Bichon Frise Health Conditions

Picture taken from

Picture taken from

From the desk of Sharda Baker.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hi and welcome everyone!
This is Sharda Baker with another Bichon Frise newsletter!
Dog Health is a very important aspect in adopting, buying or raising a dog no matter what the breed.
So, today let’s take a look at some of the dog health conditions that the Bichon Frise has.
Let’s start shall we?


The following are common eye conditions noted in the Bichon Frise:

The lenses of the eye become white or opaque and this leads to an eventual blindness.
Cataracts can be caused by some drug treatments, by genetic conditions, diabetes, infections or by injury to the eye at an earlier time. Cataracts can be managed by some drug therapies and can also be surgically removed to restore sight.
Cataracts have become more common in the breed since the 1970’s largely due to the boom in the breeds popularity and the huge surge in backyard breeders and puppy mills that occurred at that time.

Tearing can occur for many different reasons in a Bichon Frise.
These can include a blocked tear duct or conditions such as entropion where the eyelashes are actually scratching against the surface of the eye.
Since tearing provides moisture to the hair it creates an ideal area for bacteria and yeast to grow, leaving red or pink looking stains on the hair around the lower eye and down the muzzle.
Talk to your vet if you notice any changes in tearing or the dog appears to be sensitive around the eyes or is scratching or rubbing his or her head.

A very common condition in most breeds of dogs, luxating patella is also known as dislocated kneecaps or slipped stifles.

In some journals and articles, it is also referred to as Patellar Luxation. This is a genetic condition that is inherited from the parents and can only be prevented by breeding lines that are not prone to the condition.
Females and dogs under 12 pounds are at the highest risk for luxating patella and the Bichon Frise breed does have a significant percentage of dogs exhibiting this condition.

It is not life threatening and can be corrected surgically, if it is a significant problem.
The Bichon Frise can be checked for the condition after they are one year of age and may be given several designations including normal, mild or severe.
This is rated on a scale from 0-4 (or sometimes 5) with 0 indicating normal kneecap development and 4 (or 5) being significant patellar luxation.

Owners may first notice that the Bichon Frise young adult dog or older adult seems to have stiffness in the rear legs, either one or both, as well as inability to fully straighten the rear legs.
A hopping gait may develop as the dog tries to accommodate for the stiffness in the knee.
Since the bone is not sitting properly in the knee there will be wear on the joint, resulting in the development of arthritis, which is far more debilitating.
Early detection and monitoring of the condition as well as surgical correction when needed is the best management of this condition.
Any dogs with the condition should be spayed or neutered to prevent passing on the condition to offspring.

Epilepsy in Bichon Frise is very similar to epilepsy in humans; it is a neurologically based seizure disorder.
Typically, it is not seen until the dog is between two and five years old although it may be present when the Bichon Frise is a puppy in some cases.

It may be very mild and may only be noticed as the dog seems to stare off into space for a few seconds, even when right in the middle of a game or activity. In severe cases the dog may fall down, seem to paddle his or her legs, arch the neck and have body spasms and tremors.
Although frightening to watch, it is not life threatening and can be treated with anti-seizure medications that are in pill form.

These are some of the important Bichon Frise health conditions that you should be aware of.
Remember that visiting your vet regularly can help your Bichon Frise become healthier and happier.
I hope you’ve learned a lot of things in this newsletter.
All the best and take care

Sharda Baker