Anesthesia in Bulldogs and
French Bulldogs

Anesthesia in bulldogs and French bulldogs monitoring and safety

Anesthesia in bulldogs and French bulldogs monitoring and safety

Anesthesia in bulldogs and French bulldogs is riskier than 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.  In contrast to other breeds, bulldogs and French bulldogs under general anesthesia CAN NOT maintain passive respiration thus in order to maintain airway patency they require active compensatory hyperactivity of their upper airway respiratory muscles.


Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Safety Maintenance:

Anesthesia in bulldogs and French bulldogs requires an active compensatory dependency, but bulldogs suffering from brachycephalic syndrome require even a greater active respiratory compensation. Thus, bulldogs suffering from elongated soft palate,  and   stenotic nares,  are at higher anesthetic risk than other bulldogs. Those airway and laryngeal common conditions can further exacerbate anesthetic complications. Bulldogs and French bulldogs suffering from the brachycephalic syndrome are likely to also exhibit a high vagal tone due to the excessive upper airway negative pressure, which often will trigger vomiting and gagging. Retching, gagging, and vomiting can lead to aspiration with aspiration pneumonia being the most likely outcome. Pneumonia can have dire consequences on any bulldog and even a higher risk to those undergoing anesthesia.

Consult with your veterinarian about getting current vomiting and gagging under control before scheduling any anesthetic procedure. 

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B B Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Safety Rule of Thumb:

Bulldog Anesthesia saefty and monitoring , post op Oxygean Cage For a Elongated Soft Palate

Bulldog Anesthesia safety and monitoring , post op Oxygen Cage For a Elongated Soft Palate

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 V4B Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Safety Tips & Warnings:

Dr. Kraemer’s Anesthesia in Bulldogs and French Bulldog Tip #1: Dr. Kraemer implaments 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 isoflurane 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 uses 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 perfusion. Your bulldog will be attached to an ECG, blood pressure and temperature monitor, heart rate monitor and a pulse-oximeter 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 the 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.

Pre Anesthesia ECG in English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Pre Anesthesia ECG in English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

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 endotracheal 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.

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