S824 avatar image


Hi Bulldogsworld,

Unfortunately, an incident occurred today and I need and am seeking any advice/experiences/recommendations/stories from my fellow bulldog owners. I'd like to start this post off by saying as bulldog owners we are all aware of the unconditional love, laughter and joy our bullies bring to us every day. In return, I truly want to ensure I make the correct decisions during unexpected times like this-any words of advice will be greatly appreciated.

My bully's name is Sumo. He is now almost 4 years old and we've had him since he was a pup. Till now Sumo has been perfectly well and healthy-no major health concerns. Today, Sumo was playing at the dogpark with his usual crowd. Nothing occurred out of the ordinary, but when it was time to go home Sumo was limping with his right hind leg held high and tucked in. He was unable to bear any weight on that leg and was limping on three legs. On arrival home he was stagnant and planted on his bed. We figured it may be a dislocated hip so we brought him to the nearest animal hospital immediately. 

On arrival, we got x-rays completed and it turns out to be a COMPLETE ACL TEAR. The veterinarian suggested the following surgical ACL procedures:
    1) Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
    2) Extracapsular Suture Stabilization
    3) Tibial Tuberosity Advancement

Along with one of the surgeries the veterinarian proposed he also SUGGESTED:

1) Elongated Soft Palate Surgery-he stated that this surgery was to be done during the repair of the ACL as there is a high risk for bulldogs to choke and go into respiratory distress/failure post removal of the artificial breathing tube. Hence, this surgery which is basically cutting down the soft palate, will also prevent the soft palate from covering my bully's trachea the body's breathing tube.

2) Entropian/Ectropian Repair-which was unrelated to the ACL but a surgery he suggested during the physical examination

3) Another surgery was to rid of the little pieces of hair growing on the inner portion of the eyelid. Almost like an inward eyelash for humans. He indicated that Sumo had some small hairs which can cause irritation and eventual scarring of the cornea. The surgery was a laser surgery to remove the hair follicles completely, but the results are not permanent as there are many hair follicles.

4) Lastly, he suggested a surgery where the purpose was to reduce the amount of skin folds Sumo has on his face. The veterinarian said the folds were either pulling on the eyes too much on pushing them too far up causing agitation and irritation to the eyes. The procedure is to go in take some extra skin folds away and stitch them back up-this would mean getting rid of his nose rope and wrinkles. Hence, reducing the pull/push on the eyes and making it easier to care for Sumo's wrinkles. At this point, I almost broke down in tears. I want my Sumo to still look like my one and only Sumo. But is this selfish of me? Do I do what's best for him?

Today was overall a very stressful and emotional day. I'm glad it's finally over, but from here on out I think it's only going to get harder. Please, please don't hesitate to leave any concerns, comments, feedback or advice.

My questions at the moment are:

1) Which mandatory ACL repair procedure do we go with? Any comments on price, recovery time, risks and benefits?

2) Do we agree and go through with any of the optional/suggested surgeries? Again any comments on price, recovery time, risks, experiences and benefits? I am most concerned with the Elongated Soft Palate one as the veterinarian states if he does the ACL repair without this surgery upon removal of the breathing tube his palate may cover his trachea and cause him to arrest.


Kathy Chester Newman and Jessa's picture

I would run from this vet as fast as I could...

He obviously sees dollar signs with your guy.  The first thing I would do is complete rest and an anti inflammatory.  Then I would find a vet that knows bulldogs, there are recommended vets on the home page that people on this forum have used and liked.  If you do need to do acl surgery, I would find an orthopedic surgeon and not use a general vet, especially one that hasn't done a lot with bulldogs.  Our Chester had a partial tear in his acl and we rested him for 6 weeks and gave him meloxicam and he's totally fine now.  WHile it is possible your guy has a complete tear, I wouldn't take the word of a vet that wants to totally reconstruct him.  Hope he feels better soon.

S824's picture

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your post. Did you have to do imaging to confirm it was a partial tear?

we wish you both the best.

I don't know what I can say. I just wanted to say that Am sorry to hear what Sumo is going through. I wish I can give you some advise in the right direction for Sumo. Am sorry... but I think what every direction you go with for Sumo, he knows your doing your best for him and he love you no matter what. I wish you both the best. 

Molley and Aude.

Stephanie and David's picture

Get a second opinion

If this vet is not very familiar with bulldogs he may be making honest mistakes. A lot of things that are normal with bulldogs are seen by regular vets as problems. Find a bulldog expert vet. If you have a local vet school, then check out the doctors there, too. Good luck and please let us know what's gong on.

S824's picture

Just got back from work and

Just got back from work and being showered with kind words and wishes is a perfect way to end a Friday.

Thank you.

