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Prevalence of neurological disorders in French bulldog: a retrospective study of 343 cases (2002–2016)

    Vincent Mayousse1,3,5*, Loïc Desquilbet2, Aurélien Jeandel1,4 and Stéphane Blot1,3,5

    Mayousse et al. BMC Veterinary Research (2017) 13:212
    DOI 10.1186/s12917-017-1132-2

    Available online at Biomed Central:

    Background: French Bulldog (FB) has significantly gained in popularity over the last few years, and seems to be frequently affected by various neurological conditions. The purpose of this retrospective study was to report the prevalences of neurological diseases in a large population of FB, presented with neurological signs between 2002 and 2016, and for which a definitive diagnosis was established. A secondary objective was to identify epidemiological characteristics regarding specific diseases in this singular breed.


    Results: During the study period, 533 FBs were presented for neurological signs, representing 18.7% of all admitted FBs (N = 2846). In total, 343 FBs with definitive diagnosis were included in this descriptive epidemiological study. Hansen type I intervertebral disk herniation (IVDH) was by far the most common neurological disorder (45.5% of all cases). The IVDH location was cervical in 39.8%, and thoracolumbar in 60.2% of cases. The median ages for cervical and thoracolumbar IVDH were 4.2 and 4 years, respectively. C3-C4 was the most commonly affected disk (57.8% of cervical IDVH) all locations combined. Spinal arachnoid diverticulum (SAD) was detected in 25 FBs, representing the second most common myelopathy (11.3%). A concurrent spinal abnormality was identified in 64.0% of SAD cases. Brain tumours represented 36.8% of encephalopathies, with glioma (confirmed or suspected) being the most common. Meningoencephalitis of unknown origin (MUO) represented 25.0% of brain disorders, females less than 5.5 years being more likely to be affected. Aside from central nervous system conditions, otitis interna associated with peripheral vestibular signs and bilateral congenital deafness (associated with white coat) were also common.

    Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that FB seems to be prone to several neurological diseases. IVDH is clearly predominant in FB and cervical location seems more represented than in other breeds. FBs affected by IVDH tend to be younger than previously described, either for both cervical and thoracolumbar locations. Thoracic SAD was the second most common myelopathy, with a concurrent spinal anomaly identified in two thirds of the cases. MUO was more likely to affect young to middle-aged females. These findings could be of interest for owners, breeders, practicing veterinarians and insurance companies.

    Keywords: Canine, Neurology, Epidemiology, Intervertebral disk disease, Referral centre, France

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