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?



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

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,



Hi Jan,

Perceval has a neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis. He was diagnosed at the end of March of this year. It is the underlying cause of another condition called megaesophagus that has caused his esophagus to dilate and lose muscle tone. Food or water taken by mouth will not move down to his stomach, but instead sits in his esophagus until he regurgitates. There is a very high risk of aspiration into the lungs when this happens and that can cause pneumonia. He has already had two bouts of it – the first one almost killed him.

When he was first sick, they put in a feeding tube and he still has it. He is taking prednisone, as this is the best shot at putting the disease into remission. If and when that happens he should be able to start eating and drinking normally. Even after remission he can relapse, and I will always have to watch for signs of pneumonia, so there are no guarantees. He’s had some ups and downs but he has been doing well the past few weeks. He has gradually regained his energy, and is bright and always so cheerful. He never fails to make me laugh.



Hi Lorna,

Vivy had “esophageal motility disorder” which I think is the similar.
When I elevated her food to the two step platform I talk about in the book,
she never threw up again. It let gravity do the work of getting the food
down to her stomach. And although she did get pneumonia several
more times I got really good at recognizing the signs and she lived to be
12. I never had her on prednisone.

And no activity like running around or going for a walk for 30 minutes after eating.

I wish the same long life for Perceval.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Hi Jan

This esophageal motility disorder is most interesting. I’m going to see what info I can find on it. I have read so much about megaesophagus so maybe I can find out more helpful info. I have a little platform ready and waiting for him once I get the go ahead to feed him by mouth.

When I got my German Shepherd I read that it was recommended to wait approx 2 hours after feeding before walking or excercising to minimize the chance of gastric torsion. I have always taken the same precaution with Perceval just to be safe. And by the way, despite all precautions I took, my Shepherd had gastric torsion 1 1/2 yrs ago. Thankfully I knew the symptoms and got him to the emergency clinic in time and he pulled through.

Very frightening thing that is.



Hi Lorna,

In Viv’s case, she would often throw up right after eating.
She would eat, then vomit, often coughing, and had a foamy
discharge. And she snored really loudly.

And she had aspiration pneumonia several times. I took her to
my local vet who suspected she had an esophageal problem
and wanted more tests to confirm. So I took her to the
CSU Vet School in Ft Collins (she was 5) and they did a lot
of tests – much cheaper than my regular vet.

They radiographed her larynx which showed it to be normal.

They did an esophagram using liquid barium and found that
“contrations of the esophagus were weak throughout its length.”
They found a diverticulum and that her esophagus stradded over
the thrachea in places.

They concluded she had a neuromcuscular dysfunction that
included diverticulum esophagus, poor motility esophagus, and
weak contraction esophagus.

They did not use the word megasopagus as I recall, but that
means an enlarged esophagus, which is what a diverticulum is
and sounds like a broad term for what she had.

They also tested for myasthenia gravis and did a thyroid panel.

It was my local vet who recommended I try elevating the food.
First step for front paws 4″, then food on second level 6″ higher.
At CSU they agreed I could try that and if it did not work I could
give her a medication before eating (Cisapride).

That simple act of elevating the food and letting gravity help
move the food down worked immediately and she never again
vomited after eating!

I hope this helps. Perhaps your case is similar.

Let me know how Perceval is doing.

Your Bulldog Pal,


Hi Jan

There are similarities between Viv’s situation and Perceval’s especially what would happen after eating.
Although he is fed exclusively thru his PEG tube he has had some episodes of regurgitation and vomiting
but it is happening far less frequently now. He does have foamy discharge once in a while too. I take him
to a University veterinary teaching hospital and his next appt is in 2 weeks for a recheck.
Thanks for the info about Viv and what you did for her. I am happy to find out all I can. Although the
diagnosis is not exactly the same it is similar enough that I can use your experiences to try to help my
Thanks again Jan. I will keep in touch.


I haven’t gotten the book yet but I am anxious to know about some problems that my bulldog has. One thing is he has small growths or blisters between his toes on front feet only that do not seem to hurt him but the sometimes burst and bleed a little, and he cleans them up and they seem to subside for a while. Very strange.

Hi Fred
Those growths between his toes are called interdigital cysts. They so seem to have a higher incidence in bulldogs, probably because of their inbreeding. Nobody really knows what causes them, some people think it’s a fungus and some think it’s an ingrown hair. They usually clear up on their own and I am of the opinion they should not be punctured because that can lead to infection. And I wouldn’t go the antibiotic route because I think it not necessary unless there is an infection.

Here is a discussion thread from bulldog owners and breeders on how they treat them:

As for the cysts, I have used part of the process you’ve included: we
usually soak the affected paw in Epsom salts water. I don’t worry about
applying Panalog or other creams unless the vet has recommended it.
Generally with a cyst or any lesion on the paw that I am just starting to
treat, I just start with soaks. That way I clean the foot and can get a
really good look, and Epsom salts helps to soften and start the lesion
draining if it needs to. If it’s a cyst, is there a need for Panalog or
other anti-bacterial (antibiotic) ointments or creams? Not necessarily, only if it’s infected. So, if draining it and/or keeping it clean is enough, then why bring in antibiotics and tinker with resistance and such? If pus drains, then I do use ointment, usually triple antibiotic or Bacitracin. Like you, if soaks (with or without ointment) don’t work in 2-4 days, or if it worsens, it’s off to the vet we go!



What I have found is that many cysts are caused by ingrown hair. I
soak the affected food in Epson salts for about 5 minutes. When drying the paw if you look on the underneath side of the foot between the pads on the toe that is effected you will probably see an area that appears to have a black head. You can usually use a tweezers and pull the hairs out without causing your pet much discomfort. This has always worked on my dogs.


a long coarse of antibiotics usually cephalexin. and give it some time. i
have two that got cysts between the toes and used antibiotics 1 dogs went
away and hasnt come back… the other girls cyst has been back several times
now i dont even put her on antibiotics anymore, i keep it clean use panalog
oint and basically just keep popping the cyst to drain it and within a week
it starts to go away her last cyst i did this and it hasnt been back in over
a year. i am a technician at a vet clinic and ive seen surgeries removing
these cysts and 90% of them ive seen return anyway after several surgeries
and alot of money it is very hard to get all of the stalk inbetween the
toes so you often get regrowth any way…

well thats my 2 cents



There are as many interdigital cyst remedies as there are Bulldoggers.
I think the cysts have multiple causes including fungus advancing to
infection as the cyst develops.

Along that reasoning, I use a Nolvasan Surgical Scrub solution; 5%
Surgical Scrub, 95% water, applied with a spray bottle and massaged onto the
affected area. I apply twice daily and I’ve never had it last more than three

Nolvasan Surgical Scrub is a bit pricey,perhaps $55.00/Gallon, but a
gallon will last a lifetime (Or more) It’s very effective for hot spots and
simple skin problems. Most importantly, It’s an anti-bacterial agent and an
effective fungicide, not an anti-biotic. A simple solution for a complex problem.



I agree with Walt’s solution –

That’s a great idea

I also use a home made concoction we fondly call “Oden’s Foot” It is 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% water – you boil the water and ad 2 heaping tablespoons of salt till it dissolves. Let is cool a bit then mix with the alcohol put in a sprayer bottle and spray several times a day –

this dries up themoisture and the cyst – this is a people remedy given my son when he had severe fungal infections of the toe nails – it works great you just need to be consistent and spray frequently

Kathy J

And here are some links to more information and photos on the topic:

Your Bulldog Pal,