ShermanK's picture

Second opinion

Some of that may be needed but this dude seems to be making a restoration project for $$ out of your bully. The lash thing u are referring to is probably distichiasis and my bulldog just had this done but they used cryotherapy. Not sure which is better but watch out for vets that aren't familiar with bulldogs loke eveyone else said and definately also watch out for an ophthalmologist that may just be too cheap to get newer equipment/certifications. I ran into that already. Had a guy say he wanted to do a procedure for the distichiasis that was basically an entropian surgery. Went and got a second opinion just because I did a little research and saw what the common procedures were for that and it wasn't what he wanted to do. So I call anonymously on purpose just to ask if they did cryotherapy there and guess what.. They didn't. Know why? Cause it probably costs money to be certified and have the equipment is my guess. Second opinion is worth the money believe me. That last thing sounds skeptical about changing the face around. Which one is it? entropian or ectropian or both? Def second opinion. Cause bottom line.. This vet shouldn't be doing every procedure he listed anyway. Lol. What is he a specialist in every thing? Doubt it. 


-Sherm was here. 

S824's picture

Thank you for your post! Was

Thank you for your post! Was your bully's eyes irritated and red all the time? He mentioned that these hairs scratch against the dog's cornea causing irritation and discomfort. The procedure he mentioned was using a laser and removing the entire hair follicle. Do you know what the price is for the cryotherapy procedure? I want to know an estimate to ensure vets aren't overcharging.  

ShermanK's picture


The one that's true tho is if there is a procedure or 2 that would be good for him you could get them done at the same time and it may be cheaper because a lot of those charges are actually from the whole process of putting them under. Actually a lot of it..  And.. There would be less times of having to go thru that risk.. But I saw u asked about price the distichiasis procedure was about 750. They also said may need a second time but so far no new hairs at all just had a recheck today. And someone on here told me their bully was thought to need a second time and never did ever again so just a little positive stuff for u..


-Sherm was here. 

S824's picture

Oh great! You just answered

Oh great! You just answered my question from my respond. Yah, I was thinking that too. We are now leaning more to completing the ligament repair along with the distichiasis procedure to avoid putting Sumo under twice.

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture


Contact your breeder for a reputable vet. Wher are you from, we might be able to help find you a reputable vet. First off ... YOU can not see a ligament tear from an xray because xrays show bone. You can see if there is a realignment of the bone in an xray which could cause a vet to suspect CCL tear. It is actually a CCL in a dog, not an ACL. ACL's are in humans.

TPLO should be done by an orthopedic surgeon. I have experience with the old method and also some experience with TPLO. But get another opinion from specialist before you opt for surgery and take some time to breath. It is not an emergency surgery.

Put Sumo in crate rest for several weeks. He needs to be on leash anytime he is outside, so he doesn't run, jump and play.

CCL's do not heal, meaning a ligament cannot grow back together and it does not regenerate a new ligament. Scar tissue builds up and the muscles around the knee strengthen to compensate for the damaged knee. The problem if there is a full tear is the possible rupture to the meniscus (the cushion between the joints) which causes the joints to rub bone against bone which causes arthritis. So partials you can probably get by without surgery but full tears will likely need surgery at some point.

I now live by the theory, that it will become totally apparent to me before I have a surgery done.

Elongated Soft palette - Is he a bad breather? Does he breath so loudly when he's running and playing that you are afraid he's going to drop over? Does his tongue turn purple when he's overly excited? Palette problems, you will most likely know just from common sense that he needs help. Does he vomit after eating, drinking or get a lot of mucus built up. Has he ever done a vomit drop? Tried to puck, nothing comes out and he passes out, falls over? Does he puke up white foam? If all these answers are no then he doesn't need palette surgery. Believe me you will know it if he needs it. If he does need it it is a surgery that he would greatly benefit from. But only if your are experiencing troubles.

Entropian - Is where the eyelids roll inward, can be top and/or bottom. If you have not experienced troubles with him squinting, blinking, recurring eye ulcers (not caused from being poked in the eye with something like a stick) but the hair on the lid rubbing on the eyeball. Then he doesn't need entropian surgery.

Distichia - Is where tiny eyelashes grow on the inside of the eye lids. Again if he's having a problem with this you should notice similar symptoms like those in entropian. If there are only a few the you can pluck them. But again if he is not experience any problems, then do not do surgery. Surgery for this is a laser is used to zap each hair follicle which kills it. The problem with plucking is they will come back. I have a 10 year old that get a few eyelashes that need to be plucked...he's 10....no surgery, I've just maintained the issue, plucked hairs every now and then. Sometimes you need good sunlight, now I need a magnifying glass and the right angle to see them, and roll the eyelid out.

Face Wrinkles - Is this vet serious??? UGH, fire him. Bulldogs do not need wrinkles removed. Post an upright picture of your guy. He looks very handsome.

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture

One more thing

trach tube should never be removed from a bulldog until they are fully awake, that way if there is a problem they don't have to try an intubate again. They should be monitored every second by a tech until they are awake.

And I would never let this vet do a surgery on my dog if he's telling you such a thing. He's not experienced enough with this breed, he obviously doesn't like this breed, he sees you as providing him with some new equipment every time you walk in the door.

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture

My experience

I've owned and shown 6 bulldogs over the past 17 yrs now. I've had 6. I've raised 1 litter of 7. I'm very active with other owner/breeder/handlers all over the country with breed standard, health and temperament questions. I'm active with our local bulldog club and a BCA member. I've shown at 2 national shows and I've been to 4 of them.

