Before you purchase a French Bulldog puppy, make sure that the parents have both been hip and spine X-Rayed, and scored by a Radiology Specialist.
Puppies should have preliminary X-Rays done anywhere from 9 - 12 weeks of age, and you should be provided with a copy of the Scans, as well as the Veterinarians evaluation of the X-Rays.
Puppy X-Rays are generally not read by a Specialist.
This should not add any extra cost to your puppy.
Hip and spine forms
Below is a copy of the forms that Veterinarians and Breeders use to submit X-Rays for assessing.
The parents of all puppies should have forms that look like these, with the results included.
DR RJ RAWLINSON
Click on PDF to download forms.
French Bulldog hip and spine X-raying scheme
All French Bulldog adults, should be hip and spine X-Rayed and scored before they are bred from. This is done anytime after the dog turns 12 months of age.
Once the X-Rays have been taken by the Veterinarian, they must be read by a Specialist. The recommended specialist it Dr RJ Rawlinson.
By X-Raying the spine and hips, Breeders can determine any major defects, prior to breeding. Defects include hemi-vertebrae, kinks and distortions of the spine and badly fitting or developed hip and balls and joints.
The following information is from the French Bulldog Club of NSW website.
French Bulldog Spine and Hip Scheme
Dr Karen Hedberg BVSc
In the French Bulldog we may face two significant structural bone problems – hemivertebrae and hip dysplasia.
These are vertebrae that have not developed properly and as a result of being misshapen, can result in instability of the vertebral column (the back). When the back is unstable, pinching of the spinal cord and disc protrusion can occur. Many brachycephalic and/or screw tail breeds have hemivertebrae, with French Bulldogs having a high incidence.
The vast majority of French Bulldogs have at least 2-3 hemivertebrae but do not have significant problems. Hemivertebrae in the lumbar area and the last 2-3 vertebrae of the thoracic area (T10-T13) are more likely to cause problems in later life.
When screening, what we are looking for is the position of the hemivertebrae and whether they are causing any deviations of the spine, either away from a straight line (head to tail) or severe kinking of the spine resulting in pinching or narrowing of the spinal cord.
The best way to view the back is with two views, one lateral from the shoulders to the tail, and the other in the anterior/posterior view i.e. of the dog on its back.
For assessing hemivertebrae, the scoring is as follows:-
Grade 1 Partially wedged vertebra : score 1
Grade 2 Fully wedged vertebra : score 2
Grade 3 Double wedged (butterfly) vertebra : score 3
The advice at this stage is to breed with care any dog with a score of more than 10; however this result should be looked at in regard to the hip result.
I would suggest for the present that we only record and note where the hemivertebrae occur and score the animals and record the figures. It is not suggested that we remove these animals from the breeding pool at this stage. However if a dog records high results in both hip and back, it is not recommended to breed with the animal.
- current breed average 13 [ number scored 180 range 1 - 67 ]
Hip dysplasia is considered a significant problem in the breed and we need to screen for this. The best view is an anterior/posterior view i.e. of the dog stretched out on its back with the legs parallel.
At this stage the breed average for hips is 13. We have now had well over 180 dogs scored and the vast majority are coming in with total hip scores of under 20. I would suggest a reasonable cut off point of 30 as the upper limit. Dogs with hip scores over this would have to have very good conformational virtues and excellent backs to warrant the risk.
Both x-rays can fit on a large plate with the screen divided along the long axis. Half the plate can be of the lateral view of the spine, the other half can be a vertical view of the hips and spine. Dogs should be screened over 12 months of age.
The two schemes should be considered simultaneously. Significant problems in both areas would be enough to suggest strongly that one should not breed with the animal.