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''IF YOU COULD GIVE ANYTHING TO A DOG''

''GIVE IT HEALTH''

BEAU BELLE BULLDOGS is bringing healthy back! Due to growing popularity, pet owners and backyard breeders decided to breed their pets in hopes to profit from the French bulldog breed. Their ideas resulted in uneducated decisions causing the breeds conformation, temperament, and health to decline. Unfortunately, a lot of puppies, dogs, and unknowing pet owners have suffered the consequences.

The word ‘’rare’’ was created to raise profits and increase popularity, turning the breed into a status symbol. ‘’Rare’’ colours diluted their genetics and increased health disorders. French bulldogs were being inbred, crossed with other breeds, and subjected to extreme recessive breeding all to create new coat colours and lengths.

Today these backyard bred dogs who are called French bulldogs are nothing like their standard ancestors, they lack structure, they don’t meet the requirements for conformation, they have different temperaments (high energy and aggression) and most importantly they are not healthy.

 

Below is a descriptive list of each test that is recommended by our breeds club, The French bulldog fanciers club of Canada and the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). The following health screenings are strongly encouraged to be done on all reproductive dogs.

 

 

DNA lab tests by PennGen and Animal Genetics. DNA testing can be done at any age. A beautiful litter of puppies can be tested prior to assist a breeder in choosing  a healthy show prospect. For example, if a breeder uses a carrier male with a clear female the puppies born will be carriers and clears. Using DNA testing on the entire litter will identify which puppies are carriers and which ones are clear. The breeder can choose a clear puppy to then breed to a clear male. All those puppies will then be born clear. The breeder has now eliminated the disorder out of their breeding program. Now the breeder can continue to build stronger genetics in producing healthier puppies with each generation. This is how a reputable breeder creates strong bloodlines within their kennel.

CYSTINURIA - Is an inherited disorder affecting the urinary tract. It is characterized by formation and accumulation of cystine stones in kidney, bladder, or ureter. Cystinuria has been recognized in humans, dogs, cats, and wolves.

 

JHC - Juvenile Hereditary Cataracts. There are two types of cataracts that can affect the French bulldog. These are “juvenile cataracts” and “old age cataracts.” Juvenile cataracts are a genetic condition which is hereditary and will show up at a young age.

 

OFA health certificates. The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) collects data on breeding dogs and issues certificates determining a dog's fitness for breeding.

 

CAER - Companion animal eye registry. Purebred dogs have inherited eye diseases that can be blinding or affect eye health to limit or eradicate genetic ocular diseases.

 

CARDIAC - Heart disease can affect many dogs, but in some breeds early testing is critical. Genetics is part of the puzzle when it comes to canine health testing prior to breeding. A cardiac exam is an important physical (phenotype) health test for dogs. Responsible breeders aiming to produce healthy puppies will conduct cardiac testing on both parents prior to breeding.

 

PATELLAR LUXATION - Occurs when a dog’s patella slides out of place in the knee, usually far to one side or the other. It is one of the leading causes of lameness in dogs and is rarely caused by injury and can cause significant pain and suffering for your pet if allowed to degenerate. The patella is a dog’s kneecap. Luxating means “out of place” or “dislocation”. A dog’s patella sits at the front of the stifle joint. When it functions properly, the patella should ride smoothly in a groove along the femur which allows better joint flexibility and leverage for the knee. When the groove is too shallow, it can cause the patella to slide out of place and move to one side or the other. When the patella slips out of the femoral groove and rests on the inner side of the dog’s leg, it is regarded as a medial luxation. When it rests on the outside, it is a lateral luxation. The disease is most associated with young dogs, but it often only becomes evident as the dog grows.

 

THYROID - With Hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not making enough of a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism (the process of turning food into fuel). Hypothyroidism causes a wide variety of symptoms but is often suspected in dogs that have trouble with weight gain or obesity and suffer from hair loss and skin problems. The disease isn’t life-threatening, it’s easy to diagnose with a blood test, and it’s easy and inexpensive to treat. Treatment is typically a thyroid supplement taken daily.

