French Bulldog Puppy Lower Body Weakness and Floppiness
Dear Dr. Kraemer, our 6-month-old bulldog, Albert, has always been “floppy”, We assumed it was just part of being a puppy and needing to gain strength.
However, as Albert has grown (he’s almost 50 lbs) he doesn’t maneuver well.
Albert cannot go up steps because his lower body appears too weak to lift his upper body. he does a lot of lying around and moves with his upper body to see things. Our vet said it may just be that he’s still growing and getting used to his body but this doesn’t seem normal.
Albert does have an unusually long tail which I’m wondering if may have something to do with his spine development. I ordered a pet DNA/health kit to see if that will tell us anything.
His breeder claims he’s purebred but he’s got a very small head and his legs back legs look like they belong to a much smaller breed. Is there anything we can do?
He just learned how to go downstairs last week and we walk him occasionally but he gets tired quickly. He plays with his French bulldog “sister” often but mostly from sitting/lying down position.
I’d love to get an idea from you of what we may do to help him? He’s the sweetest dog and we love him so much.
Answer for French Bulldog Puppy Lower Body Weakness and Floppiness
Hi Brenda, I adore Albert’s picture; it looks fantastic.
Considering his age (6 months), Albert should already exhibit full strength and energy, comparable to a 5-year-old human. If he struggles with ascending and descending stairs due to lower body weakness, it’s evident that there’s a concern that needs attention.
Answer for Bulldog Puppy Lower Body Weakness: VET and BREEDER:
I cannot comment on the veterinarian’s degree of concern since I’m not conducting the examination. However, considering the potential conflict of interest with the breeder, I understand your skepticism.
The additional worry about stamina is noteworthy, and seeking a second opinion would be advisable.
Answer for French Bulldog Puppy Lower Body Weakness OBESITY:
You noted that he weighs 50 pounds at six months old. This could be a typo in your report, or Albert might be overweight or even obese.
Typically, the average weight for a French Bulldog puppy is under 20 lbs., and for an adult French Bulldog, it’s under 30 lbs. Even English Bulldog puppies rarely reach 50 lbs. at six months.
If he truly weighs 50 lbs., it’s highly likely that this is a significant factor contributing to his hind leg weakness and “floppiness.”
Answer for French Bulldog Puppy Lower Body Weakness RULE OUTS:
The following bulldog medical conditions should be ruled out; some of them can cause hind leg weakness:
BULLDOG ORTHOPEDICS DISEASE:
Orthopedic problems such
- medial patella luxation (MPL)
- bulldog ACL
- Hip dysplasia.
- OCD (osteochondrosis dissecans)
- Panosteitis to name a few.
BULLDOG NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE:
Many of the breeds have neurological conditions consistent with your description, examples are:
- Bulldog vertebral malformation
- Bulldog IVDD (intravertebral disc disease)
- Myasthenia gravis (MG): a neuromuscular disorder
BULLDOG CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE:
Heart and vascular disease can lead to poor tissue perfusion (oxygen delivery to tissue) that manifests as “weakness”. Examples are congenital heart diseases like
- Aortic Stenosis
- Pulmonic Stenosis
- Other shunts
BULLDOG ENDOCRINE DISEASE:
Hormonal abnormalities can also lead to weakness, examples are:
- Typical and atypical hypoadrenalism (Addison disease)
Bulldog Lower Body Weakness and Floppiness DIAGNOSIS TESTINGS:
I would start with the following tests:
Radiographs of your bulldog hips, knees, and vertebral column
CBC, Chemistries, Urine Analysis, ACTH stimulation test, Fecal Test
A cardiovascular exam that includes ECG, blood pressure, chest radiographs, and an Echocardiogram.
The DNA testing would not be my diagnostic priority, though it might settle the breed purity concerns
Keep me posted
Dr. Kraemer Vet4Bulldog
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