English Bulldog Upper Respiratory Infection: The Ultimate Guide

Help! My English Bulldog Puppy Has A Upper Respiratory Infection!

Who we are and why we are the authority on the English Bulldog Breed

We have devoted the last 15 years to improving the health of the English Bulldog breed in the United States. Instead of following the current unhealthy breed standards, we set out to change the breed for the better, focusing on lighter wrinkle sets, slightly longer snouts and extensive health testing. Through years of dedication we have been able to significantly improve the health characteristics within our bloodlines and give hope to the breed that health improvements are possible. Along the way, we have also become thought leaders in proper bulldog training, care and behavioral studies.

One of the most common thieves of health and wellbeing in a young puppy is an upper respiratory infection. These types of infections, most commonly called URI’s will often strike an English Bulldog puppy around the vulnerable age of 7 to 9 weeks of age.  Upper respiratory infections often enter into the respiratory tract in the form of a viral or bacterial infection upon a stressed or compromised immune system. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms and solutions for an upper respiratory infection and watch our video as Mitch gives step by step instruction to upper respiratory recover for an English Bulldog.

Upper Respiratory Video – Mitch Explains How to Treat a URI

Upper Respiratory Video

Stages of an Upper Respiratory Infection

Most bulldog puppies will develop a runny nose as an initial symptom depending on the severity of the infection.  Drainage will lead to coughing, hacking, and general congestion within a couple of days.  At this point of the infection, the infected bulldog pup must receive proper health care for the next week.  Proper treatment could decide whether the bulldog quickly recovers or declines in health, leading to pneumonia.  The two most common mistakes in this situation are inexperienced vets and overnight animal hospitals. 

Problems with Inexperienced Vets

The most common mistake is to place trust in an inexperienced vet that does not treat a large volume of bulldogs.  It is important to remember that English Bulldogs are vastly different creatures than most dogs.  The effect of an upper respiratory infection is different than in most dog breeds.  A German Shepherd pup might come down with kennel cough and an upper respiratory infection and potentially recover within 4 days with no or minimal antibiotics.  Bulldog pups simply cannot do this.

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An inexperienced vet does not treat many bulldogs and potentially has only seen a handful of bulldog puppies with URI’s in their entire career.  Most inexperienced veterinarians will treat a sick bulldog puppy similar to the other dog breeds they see.  Many make the mistake of administering a low-level, broad antibiotic such as Clavamox as an initial treatment to a URI. This type of treatment will often act as a band-aide for a couple of days until the infection comes roaring back, far more severe.  Instead, adopters should seek a blood draw and analysis to see what type of infection the puppy has.  Common effective antibiotics for URI’s include, Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Draxxin, and occasionally Baytril depending on the severity and progression of pneumonia.   

Incorrect Antibiotics for a Bulldog

  1. Clavamox
  2. Amoxicilin

Any type of Penicillin type antibiotic is generally ineffective for treating bulldog’s with URI’s. Typically a bulldog that is given an antibiotic like Clavamox will generally improve for a couple days then actually get worse. We have seen many a bulldog treated with Clavamox and end up extremely sick due to its ineffectiveness.

Correct Antibiotics for a Bulldog

  1. Doxycycline
  2. Azithromycin
  3. Amikacin
  4. Draxxin
  5. Baytril

We typically prefer a Doxycycline and Azithromycin combination. Both of these antibiotics are easily accessible and specifically focus on the respiratory system. We recommend 2 antibiotics to utilize two unrelated modes of action. In unusual situations we will recommend Amikacin if we believe the bacteria strain is antibiotic resistant. Amikacin is an expensive antibiotic that is not regularly used. Often commonly used antibiotics develop bacteria resistant strains that they are ineffective against. Lastly, Draxxin and Baytril are typically used in more serious situations where a bulldog has pneumonia.

Additional Home Treatments for URI’s

Adopters should pair holistic treatments with antibiotics.  You can use back massages to break up phlegm.  Hot, humid air (from a shower) can help break up congestion in the puppy as well.  Lastly, nebulizer treatments are encouraged as a mechanism to relax and open up the trachea and air passages. 

Overnight animal hospitals

The second most common mistake an adopter can fall victim to is over-reaction.  Upon learning their bulldog has an upper respiratory infection, many quickly admit them into a 24-hour animal clinic.  There often is a variety of problems with this situation. The first problem is the fact that upper respiratory infections are serious and need to be treated in an accurate and timely manner. However, they aren’t typically rush-to-the-emergency-room critical.  Recovery is often based on correct decision-making in a matter of days, not minutes.

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24-hour vet clinics are typically staffed with inexperienced DVM’s (how many experienced DVM’s want to work 3rd shift) that often do not administer the correct antibiotics (see mistake #1).  The puppy will then be placed on oxygen for a couple of days.  Typically 24-hour clinics cost around $600 to $1000 per day. Adopters will soon realize they cannot afford this type of care for 2 weeks.  They will often take their bulldog to a bulldog-specific vet and learn the 24-hour vet used the wrong antibiotics.  Once this mistake has been made $1000’s of dollars spent while the puppy’s health has not gotten better. 

