French Bulldog Spine Problems

Updated: Oct 24



Hemivertebrae What Is It?


It is a congenital defect in which the vertebrae are deformed, either in such a way that the vertebrae fuse, or that they are wedge-shaped, and cause a twisting of the spine.

It is common in brachiocephalic breeds such as:

  • English Bulldog

  • French Bulldog

  • Pug

These breeds are famous for having what is called a “screw tail.” The screw tail results from hemivertebrae in the vertebrae of the tail and is characteristic, even desirable.


What Are The Signs?

Hemivertebrae of the tail alone is not of medical concern. However, when it is present in the rest of the spine, it can cause serious clinical signs.

Because the deformed vertebrae cause a wedging effect that twists the spine, it can cause compression of the spinal cord. Clinical signs include weakness of the hind limbs, pain, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence.

Signs often progressively get worse Can Hemivertebrae be Prevented?

Because hemivertebrae is a congenital condition, the only way to help prevent it is through responsible breeding.


X-rays of the spine are taken and submitted for scoring to a Certified Specialist.

To have x-rays submitted for scoring the dog must be over a year old. Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD

Intervertebral disc disease is one of the most common conditions that affect not only French Bulldogs but also many other dog breeds.

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common condition in French Bulldogs. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord that is followed by some degree of paralysis. It can occur suddenly and can even end up with a permanent inability to walk.


What is Intervertebral disc disease?

The dog’s spine and neck consist of complex multiple bones lined up in a row. These bones are called vertebrae and they protect the spinal cord and transmit the commands to the brain. Since there is an intervertebral disc between each pair of vertebrae, it’s important to keep the discs healthy. The discs consist of a jelly part that can slip.


Symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease in French Bulldog

The symptoms depend upon where the disc problems arise. Is it on the neck or at the back? Also, symptoms differ on how severe the injury is, and it’s better if the vet work it out as soon as possible.


Cervical intervertebral disk Disease patients usually have a painful behavior with crying aloud with no visible cause. Not all the time, due to a pinched nerve, they’re going to have the lack of using forelimb properly. Furthermore, weakness of limb, shaky posture and pain within the neck when moved or touched are all seen on the examination.


Spinal intervertebral disk Disease patients can anticipate sudden weaknesses of the rear limb. The symptoms’ seriousness depends on mild to finish paralysis, where the lack of pain within the affected limbs.

Other symptoms include reluctance to leap, knuckling down, and spasms on neck or back, hunched back and appetite loss. If you recognized these symptoms, visit the vet directly.


It’s also important to note that genetics and obesity can also trigger IVDD.


It’s also important to note that genetics and obesity can also trigger IVDD. That’s why you should buy French bulldog puppies only from reputable breeders. If your Frenchie has gained weight, then you got to know that he will be more susceptible to experience spinal and hip issues.


Every breed is susceptible to certain health conditions or diseases. Just like humans, dogs can inherit health conditions from their parents.

Responsible breeders make an effort to lessen the likelihood of their puppies inheriting these issues by screening their breeding dogs for heritable conditions and making informed matches when breeding.


Health testing is a vital piece of a responsible breeding program when heritable conditions are present, but diet, exercise, environment, and genetics can all factor into whether a dog develops a health condition or disease. When breeders use health testing to identify risk factors in potential breeding dogs, it can significantly decrease the likelihood of many conditions appearing during your dog's lifetime. Performing the proper health tests is key, but it's just as important to work with your breeder to understand how diet, exercise, and environmental conditions affect your specific breed.


Only Buy A French Bulldog Puppy From A Reputable Breeder.

Always get advice from your Vet

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