Intervertebral Disc Disease

The calcifications of the intervertebral discs often occur in quite young dogs of the chondrodystrophic breeds. This tendency to premature calcification of the intervertebral discs is typical of the breed and also affects other breeds. Meanwhile there are genetic tests which can be performed to see if there is a mutation on Chromosom 12 which is associated with chondrodystrophy and susceptibility to Hansen type I herniated discs in many dog breeds.


In the Bully, calcifications can also be observed during the growth phase, i.e. before the first or second year of life. Some dogs get old with the calcifications without any problems, others cause considerable problems early up to the dreaded herniated disc with paralysis symptoms. In order to prevent this, the Bully, no matter how sporty bred, should really only be kept as a companion dog or be led under medical control in light sport!


Any overloading is to be avoided, nevertheless the dog must be sufficiently moved and kept with good condition and musculature. The foundation stone for a healthy musculoskeletal system is already laid during rearing. The optimal combination of a nutrient-rich diet, correct exercise and healthy movement to keep muscles, ligaments and joints supple and elastic from a young age prevents later damage. Here one can orient oneself confidently at the recommendations of the rearing of giant races, which should shoot themselves carefully "grow hungry" and under no circumstances too calcium and protein-rich nourished into the height. It is a false conclusion that can hardly be eradicated that a bully must be fat and square in order to appear typical. This can favour the effect of genetic predisposition for growth disorders.

We pay attention to a sufficiently large spinal cord

Spinal cord with painful narrowings, not recommended for breeding

And here again the unfortunate connection with a possible HD disease applies. Due to an incorrect loading of a pronounced hip joint dysplasia, the weight is permanently shifted to the middle to anterior spine, which is thus even more loaded. If damage can already be detected in this area, the consequences of the disease are naturally intensified. And since the thoracic spine of the bullys can lose stability anyway due to possible hemivertebra formation, the dynamic property of the spine has an effect on the lumbar region, which can be weakened by porous intervertebral discs. A vicious cycle and a ticking time bomb for far too many bullys if these characteristics are not taken into account in breeding.

Of course, only in the rarest and most extreme cases can the tendency to premature aging of the spinal column in the breeding age be determined (mostly unfortunately already from 12-15 months). As a rule, dogs have already produced dozens of offspring before the diseases can be diagnosed, if at all, by follow-up examination due to symptoms such as limited mobility and painfulness. The calcified intervertebral discs alone do not cause a problem and give no visible reason to diagnose the dog. So the dog seems agile and healthy. Therefore the urgent recommendation is to increase the breeding age to at least 2-3 years or to examine and evaluate the dog by CT examination BEFORE occultation.


Even bullys examined without wedge vertebrae can show extreme damage in the vertebral bodies due to incomplete training, which can limit the health of the dog and the offspring.