URI’s are certainly not something to take lightly.  The problem really lies within the uniqueness of the breed.  The characteristics that make the bulldog breed so special can also cause problems for the inexperienced adopter.  If you do find yourself in a situation with a sick bulldog puppy, feel free to call us. We would certainly be more than willing to share some of the lessons we have learned over the years!

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Bruiser Bulldog’s Reviews

  • I've grown up with english bulldogs my whole life. I am familiar with common and uncommon health problems they may face so when my boyfriend and I decided we were ready to adopt our own english puppy finding a reputable breeder that prioritizes health was most important to us. Erica and Mitch of Bruiser Bulldogs are just that. They are experienced, ethical and quality breeders. I was referred to them by my friend that I trust after I saw their gorgeous healthy puppy. Our Puppy Primrose is the light of our lives! Bruisers was there to assist us every step of the way. We would highly recommend Bruisers Bulldogs to anyone looking for their own happy, healthy pup!

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  • We, like many of the other people who found Bruisers, did a lot of research to find a responsible breeder, especially since English Bulldogs can have health issues and because there is a trend now for "trendy" bulldogs (blue, etc.) which have even more health issues. We were lucky to have come across Bruiser Bulldogs and even more so the fact that they were near our family and hometown made it even better. We have had Clementine (Callie) for four months now, and she is a wonderful dog. Her personality is amazing, and I think part of it is breeding and the other part is Erika and her family lovingly raising the puppies in their home with plenty of attention and snuggles. I also was impressed that, rather than send the puppies out right at 8 weeks, Erika kept ours for a few extra weeks because she was tiny and not read to leave her mom yet. It's that care that differentiates Bruisers from other breeders.

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    Emily R.
  • We found Bruiser Bulldogs after researching healthy breeding line for bulldog puppies. Erica was easy to work with thru the entire process from application to adopting and now beyond as we host our new family member, Chief. Her on-call support and willingness to provide open, honest advice to all of our questions and concerns continues to be appreciated. We would highly recommend Bruiser Bulldogs to anyone looking for an English Bulldog to join their family.

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  • Bruiser Bulldogs are 5-star breeders! They are experienced, responsive and knowledgeable about all things bulldog related. They went above and beyond for us and are truly dedicated to all of their pups! We love our little girl so much and would recommend Bruiser to anyone looking for a healthy beautiful bully.

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  • Bruiser Bulldogs is a 5-star breeder in every way. Erica and Mitch are trustworthy, excellent communicators, fair, passionate, and produce the best bulldogs.We were at the top of the waiting list for months and Erica reached out every litter to see if we were finally ready for a bulldog. When we were, she was very easy to work with. Her knowledge on bulldogs is outstanding. We had many questions on the process and she always knew what was best for the puppy.We've had Penny (formerly Blair) for two months and she is very healthy, energetic, playful, and sweet. She is great with other people and dogs. We are so happy with our pup.When we are ready for bulldog #2, we will only consider Bruiser Bulldogs.

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  • We waited a while to write this review so that we had a better sense for the overall health of our Bruiser Bulldog “Bowser”. Bowser was born April 2020 and is an integral part of our family. When we were first exploring English Bulldog breeders our biggest concern was the overall health of the dogs. We decided to work with Erica at Bruiser Bulldogs because we liked their focus on improving the breeds breathing abilities and the fact that the puppies are raised within her family environment before coming home with their new owners.As for Bowsers health, he’s a health energetic English Bulldog that has no problem keeping up with the kids, going on 2 mi walks and camping with us on a regular basis. Bowser also breaths clearly and our vet was impressed with his overall health from the moment we brought him home. All that said we know English Bulldogs have a predisposition to many health issues and that his current health can not predict the future. With that In mind its important to start with a breeder that open to answer any of your questions as Erica has ours, and that strongly believes in improving the breeds overall health profile.

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    Adam B.
  • After the loss of our first English Bulldog due to health issues it was very important for us to find a breeder who did not breed only for aesthetic but more importantly for health. My sister ended up finding Bruiser Bulldogs and we knew right away that they were the breeder for us.In September we ended up driving 9 hours to pick up two Bruiser bulldog puppies- one for my husband and I and one for my mom. Jackson and Penelope have been nothing but a joy. They are very social and very friendly to everyone they meet including kids and other dogs/animals. They are both very athletic and healthy. They are also HUGE snugglers and always want to be with you. It is an absolute pleasure having these two bullies in our lives! My sister and her fiancé also fell in love with them and now are on the waitlist themselves for a Bruiser bulldog!Erica is very knowledgeable about the breed. She is very hands on throughout the process and is just overall a kind and honest person to work with.With all that being said I cannot recommend Bruiser Bulldogs enough!

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    Collyn C.
  • We fell in love with our puppy the moment we saw him. One of the reasons we chose Bruiser Bulldogs was due to the claims about breeding for health. During our first visit at our vet's office, he told us that our pup was one of the healthiest English bulldogs he had ever seen. He is healthy, happy and social. Would recommend to anyone.

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  • What an awesome experience! We seen our dog on their website and sent them an Email. Mitch called us and personally walked us through the process and made sure we had the right dog for our family. We couldn't be happier when we picked up our dog Ramsey, Erica made sure we had everything we needed and then some. They are truly amazing people who breed truly amazing dogs!

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