English Bulldog Upper Respiratory Infection


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





Is there anything better than sweet bulldog puppy kisses?  How many pleasures top snuggling with a 10-week old bulldog on a sleepy Sunday afternoon?  In the world of Bruiser Bulldogs, there is nothing better!  Many a bulldog pup has pitter-pattered its tiny feet across our hardwood kitchen floor and yet the sound never tires; it’s always new, always welcomed.  The kisses, the snuggles; they are always precious, never a drop of monotony.           

We hold our sweet bulldog puppies close with love and affection. The next basic instinct that follows is a sense of protection.  How do we keep these sweet fur babies safe and healthy?  How do we give our bulldog puppies the best chance of maturing mentally and physically, away from the harm of disease or injury?


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.

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. 


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.

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.   


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. 

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!