Pet Wellness Guides > Bichon Frise Health Issues: Prevention and Treatment - Pet Insurance Review

Bichon Frise Health Issues: Prevention and Treatment

Posted: 05/16/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Small in size but mammoth in personality, the Bichon Frise is one of the most popular dog breeds in the country. Snow white with deep set eyes, this pooch is at times peppy, bold and undoubtedly curious. But as with any breed, the Bichon is prone to certain health problems that you should be aware of. Read our entire article to learn about common Bichon Frise health issues and how to treat and prevent them.

Bichon Frise Health Issues

Bichon Frise Breed Facts

The Bichon Frise breed originated in Spain, in the Canarian Islands to be exact. How exotic! These dogs were used as sailing and herding dogs. This is why Bichons have an affinity for the water and are some of the most affectionate and faithful companions to their humans.

Bichon Frise has been described as sensitive, gentle, curious, affectionate and playful. They get along well with children and other dogs, making them terrific family pets. Bichons are incredibly intelligent and easily trainable. They are also considered a hypoallergenic breed, making them a great companion for those with allergies to pet dander. 

With the right nutrition and care, Bichon Frise has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. To help your pup live as long and healthy of a life as possible, it’s important to understand the Bichon Frise common health issues.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease develops when a dog’s body produces too much of the hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the chemical that helps your dog’s body regulate stress, weight and can help fight infections. When there is too much of it, things can go a  bit haywire. 

Symptoms of Cushing’s include lethargy, hair loss, and an increased appetite and thirst. The disease usually presents itself in older dogs and can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms mimic those of other health conditions. When there is an accurate diagnosis of Cushing’s, the disease can usually be managed easily with hormone regulation medications and the dog can live a happy and long life.

Bichon Frise Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is usually seen in larger breeds such as Great Danes and German Shepherds but it can also present itself in smaller breeds such as the Bichon Frise. Canine hip dysplasia happens due to the hip joint not developing properly. When the ball and socket joint are deformed the joint can easily slip and the two bones rub against each other. This can be very painful to your pup and you may see her limp and struggle to put weight on one or more of her hind legs.

While it is incredibly hard to prevent hip dysplasia, there are things you can do to manage the condition. Your vet may recommend certain joint supplements or prescription medications to help with pain and inflammation. In more severe cases of the disease, surgery may be required to correct the joint. 

Gum Disease

Gum disease, which is caused by plaque and tartar buildup, is very common in Bichon Frises. If not treated in time it can lead to gum infections and tooth loss. Gum disease can also allow bad bacteria into the bloodstream where it travels to other organs in the body. This can cause kidney, liver and heart disease to develop.

The best way to prevent gum disease in your Bichon is to brush their teeth regularly. If your pup has already developed gum disease, she will need to have a professional teeth cleaning by your vet or a specialty vet who may need to remove some teeth.


Cataracts are a hereditary disease that’s very common in this breed. The condition occurs when a dog’s eye lens clouds over, obstructing their vision over time. 

Since the disease is hereditary, there isn’t much you can do to prevent your pup from developing it. Luckily, cataracts can be removed with surgery. Those dogs that may not be a good candidate for surgery due to age or other health conditions can still live a healthy and happy life with compromised vision.

Heart Disease

When it comes to Bichon Frise health issues, heart disease must be included on the list. As they age, this breed can develop a couple of different heart diseases. Good oral health and proper weight management can help you help your pup lower her risk for developing heart disease.

As your Bichon ages, it is recommended that she have a yearly heart check with a veterinary specialist who will use X-rays and echocardiograms to rule out any potential issues. Early diagnosis is key in heart disease management!

Patent Ductus Arteriosis

This is one of the most common heart conditions in this breed. It occurs when a vessel between two areas of the heart remains open. This open position causes excessive fluids and strain on the heart.

Symptoms of the disease include shortness of breath, coughing, weak hind legs, weight loss and struggling to exercise. If diagnosed early, this condition can be corrected with surgery.

Liver Issues

Bichon Frises are predisposed to developing what is called portosystemic shunt (PSS). This is a condition where the liver gets inadequate blood flow required for proper growth and function. Blood that should get to the liver ends up going around the organ. With a lack of proper blood supply, the liver cannot remove toxins from the bloodstream as it should. 

Some liver conditions can be treated with diet and lifestyle changes as well as medication. In severe cases, surgery may be required. 

Blood Diseases

One of the more serious Bichon Frise health conditions are the different blood diseases this breed is prone to:

Hemangiosarcoma is a form of bleeding tumor that typically affects the spleen, though it can affect other organs as well. There are usually no symptoms and the tumor goes undetected until it breaks open and causes internal bleeding. Symptoms of blood loss are pale gums, lack of appetite, weakness, rapid breathing and lethargy. A dog showing these symptoms should be seen by a vet immediately. 

Hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia are rare blood diseases that bichons are prone to developing. These conditions develop when the immune system attacks red blood cells or platelets, which makes the pup anemic and weak. 

Steroids are often recommended to slow down the destruction of red blood cells and platelets. In sudden and severe cases, surgery and emergency transfusions may be necessary to save the dog’s life.

Let Pet Insurance Help You Help Your Fur Baby

Bichon Frise is such a wonderful pup to have in your life. But as you’ve read, they are prone to developing certain health issues. And as you may have also noticed, some of these issues require expensive surgeries and ongoing treatments and medication. Can you comfortably afford to cover these expenses?

A pet health insurance plan will offset much of the cost of your vet bills. Plans can start as low as $15 a month. Go for a higher premium and you can get up to 90% of your vet bills covered. Talk about peace of mind!

Let pet insurance help you help your Bichon Frise. Get a free, customized quote from the top providers in the country.

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  1. “Bichon Frise Dog Breed health and Care”
  2. “Bichon Frise Dog Breed Information”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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