Hi Jan,
Thanks for the email and I also ordered your book! I have a question about our 9-month-old bully, Mack. For the past 3-4 months he has started scooting across the carpet and spinning in circles while whining painfully.  I have noticed his tail is very tightly screwed into his body which is apparently causing him a lot of pain. We clean and disinfect his tail daily, however it is still inflamed and sometimes has little sores. We have checked his anal glands and had them expressed a couple times, but it does not seem to give the poor little guy much relief. It has now gotten to the point where he is almost acting psychotic and won’t stop spinning/scooting even when coaxed with treats or his favorite toy. Fortunately, he has a very good breeder who breeds champion bulldogs and we called him when we were at a loss of what to do. We brought Mack over to see him and after throughly cleaning his tail and seeing his behavior, he suggested we might want to think about tail amputation. Our vet has also suggested this. It seems like such a drastic move and I don’t mind paying the money as long as it gives him some relief. Do you have any suggestions of what to do?? Please help!

Jessica

———my answer——

Hi Jessica,

Since you’ve ruled out impacted anal glands as the source of Mack’s butt scooting,
it sounds like he has an infection in his tail pocket.  It can be quite painful and
life threatening if it cannot be cleared up.  He may have a severe yeast infection
in the pocket – does it smell sour?  The little sores could indicate a
bacterial infection such as staph.  A chronic infection can become systemic
and spread through his body.  This would be very dangerous.

All English Bulldogs have part of their tail still inside the body as an extention
of the tail bone.  Some have straight tails and some have screw tails.  An
inverted tail is a condition where part of a screw tail makes a loop inside
the body and then comes out.

This inverted tail is very tight and close to the body with a very tight tail pocket
and part of the tail constantly rubbing and festering in the pocket.  This is
not a fault of breeding, it just happens sometimes.

Sometimes constant maintenance of the tail pocket will keep your bulldog
healthy.  You need to clean out the tail pocket daily using warm water on
a washcloth in a circular motion and get deep into the pocket. Then the
area must be thoroughly dried and perhaps add some Gold Bond powder.

In your case it sounds like you have been very diligent in keeping Mack’s
tail clean and he still has chronic infections. So in this case it would
probably be best to amputate his tail.

This is a condition that happens on occasion with bulldogs, even from the
best lines.  And he will be much happier and healthier if you do the
amputation.

I hope this helps.  Please keep me posted on Mack’s progress.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

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Hi Jan,
I’m so glad you e mailed this, as a matter of fact my husband is responcible for purchasing our bullie. I had just lost my 14 yr old companion, an Old English mastiff, and was needless to say heartbroken. I took a little vacation to visit a friend, to help take my mind of my loss, only to discover when I arrived home this little bundle of cuteness awaited me. Being a dog lover since birth, at first I was angry at my husband, but after a day of sharing my space with this adorable creature, I was once again in love. Now if it was me purchasing a dog, I would have really investigated the breeders. Jim purchased Spike from an online breeder, I did some snooping, and although I get thousands of complements on Spike’s looks and friendliness, I am now dealing with some of the issues you mentioned in your  email.  He has terrible stains in the folds below his eyes, I am now treating this with medicine from the vet. I have also had his nostriles operated on because his snoring and breathing was so bad.  He is passing gas all the time, so bad that we have to leave the room. And I have noticed he vomits alot, I thought it was from me tugging his leash against his short throat. He is fed a product called Innova “puppie” which the pet shop in my neighborhood reccomended as it is all natural and suppose to be one of the best ( I say that with tongue in cheek) as I am a sceptic with all the commercial dog food products. I am a business owner and ashamed to admit I don’t have the time to cook for my family let alone my Spike. I have hunted the internet for any and all articles on bulldogs and I’m happy that I stumbled upon yours. I will go to all lengths for my animal, I’m happy that I can afford a purebreed and all I want is to give him the love and care that he returns to me everyday with his anticks and personality. THe bulldog is one funny critter, I can’t tell you the joy he has brought me. Owning a Mastiff was a very expensive endevor to say the least, he had skin issued, allergies, ear problems. So I know now how important preventitive care is. I could have put another child though 8 yrs of college with what I paid in vet expenses. I look forward to your reply and I want to thank you for your time to send me your emails. I was very impressed with your interviews and your knowledge.

