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I have been informed by my vet that my 9wk old bulldog needs...

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Question by Patti K.
Submitted on 7/17/2003
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Bulldogs Breed-FAQ
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I have been informed by my vet that my 9wk old bulldog needs surgery because of brachycephalic airway syndrome. Is this common? The vet kept mentioning that you could hear him breathing. I am concerned about surgery because I have read that bulldogs are at a greater risk under sedation. I want to make certain that this is just not a new surgery fad or money making project for the vet. I spoke to the breeder where I purchased my pup and she said it was probably an unnecessary surgery.
I want to do the right thing for my bulldog. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Answer by Jenn
Submitted on 7/28/2003
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The best thing to do is get several opinions from other vets.  If you have a Veterinary University near you, contact them for advice.  

Bulldogs as well as other breeds with flatter faces are prone to breathing and respiratory problems.
Try also to search the web for information on the condition.


Answer by Snubbull's Mum
Submitted on 5/3/2004
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Our bully is now 2.5 years old.  She should have been dead since 10 weeks of age - which is when she had an operation because of her terrible breathing difficulties!  She has her pallet shortened and her laryngeal sacs removed.  Prior to that she "trembled" all the time (like when we have a temperature and are feeling cold) and turned blue/purple and passed out.  It was recommended she be euthanased (by New Zealand's veterinary school) as she would never be any better.  Her trachea only measured 5mm!!  Only by the fantastic efforts on our own vets (husband and wife team) part, constant care from them, and us, many thousands of dollars and man hours later, did she recover.  She was on steroids for 12 months (firstly injected (we were taught how to do it) then orally) and we had to give her antibiotic injections in her neck 3 times a day.  It was extremely stressful for all concerned (vets, us and family and friends who watched this poor beautiful puppy suffer through 3 weeks of hell).  However, after a bout of pneumonia following her operation (where it was again touch and go as to whether we had her euthanased) she has been healthy (fingers crossed) for 18 months and is the happiest, most contented, hilarious dog anyone could hope to own.  
If your dog has something similar to what our Snubbull had - PLEASE persevere (as long as the dog is not suffering unduly and there is room for improvement) with all and any treatments you can.
We spent 3 weeks taking turns sleeping in the lounge with Snubbull.  She had 24/7 care and for many hours she was over someones shoulder (like a baby with colic) and we patted her back, rubbed her back) or was on a couch and we drip fed glucose and water from a syringe into her mouth.  We used special "pate" like puppy food from a can and put it on our fingers and rubbed it into her gums so make her eat.
Yes - it was the most stressful time of my life - even worse than when family members have died - but our wee princess is the most loveable animal you could ever hope to come across - and you can tell by looking at her that she know what has happened to her - and she remembers what she has come through!
I hope it all works out for you.
You can e-mail us if you like at tootsie105@hotmail.com.  Would love to hear how you get on.


Answer by Rosie and Tyler's Dad
Submitted on 6/8/2005
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We have a 2 1/2 yo old English Bully and a 7 1/2 month old Frenchie. They are the best companions in the world, but understand they are not like other breeds. Talk to vets, get second opinions and ask around from breeders and such who specializes in these breeds. Rosie the English bully has had 2  hip surgeries, 2 cherry eyes, laser hair removal on eyelids, 2 entropia surgeries, and the list goes on from there! Now is she is well and (knock on wood) will remain stable. Tyler has already had pins in his knee to hold a growth plate after falling, snares fixed, and palate shortned.

His second surgery for pins in the other knee is now being postponed.Today I just admitted our Tyler to the vet. He came down with Pneumonia. Come to find out this is common after a palate and snare surgery. Thought I was prepared but look what can happen! Just when you are comfortable with knowing what you might expect, look out.

All I can say is research, research, research. Ask vets and reputable breeders what can happen in specific situations. University clinics are very knowledgable and may be willing to be more progressive as well. If anyone needs to chat email me


Answer by tobybul
Submitted on 9/3/2005
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listen to the vet and ask questions. How many of these surgeries has he/she done? success rate? references? get a feel for how confident the vet is with the problem and how he will resolve it.
our bully at about 9 mos started showing signs of fainting. he pallet was blocking his air way. so he had to have it shortened. seems common to short-nosed doggies.


Answer by dana
Submitted on 8/4/2006
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you bought a bad puppy. never breed it! its the breeders fault for not warning you, but you should have bought a puppy that had been breed to be healthy, like all bulldogs should be. it is called an elongated soft pallate DO NOT go to a regular vet, find a bulldog specialist where they handle bulldogs and know how to put them under anestiesa properly. it is a common problem with bulldogs, but don't trust just your regular vet to know anything about bulldogs. hopefully everything will go well.


Answer by Misha
Submitted on 7/17/2007
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I am going through the same thing, although with a slightly older dog. My bulldog Thelma is almost 6 months old and the Vet (who is highly reputable) keeps saying she needs surgery, although he didn't even say it was for brachycephalic syndrome.  I am extremely angry because I read that it can not be diagnosed just by looking at the dog - the vet needs to look into her throat and usually even put her under just to see how bad the blockage is of the airway.  I also think the Vet is suggesting it to ALL bulldog owners as a preventative measure - but i don't think you should put your dog through surgery unless completely necessary - especially with the problems bulldogs can have during surgery itself, as you mention.  Therefore, I am going to another vet for a second opinion and I suggest you do the same.  My dog snores - but what bulldog doesn't!?  Unless your dog is having problems eating and is choking or vomiting up her food or coughing, I think it can wait.  Also, some of these bulldog breathing issues get better as the dog ages - another reason why I don't like for vets to recommend surgery so young.  My vet said Thelma needed surgery at 2 months old and some dogs need at least to the age of 5 months to assess their condition.  I suggest you go to the Bulldog Club of America's website and read more.  www.thebca.org.  Let us know what you end up doing.


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