Common Health Problems in Bichon Frise

The small, white fluffy dog known as the Bichon Frise is a favorite dog breed around the world. And with their playful, jesting, friendly demeanor, it’s not hard to see why!

Common Health Problems in Bichon Frise

However, much like other purebred pooches, the Bichon Frise is prone to a range of health problems, ranging from the mild and moderate to the more severe. If you’re not aware of what health conditions your Bichon Frise is predisposed to, you could miss the early signs that lead to the all-important prompt diagnosis. So, let’s take a look at common health problems in Bichon Frise:

What eye problems could the Bichon Frise develop?

Any Bichon Frise fan knows that this fluffball is prone to dark goo building up around their eyes. But did you know that Bichon Frises are also prone to cataracts?

Yes, a Bichon Frise can inherit cataracts. A Bichon Frise affected by cataracts will have cloudy or milky-looking eyes. This film interferes with the light reaching the back of the dog’s eye, leading to difficulty seeing and even complete vision loss. Thankfully, treatment is usually simple, and breeders usually screen against cataracts.

Is the Bichon Frise prone to teeth problems?

The Bichon Frise is a flat-faced or brachycephalic breed. This is why Bichons have those fierce-looking underbites! However, the shape of their jaw also means that Bichon Frises are prone to dental problems. You’ve probably noticed that your own Bichon Frise struggles to eat large pieces of kibble or takes longer to eat than other dogs do. Maybe they can’t play with certain toys easily.

Yes, the Bichon Frise is somewhat more prone to tartar and plaque buildup than other dogs. But daily chew toys, water bowl additives, or regular tooth brushing, as well as the use of rope and chew toys can go a long way in preventing brachycephaly from becoming a problem.

Products to help with teeth problems

Does the Bichon Frise get ear problems?

Bichon Frises have droopy ears, like the Cocker Spaniel or Bloodhound. These ears are not usually a problem, and actually, protect your Bichon Frise against most debris. However, your Bichon Frise does have hair growing in their ear canals. You will have to keep an eye on this hair to prevent ear infections.

Watch for redness or foul odors in your Bichon Frise’s ears, and always dry their ears promptly to prevent the moist, damp conditions that bacteria love. Like with other droopy dogs, you can also clean your Bichon Frise’s ears with gentle doggy cleaning solutions. Reach out to your vet to find out what products they recommend for your pooch. You can try this ear cleaner Sulfodene Ear Cleaner Antiseptic for Dogs.

What joint problems can the Bichon Frise have?

Though they’re small dogs, did you know that the Bichon Frise is actually prone to certain joint problems?

One of these common joint problems is Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. A dog who has Legg-Calve-Perthes will show symptoms like limping from early on in their puppyhood. This is because the pooch’s blood isn’t flowing as it usually would to the head of their thigh.

This condition causes a Bichon Frise’s femur bone to shrink and degenerate. This disease usually affects only one leg, but is very painful for an affected Bichon Frise. Fortunately, responsible breeding has almost eradicated this tough condition.

Another joint problem that is common amongst Bichon Frises is luxating patella. A dog with a luxating patella may hold up their affected leg now and then, or even completely avoid using it. This is because patellar luxation causes a Bichon Frise’s kneecap to move out of place.

This slipping causes pain, irritation, inflammation, and even sometimes cartilage damage and ligament tears. Again, patellar luxation is usually an inherited condition, which can be prevented by responsible breeding. Nonetheless, it’s still important to avoid overworking this small dog.

Do Bichon Frises get urinary tract problems?

Did you know that the Bichon Frise is prone to kidney and bladder stones? These are especially common in later life. A Bichon Frise suffering from kidney stones often shows no obvious symptoms. They may lick at their genitals, have a reduced appetite, become lethargic, pass blood in their urine, or appear to have pain in their abdomen when touched.

Giving your Bichon Frise the right diet and steering them towards clean water are the best ways to prevent kidney stones.

Do Bichons commonly have liver problems?

The Bichon Frise is also likely to develop a liver disorder named portosystemic shunt, or PSS. The blood of a Bichon Frise with PSS bypasses their liver. This means this Bichon’s blood doesn’t get filtered before entering the dog’s main blood circulation.

A Bichon Frise with PSS may grow slower and be less active than their littermates. They may vomit often and have a decreased appetite, as well as suffering from comorbid mental disorders or seizures. There is medical and surgical treatment available for PSS.

Can Bichons Frises get hormonal problems?

Bichon Frises are also predisposed to the hormonal problem, diabetes. A Bichon with diabetes can’t control their blood sugar well. This is because either they are unable to produce enough insulin, or their body does not respond to it. Without proper control of their blood sugar, a Bichon Frise’s blood sugar will reach a dangerous level.

Diabetes can be prevented somewhat by helping your dog lead a generally healthy lifestyle. If your Bichon does have diabetes, the condition can also be managed well.

So, as you can see, though the tiny white fluffball known as the Bichon Frise is usually a generally healthy pooch, there are a few health problems that the breed is prone to.

Though many of these conditions are prevented, eradicated, or made less likely by breeders taking their Bichon Frise for a health check before breeding them, other diseases only arise at a later age, or can only be prevented by making sure your Bichon Frise gets the right kind of exercise and eats the correct nutrition.

That being said, it’s also important to make sure that your Bichon doesn’t overdo exercise. You should also brush your Bichon Frise’s fur often and inspect their skin. Armed with this information, you and your Bichon Frise can look forward to years of fun together!

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