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

January 3, 2008

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..



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,


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



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.

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,


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