Bull Terrier health issues

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The health journey of an aging dog

This issue about Bull Terrier health issues may appear to be a more-personal-than-usual reflection on our particular situation. It’s probably that typical review effect around Christmas and the end of the year. But I also have some links in this article leading to interesting products for dogs and topics providing more general information. Also, Bull Terrier lovers and dog owners with aging dogs may relate and find some encouragement in the realization that they are not alone in this situation.
English Bull Terriers tend to act reckless on their own health as young Bull Terrier puppies, just as if nothing can stop them and like there were no health issues existing in the world. In reality, especially the breed of English bull terriers is prone to a number of health issues. If they are lucky to be spared when young, at last the aging dog is very likely going to deal with something.


Bull Terrier Health issues do not necessarily mean the end of all fun

Do Bull Terriers have a lot of health problems? It is hard to say if Bull Terriers are dealing with more health issues than other dog breeds.
But Bull Terrier health issues do not necessarily mean the end of the world and no more fun in the life of the dog.
In fact, my perception is that many pets are dealing with impairments and health issues a lot better than many humans do.
Mila is now 10 years old, and we’ve had our fair share of issues to deal with already. Also, there is quite a lot going on right now.
Still, I’d say that with our experience and her mindset for now we have a handle on the situation, and I would still describe her as a happy and spoiled English Bull Terrier girl.

Dwindling energy in English Bull Terriers can be sign of age … but health issues as well

Some of the issues we’ve had and have to deal with are top of the list of Bull Terrier health problems, such as allergies and skin issues. Others are common health issues of aging dogs in general, such as tumors and arthritis.
In my experience, Bull Terriers have a very high pain tolerance, which can make it hard to even recognize early that there is a problem in development.
Mila is such a case, making it hard to guess what’s going on or even tell IF there’s something going on. Small indicators, such as ceasing activities the dog used to love or avoiding stairs and jumping, less energy and/or appetite can all point to something else other than aging. Just as humans, aging dogs are prone to developing more health issues during their senior years.
Aging has the same effects on the immune system, cell renewal, bones and muscles of dogs as it has in humans.

Bull Terrier health issues - senior dogs need more rest

The top 4 Bull Terrier health issues Mila has experienced so far

1. Bull Terrier health issues: Mammary tumors

Mammary tumors and other issues the reproductive system are pretty common in intact bitches, especially when they get older.
The tumors do not necessarily have to be malign. But even benign tumors can change and spread over time, which is why it is advisable to remove them surgically if possible.
Mila underwent surgery a while ago. Then the tumors grew back, and a second surgery was necessary. After the removal of the mammary tumors, which turned out to be benign, we noticed that she had lost part of her energy.
She has never been a keen walker, and now she is even less. Find out how I still motivate my bull terrier to walk.
Mila’s hormonal situation has changed after the surgeries due to her being neutered in the course, and this might have been a contributing factor. We don’t know. The loss of energy could also be an indication of other issues or of age, maybe a combination of all of these factors.

2. Bull Terrier health issues: Allergies and skin issues

Following the surgeries, we started to see a lot more skin issues.
We’ve had some trouble with allergies in the past already. But I always felt that her immune system, while not the best, was able to cope to some point.
Now it became harder to fight our dog’s allergies and skin issues.
Eventually, Mila went through a long period of an exclusion diet for dogs and several cycles of antibiotics.
The last one is an interesting story because a round of six weeks with a combination of antibiotics for skin issues was finally able to clear up the secondary skin infections.
Since this has been resolved we have been able to keep the skin issues under control, and I sincerely hope that it will stay that way.
Unfortunately, the antibiotics probably contributed to an escalation of the other issue, the diarrhea. Antibiotics are known to damage the intestinal flora, particularly during a long course. Mila has been on dog probiotics for quite some time, and I feel like these are really beneficial. But they can only do so much. If you consider probiotics for your dog, I advise to choose a product for animals. Pets need different formulations and doses than humans.

3. Bull Terrier health issues: Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD)

Another new problem we experienced after the surgeries was … diarrhea … lots of.
Until today we have not been able to figure out if there’s any connection between the surgeries and Mila’s hypersensitive stomach and bowels.
But we have been dealing on and off with the diarrhea ever since. Once it starts, it is usually getting worse during the night. After a completely calm day, sometimes that means getting up every 30 minutes at night to let poor doggie out, even though at some point there’s nothing left for her to release except a few drops of blood from her highly irritated bowels. After discovering that the most recommended diet for such issues, rice and chicken, only makes things even worse in our case, with a lot of patience, trial and error, I was able to find dry and fresh dog food she tolerates really good. This way, we were able to curb the inflammation, yet not without one or the other round of antibiotics. We do experience flare ups. But at the moment we have a handle on it.

4. Bull Terrier health issues: Weak hind legs and arthritis

Weak hind legs do not necessarily point exclusively to arthritis. There are several other health issues, such as Degenerative myelopathy, Hip dysplasia, injuries, among others.
Arthritis is one of the more common causes. We have watched a decline in Mila’s hind leg mobility and strength and discussed it with our vet. The first approach are occasional doses of Carprofen, an anti-inflammatory pain killer specifically for dogs, and continuous daily dose of glucosamine and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) for her joints. After several months now we’re starting to see some improvement. Hind leg weakness is definitely something worth discussing with a vet before trying remedies, as it can be a symptom of very different causes requiring very different therapies.


Sometimes this journey along the health issues of our Bull Terrier feels like for every problem solved another one is ready to follow.
But I still perceive Mila as a happy dog. She has slowed down for sure. While chasing dog balls like crazy, jumping and running have become less important for her, she is now focusing on hugs and cuddling, playing mind games and performing dog tricks. She still has an ever-present appetite and seems to love life.
So, if you have an aging dog dealing with health issues, I hope that this article provides some encouragement. Dogs can still live a happy life even when aging, aches and pains take over, if they feel loved and taken great care of.
Of course, there’s usually also a little medicine needed.

One very important step in the aging process of a dog is the proper nutrition. The same is also true for certain Bull Terrier health issues as proper nutrition can do a lot when it comes to handling health issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, for example.

As always: If you are interested in the products for dogs mentioned in this post and want to support our blog at the same time, feel free to use the Amazon product links from this article. We thank you for the recognition of our work on this blog!

Bull Terrier health issues - Mila is still the coolest at 10 years of age

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