Editor’s note: This article has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM. Dr. Ochoa is a graduate of St. George’s University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.
Bull Terriers are a breed of dog known for their unique appearance that can suffer from a variety of health concerns. Some common Bull Terrier health problems include allergies, skin problems, eye problems, and deafness.
It is important to be aware of these potential health issues before you decide to bring a Bull Terrier into your home. This blog post will discuss the most common Bull Terrier health concerns so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this breed is right for you.
- Patellar Luxation
- Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) Dry Eye
- Pulmonic Stenosis
- Tail Chasing
- Skin Problems
- Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Canine von Willebrand Disease (vWD)
Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs, including itchiness, rashes, hair loss, and respiratory problems. While any dog can develop allergies, Bull Terriers seem to be particularly prone to them.
There are many ways to manage allergies in Bull Terriers. With the help of a veterinarian, owners can determine the best course of action for their dog. In some cases, this may involve medication or dietary changes.
2. Patellar Luxation
Bull Terriers are prone to Patellar Luxation, a condition that affects the knee joint of dogs. The patella, or kneecap, is dislocated from its normal position in the groove of the femur. This can happen either as a result of an injury or due to genetics.
The main symptom of Patellar Luxation is lameness in the affected leg. Dogs with this condition will often hold their leg up for short periods of time or may skip when they walk.
Treatment typically involves surgical correction of the luxation, followed by physical therapy to help the dog regain strength and mobility. With proper care, most dogs with patellar luxation can live relatively normal lives.
3. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycystic kidney disease is a condition that affects Bull Terriers and other dogs. The disease is caused by an excess of cysts on the kidneys, which can lead to kidney damage and failure. Symptoms of PKD include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy.
Treatment for the disease is typically limited to symptomatic relief, as there is no cure. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for affected dogs.
Many Bull Terriers are born deaf due to a genetic mutation that affects the development of the inner ear. This can make it difficult to communicate with them and teach them basic obedience commands. Additionally, deaf dogs are at an increased risk of injuries due to their lack of awareness of potential dangers.
Despite these challenges, many deaf Bull Terriers live happy and healthy lives with their loving families. With patience and understanding, they can be wonderful companions.
5. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) Dry Eye
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that causes the eyes to produce insufficient tears. This can lead to several problems, including irritation, inflammation, and corneal ulcers. KCS is relatively rare in dogs, but it is particularly common in Bull Terriers. The exact cause of the condition is not known, but it is thought to be genetic.
Bull Terriers with KCS will need lifelong treatment, which may include artificial tears, eye ointments, and/or oral medication. With proper treatment, most dogs with KCS can live normal, happy lives. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as any signs of the condition are noticed.
6. Pulmonic Stenosis
The most common type of heart disease in Bull Terriers is called pulmonic stenosis, which is a narrowing of the pulmonary valve. This can cause the heart to work harder to pump blood through the lungs, and it can ultimately lead to heart failure. symptoms of pulmonic stenosis include exercise intolerance, fainting, and shortness of breath.
While there is no cure for this condition, there are ways to manage it and improve the quality of your dog’s life. With proper care and treatment, Bull Terriers with heart disease can enjoy many happy years with their families.
7. Tail Chasing
Lots of dogs have a tendency to chase their own tail. It can certainly be entertaining to watch, but for some Bull Terriers it can actually become a repetitive, compulsive neurologic disorder.
If you notice this happening with your Bull Terrier, try to distract him and divert his attention. Never encourage him to chase his tail as this can make his neurosis worse.
If your dog seems to be obsessed with chasing his own tail, make sure to let you veterinarian know right away.
The Bull Terrier breed is susceptible to obesity, with approximately 30% of Bull Terriers being overweight or obese. This is largely due to the fact that Bull Terriers have a hearty appetite and tend to overeat if given the opportunity. Obesity can cause joint pain, respiratory problems, and diabetes, among other health issues.
Fortunately, there are steps that owners can take to help their Bull Terriers maintain a healthy weight. For example, feeding multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one large one can help to control your dog’s appetite. In addition, making sure that your dog doesn’t eat too much human food and gets plenty of exercise will help to keep them fit and healthy.
9. Skin Problems
A Bull Terrier’s skin is very thin and sensitive, and it can be easily damaged by cuts or scrapes. In addition, Bull Terriers are prone to seborrhea, a condition that causes the skin to produce too much oil. As a result, Bull Terriers often suffer from dry, flaky skin.
While these problems can be frustrating for both owners and dogs, there are a number of treatments that can help to relieve the symptoms. For example, regular bathing with special shampoos and conditioners can help to remove allergens and excess oil from the skin.
Bull Terriers are also prone to a condition called hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. This can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, hair loss, and lethargy.
If you think your Bull Terrier may be showing signs of hypothyroidism, contact your veterinarian for an evaluation. With early diagnosis and treatment, your dog can enjoy many years by your side.
11. Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a condition that can affect the joints of dogs. It is caused by a disruption in the blood supply to the cartilage, which can lead to the death of the tissue and the formation of bone spurs. OCD is most commonly seen in large breed dogs, particularly those with short legs, such as Bull Terriers.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the bone spurs and relieve the pressure on the joint. With proper care, however, most Bull Terriers with OCD can enjoy a good quality of life.
12. Laryngeal Paralysis
Bull Terriers are prone to a condition called laryngeal paralysis caused by a loss of nerve function in the larynx, or voice box. This can cause the tissues in the larynx to become floppy and block the airway. Bull Terriers with laryngeal paralysis may have a hoarse bark or may make a honking sound when they breathe.
Although there is no cure for laryngeal paralysis, affected dogs can often lead normal lives with proper medical care. Early diagnosis and treatment may help to improve the dog’s quality of life.
13. Canine von Willebrand Disease (vWD)
Canine von Willebrand disease (vWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder that occurs in several dog breeds, including Bull Terriers. The disease is caused by a deficiency of a protein called von Willebrand factor (vWF), which is responsible for helping blood to clot. Without enough vWF, dogs with vWD may bleed excessively from even minor injuries.
In severe cases, vWD can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding. There is no cure for vWD, but affected dogs can be managed with medication and other treatments. With proper care, dogs with vWD can enjoy a good quality of life.
Bull Terrier Health Concerns Final Thoughts
Overall, Bull Terriers are no more inclined to have health issues than other breeds, but there are specific health problems that show up more in the Bull Terrier than other breeds.
If you are considering adding a Bull Terrier to your family, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the best way to keep your dog healthy. And remember, even if your dog does develop a health problem, there are many treatments available that can help them get back on their feet.
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