I've shown dogs since I was 8 yrs old, my dad was a professional handler back in the 70's. We had boarding, grooming kennels and show dog kennels, working and sporting breeds.

I (my dogs) have had 2 CCL surgeries, 1 entropian surgery (1 lower eyelid), 1 distichia laser surgery, 3 palette surgeries over the past 10 years. I get xmas gifts from my vet....well just 1 year ... LOL, that was a big year for $$$. He built a new wing after that year, j/k.

Don't make any hasty decisions, you have time to decide what is best for your boy.

S824's picture

I promise you we are never

I promise you we are never going back.

S824's picture

I'm from Toronto. I am a

I'm from Toronto. I am a physiotherapist so I have some experience with X-RAYS at first when he mentioned using an x-ray to screen for the tear I thought the exact same thing 'xrays can only capture bone and to screen the ligaments one would have to do an MRI' but I wasn't thinking straight and too worried to question. But in the end he pulled out these xrays and pointed out the ligament. I will attach the x-rays at the end of this post.

We will be seeing a knee specialist on Monday. We were informed it is not an emergency surgery, but I can't imagine how uncomfortable Sumo is feeling and seeing him hop around on 3 legs really breaks my heart. How did you decide to go with the TPLO, tibial tuberosity advancement, or the extracapsular suture stabilization? Also what was the price of the TPLO?

Elongated Soft palette - Sumo is not a bad breather at all.  His breathing is always controlled, tongue never turns purple when he's excited, never vomits after eating/drinking, no mucus build up, never had a vomit drop and never vomits white foam. The information you provided is so informative and helpful. The vet only asked "does he sleep loudly?" Very general making us think Sumo needed this surgery. He did not list any of the other things you mentioned. The veterinarian yesterday basically said "I do this procedure for all my dogs for any surgery. I highly suggest it. If not, there is a risk that when we pull out that breathing tube the palette might sit on the trachea and *he started making these choking, wheezing noises like trying to imitate a bulldog going into respiratory arrest and dying* so in the end the decision is up to you." We basically felt that if we don't agree to this elongated soft palette procedure Sumo would die during the surgery. So please understand how glad I am to have received this information from you. That vet really used the scare tactic on this one.

Distichia-Sumo does rub his eyes on his bed occasionally and it tends to get a little red. We were always aware of this and when he was a puppy we bought him to the vet to have his eyes looked at, but was never able to determine when surgery was needed.

Face Wrinkles - yes, he was serious! At this point I was done, ready to get up and leave.

Thank you so much. This was extremely helpful and educational. I really just let out a big sigh of relief! Here's a pic of Sumo!

MacknTeaBoneTillieMae's picture

oh no!

poor sumo........good luck to you bud!!



Mack 'n' Tillie Mae Mack



attitude is altitude!



Cory's picture

I agree with everyone about a second opinion an a new vet

this vet seems like he's more in to making money then truly caring for your bully. I'm so sorry to hear an my prayers are with you, let him rest for awhile an hopefully he's ok.
I wish Sumo a speedy recovery an I hope everything works out the best for you too.


Cory & Penelope

Pegsy's picture

poor sumo the sweetie

poor sumo the sweetie pie!
don't just run from this vet-go wo w/warp speed!for sure
get a second opinion on this...b/c bullies are know for their health issues i strongly believe that vets who do not specialize in this breed try to take advantage...
when my archie got operated,his vet who is a also a professor and teaches vet medicine at a very well known college,thought and i quote,b/c archie was healthy and strong and not all brachycephalics get affected by ACE before being prepped for surgery to be neutered...she thought,"he could handle it"...well boy did all those degrees,knowledge,experience and diplomas be of waste b/c not only was he given back to us 3 hrs after his surgery...he died several hours later...so do yourself a favor and seek someone who not only specializes in this breed but know what they are talking about!

S824's picture

Thank you so much!

Thank you so much everyone for your input and kind words. Sumo and I will be seeing a specialist to get a second opinion on Monday!


tiffscooper's picture

Cooper had the TTA procedure.

Hi, i am so sorry to hear you are going thru all of this, But Please get a second and even third opinion.  Cooper had the TTA procedure done a year and a half ago.  The first surgeon we saw which was recommended by our regular vet told me he needed both legs done and even wanted to do them at the same time.  I left the office feeling helpless but I was determined to get another opinion, and thru help with someone on this board I was able to find a vet 2 hours away that told me his other leg was fine and specailized in the tta procedure. After doing alot of research I felt more comfortable having the TTA as oppssed to the TPLO because the TPLO actually cuts the entire bone and inserts a metal plate where the TTA is more of a hinge like procedure. The recovery time is also quicker with the tta then the tplo.  Also they say that within the first year after surgery the other leg has a 50% chance of going, but knock on wood Cooper has made it a year and 1/2 and the other leg is still fine.  Thank God I got a second opinion!!! Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to email me!!!