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French Bulldogs and Eye Problems

Cataracts

There are two types of cataracts that can affect the French bulldog. These are “juvenile cataracts” and “old age cataracts.” Juvenile cataracts, is a genetic condition which is hereditary and which shows up at a very early age. Although it affects the vision, most dogs can live comfortably throughout their life, with substantial deterioration of vision occurring at an older age. The ‘old age’ cataract is a degenerative process that may result due to old age, injury or a reaction to certain medications. Symptoms of cataracts include a cloudy appearance to the lens of the eye. This reduces the amount of light that reaches the retina and can lead to blurring or blindness. Cataracts may affect one eye or both the eyes.

Cherry eye

Cherry eye is a condition where an extra third eyelid pops out and can affect your pet’s vision. This eyelid is a protective eyelid that contains the tear producing gland. Symptoms include an eyelid which appears as a red swollen pulp and which covers a large portion of the cornea. Immediate veterinarian attention is required to treat the condition and to minimize any damage. Options to surgically replace the gland are available through the veterinarian who will decide the best course of treatment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Also known as PRA, this is a hereditary disorder which causes blindness in the French bulldog. The light reaching the retina is not conveyed to the brain which ultimately affects vision. Symptoms include night blindness, an inability to adjust to dim light, and an inability to see during the daytime as well. The pupils become unusually dilated but the vision is still zero.

Distichiasis

This is a condition where there is abnormal hair growth on the eyelids. The hairs that grow are long and stiff, causing much pain and can lead to corneal ulcers. This condition may affect young adults or older puppies. Symptoms include intermittent squinting and/or rubbing of the eyes, as the hair cause irritation at the edge of the eyelids. Most cases can be treated with surgery where the abnormal hair follicles are frozen and the hair is removed. This procedure is called cryoepilation, which means removal of hair (epilating) with the use of liquid nitrogen (cryo).

When grooming your French Bulldog, look out for symptoms of these conditions. Early treatment can greatly reduce the potential for permanent eye problems, such as loss of vision.