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Frenchie spines are not normal. Many have deformed vertebrae in their spines to achieve the necessary roached back to meet the breed standard. There are varying degrees of vertebrae deformity called Hemi-vertebrae and Butterfly vertebrae and if they are located in the supported area of the thorax most dogs will live a full active life provided precautions are taken.  It is important to X Ray all puppies to determine the degree and location of deformed vertebrae in order to place the puppy in the appropriate home environment. At Maxime French Bulldogs all our puppies are x rayed at 8 - 9 weeks old.


Lateral View of Canine spine.jpg

Importrant Most back injuries in Frenchies can be prevented.

Most common causes are

  • Jumping down from furniture. Beds, sofa etc.  Get ramps and train your dog to use them.

  • Falling off furniture.

  • Larger dog or child putting pressure on dog's back. We see this happen in doggie day care situations.

  • Jumping up and down trying to get to something high up.

  • Lifting dog by collar and not picking her up supporting her weight.

Importrant - DO NOT ALLOW your Frenchie to jump down from heights more than 16". Jumping off the bed onto the floor is the largest cause of soft tissue injuries in this breed and can easily herniate or rupture a disk requiring expensive back surgery costing 10k-12k at a specialty hospital. To defer these costs, get pet insurance on your Frenchie.

Intervertebral Disk Disease(IVDD) in Dogs -
Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Signs your dog has hurt her back:

  • Shivering – especially when combined with unusual inactivity

  • Refusal to get up and play, even for food

  • A yelp when you pet your dog or try to pick him up

  • A pulled-in head, arched back, or any other strange position

  • A refusal to bend down to the food or water dish to eat or drink

  • Limping of any kind

  • A “drunken” rear end, which moves but looks as if it isn’t completely under control

  • Dragging of the back legs

Not all back injuries are severe and require surgery. Levels 1 through 3 can recover with 6 weeks of strict crate rest, pain killers and anti inflammatory medicine.

When severe back injury first occurs get your dog to a specialty hospital with a certified veterinary Neurologist not your regular DVM. These hospitals usually have emergency centers attached and are listed on the Internet as having a Neurology department.
The quicker your dog gets the right treatment the better chances of recovery.

Severe Cases --Myelomalcia

Herniated Surgical Disk Repair

If your dog injures her spine severly get to a Vet Neurologist with 24-48 hours to be safe.
Brain tumors

Unfortunately brain tumors are becoming a problem in the breed. In the last 4 years we are seeing it appear more frequently.

Neurology-Brain Tumors

Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Dogs

  • Seizures

  • Blindness

  • Walking in circles

  • Postural reaction deficits

  • Head Tilt

  • Behavior changes

  • Weakness

  • Abnormal eye movements

  • Abnormal eye position

  • Facial droop

  • One-sided head muscle atrophy

  • Atrophy to the mouth


Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Dogs

Note: Deep Inner Ear infections can present some of these symptoms. 

Dog Head Shaking - Idiopathic Head Tremors
not a brain tumor

How to Perform a Neurologic Exam

Most Common Neurological Conditions In French Bulldogs  (47minutes)
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