Anesthesia in bulldogs and French bulldogs is riskier then other dog breeds because in bulldogs the upper muscle of respiration becomes relaxed and inactive during general anesthesia. This inactivity is not a problem for most dogs since they have the ability to maintain respiration passively, however, this isn’t the case for your English Bulldog , or French Bulldog.
Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs as well as sedation is more complicated than with anesthesia use in other breeds. In contrast to other breeds, bulldog puppies can’t maintain passive respiration under general anesthesia and therefore require an active compensatory hyperactivity of those upper airway respiratory muscles in order to maintain airway patency.
Anesthesia in bulldogs and french bulldogs requires an active compensatory dependency and bulldogs suffering from brachycephalic syndrome require even a greater active respiratory compensation. Thus, bulldogs and french bulldogs suffering from elongated soft palate, and stenotic nares, are at even higher anesthetic risk than other bulldogs. Those airway and laryngeal conditions can further exacerbate anesthetic complications by the increasing vagal tone triggered by the breed’s excessive upper airway negative pressure, which then often leads to vomiting and gagging. Retching, gagging and vomiting can lead to gastric content aspiration with aspiration pneumonia being the most likely outcome. Pneumonia can have dire consequences on any dog and becomes even more of a risk to one undergoing anesthesia.
For safety, anesthesia and proper bulldog recovery care is extremely important. Weight control will make your bulldog puppy a much better anesthetic prospect. Consult with your veterinarian about getting current vomiting and gagging under control before scheduling any anesthetic procedure. .
It’s important to discuss any bulldog anesthetic and recovery concerns you may have with your veterinarian. Confirm that the surgical team is well-versed with the bulldog breed, the related anesthesia risks, and how to best neutralize them making the event a success and uneventful.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #1: Dr. Kraemer use a special “Bully Anesthetic Protocol” that provides 100% oxygen administration before anesthesia to help saturate your bulldog puppy lungs with extra oxygen.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #2: Dr. Kraemer formulated a “Bulldog Anesthetic Protocol” that includes provisions for possible vomiting, laryngeal edema as well as pain management and anti-anxiety all designed to reduce the common anesthetic complications we see in that breed.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #3: All our anesthetic cases bulldogs and other breeds have a heart healthy screen with an ECG and a cardiologist report, as well as pre anesthetic blood lab work.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #4 :Most veterinary hospital use isofulrane for their anesthesia due to the vapor low cost. For the safety of our bulldog anesthetic patients as well as our non bulldogs pets Dr. Kraemer only use sevoflurane inhaling anesthetic. Sevoflurane is the gold standard in human anesthesia and considered the safest and most reliable inhalant anesthetic. .
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #5 : During the anesthetic procedure all our bulldogs are on a constant IV fluid drip to maintain circulatory hydration and prefusion. Your bulldog will be attached to an ECG, blood pressure and temperature monitor, heart rate monitor and a pulse-oxmeter that monitors tissue oxygen saturation.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #6: After anesthesia, we keep the endotracheal tube in place with 100% oxygen (rather than room air) as long as we can. Bulldogs will tolerate the tube even semi awake.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #7: For post anesthesia home supervision, keeping your bully in a sternal position with the tongue pulled/stretched should help to open the upper airways and will allow you to monitor the color. Pink is good, blue is bad.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia Safety in Bulldogs Tip #8: For post anesthesia home monitoring, we advise that you keep your bulldog well ventilated. If excessive panting is observed, check their temperature, If temperature is above 100F, I usually recommend that you turn a fan on and position it facing your bulldog.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #9: At home, keep your bully relaxed and stress free. If necessary ask for tranquilizers.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Warning #1: We always check the palate and saccules (see BCS) during induction. If I see abnormalities I always repair them first to avoid post anesthesia complications such as laryngeal edema. Elective surgery can be done the same day or otherwise postponed to a different day (typically 2 weeks later).
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Warning #2: If there is a history of gagging, vomiting and of course coughing, we always take chest x-rays before putting your bully “under” to rule out pneumonia (see our chapter on Aspiration Pneumonia).
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Warning #3: Contrary to what you might believe, my biggest concern is not the duration of time that your bully is under anesthesia but rather the post-anesthesia recovery stage. Complications like laryngeal edema, pneumonia, pulmonary and cardiac irregularities, typically erupt after extubation and are potentially deadly. We always keep the endo-tracheal tube with 100% oxygen as long as we can and a “bulldog certified” staff member is seated next to your bulldog for the first hour of recovery to constantly monitor color, respiration, temperature and vital signs.
Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Warning #4: For the first 12-24 hours after an anesthetic procedure, I don’t recommend keeping bulldogs unattended.