French bulldogs are fun to have. They are adorable, loving, and loyal to their owners. However, just like any other animal, this breed of dog also has its weaknesses. They are known to have several genetic health problems. Some illnesses may develop somewhere along the way too. And so, if you already have a Frenchie, or if you are planning on taking one home soon, you must familiarize yourself with the health issues that your pet may suffer from so you know how to take care of it. One thing that you should know about Frenchies is that they are most likely to have problems with their rear legs as a result of hemivertebrae, which we are going to discuss in this article.
What problems can French bulldogs have with their back legs?
French bulldogs have been bred in such a way that they have short rear legs. While this appearance may seem to look cute for some people, this could actually cause some serious problems. Like what we have said above, Frenchies may have hemivertebrae, which is a congenital condition. This means that they already have it since birth because of the way they have been bred. Simply put, this condition refers to the spine being deformed or has been formed abnormally. Since the bones are not shaped properly and they won’t be able to align with the other bones, this defect can then cause several problems. One of the issues that this particular condition could cause is weakness of the hind limbs. With this, your dog may have difficulty in getting up, walking, and running. It won’t be able to socialize. In short, the back legs won’t function as they are supposed to. And if it gets worse, your pet may even get paralyzed, which could also lead to death.
What are the symptoms of problems with your French bulldog’s back legs?
If you notice that your pooch spends most of its time lying down, or if you see that it can barely walk, then most likely, it has issues with its rear legs. If it yelps if you try to pick it up, you would know that there is definitely something wrong with it. You then need to take it to a veterinarian in order to figure out what exactly is wrong with your Frenchie. Diagnosis can be done with the help of x-ray or a more sophisticated imaging system. There are other symptoms of having hemivertebrae. Aside from weak back legs, a dog may also suffer from severe pain as well as urinary and fecal incontinence. These signs may show as early as puppyhood, and they could get worse as your dog gets old.
In what ways can you help?
The care and treatment for hemivertebrae depends on the severity. If it is just a mild case, you can give anti-inflammatory drugs to your Frenchie to help ease the pain. Doing so will significantly help treat the condition. With this, you would need a prescription from a vet. You also need to make sure that your dog gets a lot of rest. And, of course, you should feed it with healthy foods to keep it strong. On the other hand, if the condition is serious, then medications won’t suffice anymore. A surgical procedure might be needed to help address the health problem. This will be performed by a certified veterinary neurologist or surgeon.
Here are some things that you can do to take care of a Frenchie with hemivertebrae condition: · If you know that your French bulldog has issues with its spinal cord, you should limit its physical activities so as not to worsen the problem. Do not force your poochie to do jumping exercises or any rough games, especially if it still a few months old. · Short walks would help a lot in keeping your pet’s muscles healthy and strong, especially those that give support to the spine. With that said, make sure that you find time to walk your Frenchie once in a while. · Serving foods, such as, tuna, salmon, and sardines, which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids will certainly help your pup’s condition. This is because these fatty acids help in preventing inflammation as well as degeneration. You can serve this food group up to twice or thrice a week. · When picking up your puppy, you need to be extra careful too. Make sure that you always support its spine including its legs. Teach other members of your household to do the same too.
Is hemivertebrae surgery an option? How much will it cost?
Hemivertebrae surgery, also known as hemilaminectomy, is the best option to treat the condition if it is already at a severe stage. With this procedure, the part of the intervertebral disc that is pressing on the spine will be removed. This would then help relieve the pain. However, you need to take note that not all dogs that have undergone this particular procedure have recovered. Some of them have been put to sleep rather than suffering from the said condition for the rest of their lives. Since it is a very delicate procedure, it could get really expensive. The imaging alone may cost you up to 3000 USD. You can expect an additional of, at least, 4000 USD for the surgery itself. This amount would only cover one area. If the decompression involves several parts of the spinal cord, then the cost of the procedure will certainly be a lot higher. Yes, treating hemivertebrae through surgery is pricey. But if your pet is insured, it would help a lot. Such a procedure can be covered.
Having a French bulldog that has deformed vertebrae or damaged spinal cord could be really hard. It would require patience from you as the owner since taking care of your pup with this condition would require more attention. You also have to prepare yourself financially because the treatment may cost a fortune depending on how severe it is.
The bottom line is, the earlier you have your Frenchie checked by a vet, the better it would be. So if you notice any symptoms, it is highly recommended that you take your pet to a vet immediately. Never disregard the signs because they could adversely affect the quality of life of your pet.