French Bulldog Back Problems: The Ultimate Guide!

Like any other dog, Frenchie’s are more susceptible to back problems and other diseases due to its build and other anatomical features. This is due to their inborn deformities like short backs, legs, curled tails, and spines. These are some of the reasons why they suffer.

Unfortunately, French bulldogs are highly susceptible to expensive back problems like IVDD. These issues are typically only resolved through surgery and can get quite expensive.

French Bulldog Back Problems: Hip and Spine

Hemivertebrae is a congenital condition where one side of a vertebra (one of the small bones that make up the spine) fails to develop fully, resulting in a wedge-shaped vertebra instead of a normal rectangular shape. This abnormality can cause spinal deformities and can be a concern in certain dog breeds, including French Bulldogs.

In dogs with hemivertebrae, the malformed vertebrae can lead to curvature of the spine, which is known as scoliosis, kyphosis, or lordosis, depending on the direction of the curvature.

This can sometimes result in neurological issues if the spinal cord or nerves are affected by the abnormality. In severe cases, it can lead to paralysis or other mobility problems.

Hemivertebrae can be detected through X-rays and is often diagnosed early in a dog’s life, as it is a congenital condition. If diagnosed, treatment options and management strategies can be discussed with a veterinarian, depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on the dog’s quality of life.

The signs that your dog will experience are as follows:

  • Pain
  • Weakening hind limbs
  • Lack of control in urinary or defecation

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a disorder that’s also common for French Bulldog’s back problems where the thigh-bone doesn’t fit into the hip. The condition is hereditary, so it’s essential to verify that your pet’s parents are free from this disease. Dysplasia’s symptoms are the lack to use of one or more limbs or signs of pain with arthritis.

Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD

Frenchie’s also have multiple bones line up during a row, a bit like humans. These multiple bones are called vertebrae. These are protecting and surrounding the medulla spinalis. It transmits information and is a messenger from the brain to the legs and the other way around.

The jelly donut shaped like in between pair of vertebrae is named the intervertebral disk. The process is insertions and ‘cushion’ between the bones on the neck and back in French bulldogs. When the disc within the spine flares up or dislocate from its place, it’s excruciating for your pets. A ruptured disc can cause temporary paralysis. The worst case is it might be permanent.

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? A physical examination done by your vet helps them determine where the precise area of the damaged spine and best treatment options.

Cervical intervertebral disk disease pets usually have a painful behavior with crying aloud with no visible cause. Not all the time, but occasionally a pinched nerve will result in the lack of using their forelimb properly. Furthermore, weakness of limb, shaky posture and pain within the neck when moved or touched are all seen on the examination.

Dogs that suffer from spinal intervertebral disk disease 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, spasms on neck or back, hunched back and appetite loss. If you recognized these symptoms, visit the vet directly.

How much does surgery costs?

The intervertebral disk Disease cases are a high-cost proposition. The quality cost for imaging techniques is $1,000 to $3,000, while individual surgical procedures will usually cost from $1,500 to $4,000.

In hip dysplasia, where the French dog would wish a hip replacement, the surgery value would $3,500 to $7,000 per hip. If both joints are affected, that puts the surgery closer to $7,000 to $14,000.

Other Spinal Diseases

Degenerative myelopathy may be a nervus spinalis disease that creates your Frenchie experience trouble moving their hind legs. Eventually, they’re going to strive to regulate their bowels. Your pet might begin to lose muscle mass and start having problems standing. Within the end, your lovable Frenchie will become paralyzed.

This disease will hold them and control their lifestyle. It will going to start saying goodbye to its social life and couldn’t follow you around. It’ll break the owner’s heart to ascertain their dog companion struggling was climbing the furniture or stairs.

How to identify the back problems of French Bulldogs

The veterinary neurologist deals with things affecting the brain, medulla spinalis, muscles, and animal nerves. They determine your pet’s back problems, the severity, lists of causes, and advice on the best course of action.

Radiographs or X-rays are beneficial in diagnosing IVDD. But remember that radiographs or X-rays alone are not enough. However, they assist the search for other causes like tumors, bone infections, and broken bones.

CT scans can at times analyze IVDD but, unfortunately, can miss other causes. It is better to consider IVDD through Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI and myelography. Though myelography is an older test and not suggested because it is more aggressive and prone to complications.

Back problems treatment and medications

Treatment always depends on how severe the case is and if it’s essential. For dogs with mild signs of back problems and having spinal cord compression due to hemivertebrae, medications like bed rest and anti-inflammatory are necessary. Luckily, the resulting improvement will be visible for 48 hours.

However, if the compression is more significant, surgery solves this. The procedure is called hemilaminectomy, where the material of the disc pressing against the spinal cord will remove. This procedure will stabilize the spine.

Cervical IVDD patients with slight neural dysfunction believed a candidate for surgery. All dogs that failed to respond to medication; do not show any improvement, and symptoms kept on progressing are also considered to undergo this treatment.

The procedures include creating a small window in the bone around the spinal cord to obtain access to the disk material. When the materials are gone, the medulla spinalis will relieve from compression and allows it to heal.

