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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