cataracts in french bulldogs
The Ultimate Guide To Blue Merle French Bulldogs
November 6, 2022
ear mites in french bulldogs
Ear Mites In French Bulldogs: Causes and Treatment
November 13, 2022

IVDD In French Bulldogs: Everything You Need To Know

ivdd in french bulldogs

IVDD is one of the most common health issues in the French bulldog breed. We can describe it as the change in the structure of the discs between vertebrae. Vertebrae consist of spongy discs with a gelatinous center surrounded by a fibrous shell. When those discs ‘’leak off’’, a dog starts going through severe pain and may end up paralyzed.

ivdd in french bulldogs

What age do French bulldogs get IVDD?

Well, even though there is not a specific age when these dogs can develop IVDD, according to statistics, it more often occurs in older Frenchies. Dogs aged between 7 and 10 years are on a higher tendency to get IVDD type II, while type I is more common in younger pooches.

A gelatinous substance settled between bones and the spine serves as a shock absorber for the spine. Otherwise known as Hansen type I and Hansen type II, IVDD in French bulldogs results in pain, issues with mobility and urination, and paralysis. Problems with urination and defecation occur when the hardened discs go on to bulge and compress the spinal cord resulting in damage to the dog’s nerves that control the bladder.

Hansen type I and Hansen type II

Hansen type I occurs suddenly, as the result of jumping, falling, and heavy exercise.  Chondrodystrophic dog breeds are on a higher tendency to suffer from this type. A broken disc causes severe pain and requires immediate action. On the other hand, the second type of IVDD is more commonly seen in large dog breeds such as Dobermans, German shepherds, and Labrador retrievers.

This type of IVDD progresses much slowlier than type I, so you’ll definitely have trouble determining the exact cause of the damage.

What are the signs of IVDD in French bulldogs?

Besides showing mobility issues, your Frenchie can start to whine and show unwillingness to go on strolls. Shaking and trembling are also some of the signs that will point out to dealing with severe pains. Knuckling on paws and problems with defecation could also occur in some pooches.

How to help a Frenchie who deals with IVDD?

If the Intervertebral Disc Disease in your Frenchie is caught early, you can keep the condition under control by performing the non-surgical treatment.  Non-surgical treatment can help your pet relieve discomfort and restore lost bladder and bowel control.

Crate rest

IVDD in French bulldogs can be treated by keeping them in a strict crate rest in order to help their body mend the damage. A strict crate rest requires a 24h care and taking a dog outside only when it needs to go to the potty. Besides, your dog should not be allowed to jump and go up and down stairs.

Changing the French bulldog’s diet

Since a Frenchie suffering from IVDD will deal with severe pains and pressure on the spine, a vet should recommend what type of diet to feed your pet in order to help it lose weight. Obese Frenchies will face greater pain because the spine will suffer a lot of pressure because of the weight.

Physical Rehabilitation (Physical Therapy)

A professional treatment can help your Frenchie improve mobility in mild and moderate cases. The treatment plan for IVDD in French bulldogs can include both at-home treatments and professional care.

Pain-relief medications

Although steroids can help reduce swelling, they shouldn’t be used for more than 7 days. Pain-relief medications will ease the pains and show great improvement in combination with crate rest.

ivdd in french bulldogs

Surgery of IVDD in French bulldogs

Surgery brings great success in the majority of cases, especially in dogs with IVDD atrophy of the spinal cord. In case when IVDD surgery doesn’t show improvement, using a dog wheelchair for your Frenchie can help your pup to stay active and still enjoy walks.

The approximate recovery time after surgery usually lasts from 6 to 8 weeks, so it’s highly important to restrict your Frenchie from activities during that period. Off-leash activities are strictly forbidden and the additional care will be determined based on your Frenchie’s neurological function.

We know how heart-breaking it sounds but in some cases, there isn’t a permanent solution for this condition. Living with a Frenchie who suffers from IVDD requires a lot of understanding, effort, love, and money.

Depending on the severity of the injury and your dog’s age, you should talk honestly with your vet and objectively observe your dog’s health. If the dog is struggling and facing serious pain, your vet may advise euthanasia. Although this solution might sound cruel, sometimes, it seems the best for the pet.