French Bulldog Eye Problems

A French Bulldog with Cherry Eye

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Frenchies & Eye Issues

Unfortunately, Frenchies are predisposed to a whole bunch of health issues— including eye issues.

9 Frenchie Eye Problems

  1. Cherry Eye: red, inflamed mass protruding from the eye
  2. Allergies: just like us, Frenchies can suffer from many types of allergies
  3. Dry eye: while not too serious, this condition can be bothersome for your Frenchie
  4. Corneal ulcers: a painful sore on the eye commonly caused by trauma
  5. Eye infections: treatment typically consists of oral & topical antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and sometimes surgery.
  6. Pink eye: also called conjunctivitis
  7. Entropion and Ectropion: this condition is when the eyelid rolls back
  8. Cataracts: cloudy film in eye that can impair vision; correctable with surgery
  9. Distichiasis and ectopic cilia: a hereditary disorder that causes abnormal eyelash development

1. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye gets its name from the red, inflamed mass that protrudes from the eye.

You really can’t miss it.

Did you know all dogs have a “third eyelid”?

It also goes by the fancy name of the nictitating membrane.

Signs of Cherry Eye

  • Swollen, red mass protruding from the eye (also called a “cherry pit”)
  • Drainage from the eye (overproduction of tears)
  • Dry eyes (underproduction of tears)
  • Impaired vision
  • Scratching or rubbing at their eye
  • Squinting

2. Allergies

Allergies are a response from your dog’s immune system as a result of exposure to an allergen or other foreign substance.

The severity of the allergic response can vary from just mild discomfort to severe hives, facial swelling, and rarely anaphylactic shock.

Severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock – which would require immediate veterinarian care– are pretty rare, and could be caused by things such as: vaccines, drugs, foods, or a bee sting.

There are many types of allergies, but skin allergies and food intolerance are the most common in Frenchies.

Signs of Allergies

  • Coughing
  • Face rubbing
  • Itchy skin
  • Licking their feet
  • Runny discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Sneezing and/or reverse sneezing
  • Stomach problems
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Chronic bad gas or diarrhea
  • Itchy butt

Allergies Prognosis

Treating your Frenchie’s allergies doesn’t have to be hard.

Allergy Treatment Options
  1. Remove the allergen
  2. Change their food if they’re allergic to it
  3. Anti-histamines
  4. Allergy shots

3. Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

Unfortunately, dry eye is another one of those conditions that Frenchies are at higher risk of developing…

Dry eye is also known as “Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca”

While dry eye can be annoying, there are many treatments that can help restore your Frenchie’s quality-of-life.

Signs your Frenchie has Dry Eye

  • Thick & sticky mucus discharge from eyes: over time, this will become crusty & stick to their eyelids.
  • Your dog is squinting or holding their eyes shut: this is a sign their eye is painful
  • Red & cloudy appearance to eye: redness can sometimes be seen around the eye

Dry Eye Treatments

  • Eye drops: the most common treatment for dry eye; moistens the eye; helps remove debris & allergens from the eye
  • Tear-stimulating medications: examples are Cyclosporine and Tacrolimus
  • Antibiotics: not always used; only when there is a bacterial infection
  • Surgery: when other treatments fail, surgery can provide dry eye relief

Dry Eye Prognosis

For more info on treating your Frenchie’s dry eye, check out this page from PetMD.

4. Corneal ulcers

Corneal ulcers are extremely painful sores on the eye typically caused by trauma. They can also be caused by other health conditions such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and hypothyroidism.

Corneal

Signs your Frenchie has a Corneal Ulcer

  • Squinting or blinking often
  • Redness
  • Eye discharge
  • They’re keeping their eyes shut

Corneal Ulcer Treatments

It’s important to treat corneal ulcers early– they’re painful & can lead to blindness if left untreated.

  • Topical antibiotics
  • Pain-relieving eye-drops

5. Eye infections

Types of Eye Infections

According to the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, there are 4 types of eye infections:

Signs your Frenchie has an Eye Infection

  • Discharge from eye
  • Eye redness
  • Frequent blinking
  • Scratching or rubbing eye
  • Squinting or Keeping eye shut
  • Swelling

6. Entropion and Ectropion

Entropion is a hereditary disorder of the eyelids. Entropion is an abnormality in which the eyelid “rolls” inward, causing the hair on the surface of the eyelid to rub against the cornea.

Unfortunately, brachycephalic breeds such as French Bulldogs are much more likely to develop entropion.

Signs your Frenchie has Entropion or Ectropion

  • Eye redness
  • Inner eye inflammation
  • Excess tears

It’s crucial that you get this treated as soon as possible; if left untreated, entropion can cause hairs on the surface
of the eyelid to run against the cornea causing pain, corneal ulcers, or corneal erosions.

The damage can result in corneal scarring which can interfere with vision.

7. Cataracts

Cataracts refer to the cloudiness in the lens of the eye. The cloudiness can range from complete to partial opacity.

Cataracts are a progressive disorder and can lead to blindness if not treated quickly.

In cases where cataracts are caused by diabetes, they progress even quicker.

Signs your Frenchie has Cataracts

  • Vision impairment
  • Little to no loss of vision
  • Loss of vision or difficulty seeing in dimly lit areas
  • Cloudy appearance in eye

8. Distichiasis and ectopic cilia

Distichiasis is a hereditary disorder in which an eyelash arises from an abnormal location on the eyelid or one that grows in an abnormal direction.

Signs of Distichiasis

  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye discharge
  • Eye pain
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Excessive tearing
  • Excessive blinking or squinting
  • Your Frenchie might also keep the eye tightly closed or paw at the eye

If your French Bulldog is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, they may be suffering from distichiasis.

It’s important that you seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to prevent damage to the eye.

Treatment of Distichiasis

In most cases, the distichiae will have to be surgically removed. Surgery is extremely effective in treating diastasis, however, multiple surgeries may be required over your dog’s lifetime.

The procedure can be performed when your dog has reached their adult size.

It’s important that you don’t put off the surgery as it can damage the eye, resulting in permanent visual deficits.

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