Surgery helps reduce pain, removing medulla spinalis compression, and increasing patient recovery.

What is the success rate of back surgeries in French bulldogs?

The success rate of surgeries is greater than 80% for patients diagnosed with pain alone from cervical IVDD. The elimination of pain and resume of an active lifestyle are higher.

Nevertheless, spinal IVDD patients would continuously depend on the existing indications. Weak or paralyzed patients have an enormous chance of recovery with surgery. Most of them show improvement within the first few weeks of the process.

Dogs that have severe spinal cord trauma experience paralysis; and the inability to feel their legs. They are the ones who have little ability to heal. The chances of getting better are 5% and 50% by getting surgery.
The success rate of hemilaminectomy is 90%. In most cases, dogs do not experience 100% recovery because of chronic spinal cord compression and shrinking.

What are the complications of surgeries?

The good news is the rates of complications are low. Some dogs will experience seizure-like action as a normal reaction to liquid injected during a myelogram. These responses are usual and could handle by Valium.

Other specific complications for back surgery are hematomas, surgical infections, progressive myelomalacia, and nerve root injury. Neurological deterioration is also a well-known complication too. Dogs may suffer confusion, anxiety, or restlessness; however, neurological damage can be manageable and heal.

How long will my pet be hospitalized after back surgery?

The entire day of a dog’s confinement will differ on their recovery, efficient development, and comfort levels. Also, it will depend on the severity of the case. Hospitals will always give the owner an update about their pet’s progress. Naturally, the vet deliberates that they continuously check if the dog can urinate freely or resumes its ability to walk.

Taking Care Of Your Frenchie After Surgery

Mostly, the kinds of stuff that must do after operation involve action restrictions. Crate rest recommends restricting their movement. Owners can put a crib inside, give water and foodstuff. They must leash to limit them from moving around too. They might be too excited to follow their owner around, so we have to restrict them in the meantime. Owners also need to aid their pets walk and urinate. Some cases require continuous medication and physical rehabilitation.

Additionally, animal rehabilitation, like swimming exercises, reflexology, and simple activity, is suggested. The physical therapist must be present and shall do at their units. They are trained and professional, so there is nothing to fear.

Acupuncture believes to be an assistance that some doctors advise. In addition to helping your pet redeem the skill to walk, it is also best to include managing their bladder function. It is essential to stimulate the urination’s ability by keeping the bladder empty and using certain drugs to make it happen.

Is there a need for a post surgery check-up?

Yes! It is an integral part of the overall treatment plan to assess the patient’s recovery from spinal surgery. They re-examined after four weeks from operation. In some cases, frequent re-checks may advise if they have lengthy development.

What will happen to my dog after surgery?

The opportunity to recover will immediately give to your dog. Your pet will monitor in the recovery room by nurses and vets. They will deliver your Frenchie painkillers and another remedy that will help them recuperate from the operation. Once improved from the procedures and mends from anesthesia, your dog will transport to the surgical ward to continue medical care. They will assess by their surgeon and another medical team for a rehabilitation program.

Physical therapy plays a significant role in your dog’s ability to resume walking. Perform some exercises like controlled walks. With luck and together with your dog’s capacity to recover immediately, it’ll back to normal again.

After spinal surgery requires a commitment, this is when your pet will need your extra care, so be sure to be always there for your adorable Frenchie.

Chances of IVDD happening again in French Bulldogs

Sadly, the chance of IVDD happening again to your Frenchie is high. To prevent this from happening again, some facilities performed precautionary methods on all French bulldogs that chose surgery for their disc herniation.

Also, here are some steps to avoid IVDD in French bulldogs.

Keep your Frenchie thin. Please keep your pets weigh down to lessen stress on their back and neck. Besides, a noticeable waist and certainly felt ribs are the best shapes for French bulldogs.

Do not overfeed them. It will only cultivate more fat cells that will only put pressure on their back and feet. I know that owners like to give everything to their Frenchie but hey! Overfeeding isn’t one of them.

Healthy diet. Junk food and sweets are a big no to their intake. Feed them with a top-quality animal protein to market muscle growth. Beware of kibbles sold to market. Unfortunately, many of them only contain an adequate amount of meat, so it’s better to offer them raw meaty bones, flesh, and organs.

Furthermore, to produce puppies with healthy bones, pregnant bitch needed to take healthy foods. They can’t have puppies with healthy skeletons by only eating commercial dog food.

Let your French Bulldog fully grow before getting neuter or spay. Assume done at an early age, the danger in IVDD, hip dysplasia, bone cancer, and obesity is probable.

Final thoughts

Knowing the anatomical features of French bulldogs may prepare us for possible problems. We hope that the information posted provides some ideas on how to handle French Bulldog’s back problem. Continuously bear in mind that if any of the indications ascend, seek immediate medical attention.

Never ignored the signs when it comes to the health of your beloved Frenchie. Also, do not self-medicate your pets. The above information is only guidelines and for awareness. It is still better to seek professional help than to be sorry.

Keep in mind, if IVDD indicators arise, seek medical attention right away. Every hour is vital, and waiting too long can cause permanent injury.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

Leave a Comment