Thank you again,

Rosemarie Tinsley

———-answer——–
Hi Rosemarie,

I’m not familiar with that breeder – did a quick search on the internet, but didn’t learn much.
Many breeders do their breeding for looks and for the money.  And many of them love the
breed but don’t really know what they’re doing.  Usually when I hear from someone, it’s
because they are having problems.

The problems you list are common, although in my opionion, they can be bred out of the
breed lines by conscientious breeders.But you love your bulldog so now what you need
to do is cope with what you have.

The eye problems are probably caused by eyelashes that are irritating Spike’s eyes.
I recommend you take him to an ophthalmologist who can treat them.

The gas can often be cured by elevating the food and feeding 3x a day instead of
once.

The vomiting is another thing that may be cured by elevating the food, but can also
be a more serious issue known as megasphagus.  You can read about that on my
blog:
https://bulldoghealth.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/bulldog-megasphagus-and-esophageal-motility-disorder/

I think Innova is the very best brand.  It is rich and can cause some digestive things
like gas and soft stools.  But it is particularly high quality.

I hope this helps.  Let me know if I can help you any further.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

Jan, another question.

I have read conflicting reports on the net about Bullies and Rawhides. Roxie absolutely loves the Pig Ear style and small stick rawhides. When she has them, we always monitor her and never leave her alone or put one in her crate with her. Is it OK for her to have them, or is it too risky, as some say they pose a high risk for choking?

Erik

—–answer——-

Hi Eric,

My opinion is never let an English Bulldog have a rawhide, pig’s ear, or greenie.
Not even if the rawhide is the particulate type. Bulldogs do love them because
they are quite tasty but to me it’s not worth the risk, even if you are watching
Roxie she could swallow it whole.

The problem is the bulldog tends to inhale, not chew, and they can get lodged in the
throat or worse in the stomach or intestines. Rawhide expands in the stomach and can
kill a bulldog who swallows chunks of it.

I learned this the hard way, twice having to do the heimlich on my first bulldog. She
inhaled a rawhide and it got stuck in her throat. On another occasion she dug up my
neighbor’s dog’s rawhide and ate it without my knowledge.  She regurgitated it
onto the carpet about 4 hours later.

A dog has a reflex at the back of the stomach that causes the to throw up
things that cannot be digested, but it does not always ensure your dogs
won’t be harmed by ingesting the wrong thing.

As for greenies, they don’t dissolve when swallowed whole and can get stuck in
a bulldog’s intestines. I’ve heard of a case from my breeder where a Greenie had
to be surgically removed from a bulldog puppy’s stomach (at a cost of $3000).

Rope toys may be shredded and if they eat them, you can
get the same stomach problem. So you need to keep an eye on them with a rope
toy.

I’ve found the Kong toys to be the most durable. You can put something tasty
like peanut butter inside and it will keep Roxie occupied for quite a while.

I’ve found it best to err on the side of caution.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

Jan, I am a new english bulldog owner of a wonderful 9 week old we’ve named Roxie.
I have read a lot of internet information, and have become somewhat of a
hypochondriac worry about her well-being.  We just took her yesterday for
her initial vet visit, and was informed that she has Toxicidia.  The vet put
her on a 10 day oral antibiotic.  He said that otherwise she appears to be
healthy.  I am going to order your book, in hopes that it will relieve some
of my concerns.  She is our second dog, but has absolutely captivated our
hearts in the short time we’ve had her.  Will stay in touch.

Eric

—–answer——-

Hi Eric,

I’m sorry to hear your english bulldog puppy has parasites.
Did you mean Coccidia?  It’s a parasite that’s found in soil and feces.
It’s fairly common along with other parasites that can infect dogs.
It usually affects puppies and is highly contagious from dog to dog.

From what I understand it is fairly common and often clears up on
it’s own, but with a bulldog or any puppy it needs to be treated
because they do not have fully developed immune systems.

Here’s a couple links to more information:

http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/coccidia.html

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_coccidia.html

She should recover fine from this but I’d be wondering if all the puppies
of this breeder are also infected.

And you should be careful to clean all bedding and any feces from
your yard so that she doesn’t get reinfected.

Glad to hear you’re ordering the book.  Bulldogs are great dogs and
you just need to know what to look for in their “special needs”.

Your Bulldog Pal,
Jan

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:
https://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