be a parasite
or a fungus which would be treated differently.

Because of her young age, I would take her to a skin specialist who would do
skin scrapings and determine what it is so it can be treated properly.

Pups don’t have fully developed immune systems and when weakened by disease
(pneumonia in this case) they can get other opportunistic infections.  That’s what
happened to my Vivy.

I hope this helps.  Let me know how she’s doing.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Thank you Jan -

I live in South Florida and have a 1 year old (birthday 2/15) male bulldog, Winston (70lbs) who on one previous occasion (July) had spotting (looked like someone sprinkled oil on his back and left spots) along the ridge of his back.   It lasted a few weeks and wasn’t anything drastic.

Dark spots (minimal hair loss) located about rump wrinkles….

Winston did not have any discomfort (no scratching) nor did he show any signs of knowing about what we saw.    Late January, his spotting (hair loss) re-occured in full force (I brush him and the driveway looks like a hair storm hit…)  along his shoulders, back, rump and hind quarters.

I have been reading up about the seasonal flank alopecia and think that he may have that (he is inside all day long while I am at work until darkfall).  I take him on regular (long) walks every night and several times a day on the weekends (morning, afternoon & night).

He is a HEALTHY eater… too fast, but never leaves a morsal….  Hahahaha

But I wonder about his diet and if that may have instigated a skin condition (or allergic reaction).

I have had him on Royal Canin – Large Breed Puppy formula since he was 4months old.   However, in January, I began to switch (mixing) him to Royal Canin – Bulldog formula. Coincidently, the hair loss began at this time. Now that we are in mid February he continues to lose major amounts of hair and I don’t know what to do.

I’ve been reading on your website and others about the possibility of diet being the cause of bulldog skin conditions….

But, I also see that you list Royal Canin as a preferred brand???  I’m confused…. we are still using the same brand, just moved to bulldog specific formula.  Can this be the problem?

Do you think that the hair loss was triggered by the change of foods…. or SFA?

Any suggestions? HELP

Thank you in advance for you help.

Michelle & Winston

——answer——–

Hi Michele & Winston,

Sorry for any confusion.  There are always conflicting opinions when it comes
to  english bulldogs and the connection between diet and skin.

On my site I list Royal Canin as the most popular brand according to a survey
of my bulldog owners.

That said, I don’t feed it to my Archie because he seems to be allergic to
chicken, the primary protein source in it.

And since your Winston’s hair loss started with your switch to RC B24, I
would definitely be suspicious of a food allergy.

What I currently feed my bulldog Archie is either Canidae or California Naturals
lamb meal and rice formulas.  I have found lamb to be much easier for bulldogs
with allergies.

This is not a set deal.  Some dogs are allergic to different things.  But the
most allergy producing proteins according to my vet skin specialist are
beef, soy, and chicken in that order.

Try switching him to one of these two foods, slowly, over a week or two, and
see what happens.  You should see results within two weeks, as I did with my
Archie.  It’s pretty basic food so he may not be crazy over eating it.  If he
won’t eat it add a little canned Wellness Lamb and Rice formula.

If it doesn’t work you may need to try Duck and Sweet Potato or Venison
and Sweet Potato formulas and see how he reacts to them.

It’s a matter of trial and error with food allergies.

About Seasonal Flank Alopecia, it doesn’t look like that’s what’s bothering
Winston because SFA shows up on the shoulders or sides of the bulldog,
whereas food allergies tend to show up on the top and along the back.

It is also more common in the northern states where there is less daylight
during the winters, like Minnesota.  But it can appear anywhere.

You can read about SFA and see some photos here:

http://www.vivyland.com/articles/sfa.html

It is always good to let your bulldog get some sun, it is a great natural (and
inexpensive!) anti-bacterial.  Just 20 minutes a day is good.

I hope this helps.  Please keep me posted on his progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Entropion in English Bulldog

February 11, 2008

what do you know about entropion i ordered your book and would like your input about entropion while i wait to receive your book is it common is it from a bad breeder or is it just another common no fault problem with the breed?

