But his most serious ailment is sadly an outcome of breeding – Choco lives with the constant and excruciating sensation of being suffocated. French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, along with Pugs, Boston Terriers and British bulldogs – commonly known as ‘flat-faced’ or ‘squishy-faced’ dogs.
Unfortunately, the breed standards for these well-natured dogs prioritise appearance over their health and wellbeing. As a result of their exaggerated physical features, these dogs often have chronic ear, skin and eye problems, and extreme breathing difficulties.
Poor Choco suffers from a severe case of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), which prevents him from living a normal and comfortable life. He often stops audibly breathing for notable periods, before coughing and spluttering, gasping for air. Choco struggles even on the shortest walks, and pants 95% of the time, even while sedentary.
Choco’s foster carer described his breathing as the “Loudest human snoring you can think of – but 24/7”, and by far the worst he had heard in his time caring for this breed of dogs.
Due to the complications of BOAS, Choco has narrowed nostrils, which constrict normal breathing, making it extremely difficult to inhale and expel oxygen. This lack of oxygen leads to breathlessness, and sometimes causes Choco to collapse or pass out, even while inactive.
As if that wasn’t enough, our vet team also discovered that Choco was suffering from sore, inflamed ears. There were copious amounts of infected discharge in both ears, as well as a painful abscess in his left ear, and a haematoma in his right ear. Our vets also discovered a 2cm laceration that cut right through the thickness of his skin to the cartilage underneath – potentially a bite wound.