 

THRACHEA - With Tracheal Hypoplasia the trachea has a decreased luminal diameter resulting in breathing difficulties. The condition is common in bulldog and non-bulldog brachycephalic breeds. The radiographic evaluation is performed on a lateral view of the cervical and thoracic trachea obtained with the patient awake and at peak inspiration. The evaluation consists of a subjective evaluation of tracheal size and uniformity by a board-certified veterinary radiologist, and an objective evaluation based on the ratio of the tracheal lumen diameter at the thoracic inlet to the width of the proximal third rib.

 

SPINE - Spine radiographs are taken to determine vertebral anomalies that have an inherited component. There are numerous vertebral anomalies that occur during the embryologic development of the spine and are present at birth but do not alter shape during growth over the course of the dog’s life.

The types of vertebral anomalies are: hemivertebra, butterfly vertebra, block vertebra, transitional vertebra, and spina bifida.

The spine is divided into 3 parts that make up the length of the spine. The cervical being the neck, Thoracic starts at the shoulders and ends above the last rib, and the lumbar is from the last rib to the tail. Most importantly, you do not want abnormalities in the lumbar region. Most French bulldogs have hemivertebrae’s in the thoracic region between the shoulders and above the ribs. This area is more protected for stability and is surrounded by muscle.

IVDD - Intervertebral disc disease is an inherited disease affecting many dog breeds. A severe form of IVDD is associated with a genetic mutation. This genetic mutation is also identified as one cause of the characteristic trait for short legs (chondrodystrophy - CDDY) in some dog breeds. Dogs affected with IVDD have premature degeneration and calcification of the cartilage discs that connect the vertebrae and function as shock absorbers for the spine. In some cases, these degenerative changes result in cartilage weakness and subsequent herniation of the discs into the spinal cord, causing hemorrhage and inflammation. Affected dogs present with a variety of neurological clinical signs including severe back pain, abnormal gait, loss of balance, and limb weakness or paralysis, often requiring surgical intervention. Affected dogs are at risk of experiencing disc herniations at multiple sites along their spine during their lifetime. Therefore, it is common for dogs which have been surgically treated for disc herniation to experience a herniation in another location of the spine later in life. Unfortunately, almost all French Bulldogs worldwide are at risk. IVDD can also be a result from injury or repetitious strains on the joints over time.

Can IVDD be prevented?

There is no way to completely prevent intervertebral disc disease in dogs. HOWEVER, you can help minimize stress on the spine, especially when you have a high-risk breed.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight puts less stress on the back, body, and joints.

  • Regular exercise with controlled movement (walking/trotting on leash) to help build muscles that will help support the dog’s joints.

  • Reduce the amount of impact in day-to-day life by limiting walking, especially running downstairs or downhill, and absolutely no jumping off furniture.

 

HIP DYSPLASIA - Canine hip dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity. This breakdown of the cartilage will eventually result in pain with any joint movement. No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. The severity of the disease can be affected by environmental factors, such as caloric intake or level of exercise. There are several dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic x-ray evidence that are severely lame.

 

ELBOW DYSPLASIA - Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to many genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc... Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.

BOAS - Brachycephalic Obstructive Airways Syndrome, a condition caused when there is an overgrowth of soft tissue in the nose and throat that obstruct the airway making it difficult for the dog to breath normally. There is a new respiratory function grading scheme available with OFA that veterinarians are currently being trained for. During the exam the test starts with the dogs breathing examined at rest, then a 3 minute trot of exercise, followed by another breathing examination while being monitored for how long the dog takes to return to their original breathing at rest.

The dogs are then assigned a grade, 

Grade 0: The dog is unaffected and free of any respiratory issues.

Grade 1: The dog is unaffected but has mild respiratory signs of BOAS.

Grade 3: The dog is affected and has moderate respiratory signs of BOAS.

Grade 4: The dog is affected and has severe respiratory signs of BOAS. 

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