Summer Prep

I've been rushing to get someone to install the new air conditioning brackets - a new mandatory requirement by the city. The handyman can only come early next week which means we'll have to deal with the warmer temperatures for a few more days. The urgency is of course because of Eti who despite having excellent breathing apparatus- no snoring ( well- just an occasional tiny snore which I actually quite like and find calming), no labored breathing when exercising and certainly no other worse symptoms like vomiting or 'roaring' where they are really struggling to breathe- as I've seen in some frenchies. When the weather goes over 80 degrees however I see a marked change in his comfort level and its really not possible to exist without the air conditioning at full blast 24 hours a day all through the summer months.

Additionally I found a nifty ice cube tray that freezes tubular spikes of of ice that can be dropped into a water bottle- which perfectly melts to cool water when needed at the destination or the bottle can be used as a cooling device on his face or belly. I've also begun to mentally re align my schedule to account for the fact that he simply can't be outside beyond 10 am or so and not again till early evening cools things down again. So wake up for me is brought forward to 7.30am which is already instituted as Eti's internal clock responds to the earlier daylight. Ever been woken up by a French Bulldog lying on your shin licking your toes at 6.30 in the morning? Welcome to my world-if you're reading this you're probably already there.

Let's see what else. Oh yes, budget for more cab rides because the subway turns into a furnace and frankly prepare for a little worrying. I get worried that if I stay out too long something drastic might happen like a power failure and the air conditioning cuts out and all the windows are closed. I know I shouldn't but I can't help it- and so my social life takes a little dive during the summer months. Not to forget the panic attacks you get halfway on route downtown- OMG I totally forgot to bring the bottle with the ice cubes.

I watched a PBS program a little while ago about the evolution of dogs and was struck particularly by the Inuit dogs that provide all the transport, protection (they can take down a polar bear) and even hunt for their masters. The Inuit to this day are hugely reliant on their dogs who still perform many tasks relevant to their daily survival. How on earth I got suckered into the reverse situation here with Eti, I'll never know. French Bulldogs have the most cunning evolutionary survival strategy ever- find humans to perform all tasks including provision of food and shelter, porterage and all hygenic ministrations, in return look adorable and have an irresistable personality.



Flat Faced Features

I was aware of some of the breed specific problems that Frenchies have being brachycephalic, mainly by reading the excellent article by Jan Grebe called 'The Brachycephalic Syndrome' (Part I & II) but I didn't realise there were other problems as well as an interesting fact- their visual field is more like ours than other dogs which is why they may be more likely to enjoy watching TV with you.

I discovered this on another Frenchie Afficionado's site Good Bloggie. Her post on the subject points to the research that supports this and follows with another post about adverse reactions to Rabies Vaccines- which she additionaly informed me that there is a 2005 American Journal of Veterinary Research study that found brachycephalic dogs were most susceptible to reacting to.

I was then of course curious to see what else were flat faced features and discoverd that eye prominence was another one. From Marvistvet:

Sometimes, the eyes are so prominent that the lids cannot close all the way over the eyes. This will lead to irritation and drying of the center of the eye unless surgical correction is performed. If you cannot tell by watching your pet blink, watch as your pet sleeps. Dogs who sleep without closing their eyes all the way could do with surgical correction.

Eyelid problems are common in these breeds. Look for persistent wetness around the eyes. In some dogs, the shape of the eyelids prevents normal tear drainage and there is an overflow. This problem cannot be corrected surgically and is not uncomfortable for the pet; however, there is a more serious condition which looks similar. This second condition involves the rolling inward of the eyelids such that the lashes rub on the eye. Surgery may be needed to correct this problem.

I actually know of a couple of Frenchies with the former situation who had surgical procedures. The latter combined with facial folds, another brachycephalic feature increases the potential for skin fold infections also something I've witnessed in a few Frenchies.

Another concern is dental:
The normal dog has 42 teeth in its mouth. The brachycephalic dog also has 42 teeth but a lot less space to fit them in. This means that the teeth will be crowded and growing in at odd angles which, in turn, traps food debris and leads to periodontal disease at a far younger age than in non-brachycephalics. The earlier you begin using home care dental products, the longer you will be able to postpone full dentistry under general anesthesia.
I also came across an interesting study that links brachycephalic dog with upper respiratory problems with a greater incidence of gastrointestinal lesions. The full text can be downloaded from here but one finding was that 'surgery on their upper respiratory airways showed marked clinical respiratory and digestive improvement associated with marked improvement in the digestive abnormalities confirmed by a control endoscopy.'


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