——answer——

Hi Mary,

I think it’s just one of those common to the breed things.  The bulldog has many
eye problems because of the nose being bred back into the face.  It just doesn’t
leave a lot of extra room even for glands, hence the cherry eye.

With entropion, when the nose was pushed back, not only did it widen the face
and stretch the eyes, it also added extra skin that can hang over the eye, hence the
tendency  for the eyelid to curl inward and the eyelashes irritate the cornea of the eye.
It must be corrected with minor surgery or the bulldog may go blind.

Here’s a link to a diary of the entropion surgery:

http://bulldogsworld1.homestead.com/entropion.html

So I’d say that unless it is really severe, in which case the dog should not be
bred, it is not the breeder’s fault, it’s just one of those things.

I’m sending you a link to the downloads page so you can get started reading
the material while you wait for your book.

Thanks for ordering and feel free to write anytime.

Your Bulldog Pal
Jan

My Husband Has a Cold . . .

February 11, 2008

My husband is sick with a bad cold and cough can a dog get sick from a human?????

—-answer—–

Fear not, you dog cannot catch a cold from your husband.  It’s
a good thing because many a husband would be sent to the basement
if that was the case!

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

Hi Jan, I have another question for you. Tyke is a very fussy eater, but I am concerned that he will gain weight and I would like to keep him healthy. I feed him twice a day a mix of Paul Newmans dry organic food with either chicken or chopped meat mixed in. My question is how many calories should a Bulldog eat a day. He has two good walks a day but I don’t want him to become over weight. He is up to 60 lbs right now my vet says he should be between 50 and 55lbs. how do feel about this?  Thanks you, Your Bully Pal JoAnn

——-answer——–

Hi JoAnn,

That’s a good question!  I have found that most people overfeed their bulldogs
because they think they should look chubby.

I have that one photo of Tyke and he doesn’t look overweight to me (hard to
tell with that Bear’s shirt – lol).  If he still looks like that, I’d say you’re feeding
him the right amount.

A healthy dog needs to have a waist and you should be able to feel his ribs.
It takes a little practice to feel a bulldog’s ribs but you get a sense for it by
moving the skin around his ribs.  You should be able to feel them but not
really see them because he has so much skin.

To see a bulldog’s waist, you look down on him from above and you can
see a narrowing behind the rib cage before his hind quarters.  Contrary to
what a lot of people think, a bulldog should not have what I refer to as a
buddha belly – a chubby protrusion from his stomach.

Tyke is a big guy.  A normal male will be 50-55 pounds.  If his parents
were large, then 60 pounds may be genetically normal for him.

If he has a waist and you can (kinda) feel his ribs, he’s probably a fine
weight.  Some bulldogs get to be upwards of 70 pounds.

As for caloric intake, I’ve never really measured it that way.  I usually go
by the amount of foood recommended on the package.  So if you add the
extra protein you should reduce the amount of dry food.

You can tell pretty quickly if your bulldog is gaining weight.  It only takes
a couple of weeks for them to start packing on the pounds.  I used to
have this dog sitter for Vivy when I would leave town.  And when I came
home after a week or so I could tell the sitter had been giving her tons
of treats (because she’s so cute she said).  So it shows up really fast.

So my method of weight maintenance is primarily visual.  If Archie starts
to gain weight, I cut back a little.  He gets more exercise during different
seasons and I adjust for that.  Again primarily by looking at him.

Exercise is really important for any dog.  And two walks a day is great!
That will help his heart and keep his weight down.  Also remember muscle
weighs more than fat.

I take Archie out for two walks a day for about 20-30 minutes each.  And
we have a little training each time as well.  Sit, stay, heel, etc. to keep
him from pulling me from one point of interest to the next.

Dogs love the stimulation of walks and adding a little training really helps
stimulate their minds as well.

I hope this helps, it’s more of a trial and error process than a set formula.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

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