Study Shows Owners of Flat Muzzled Dogs Often Ignore Health Risks of Brachycephaly

Researchers in the UK recently conducted a large-scale survey of owners of flat faced dog breeds like the Pug and French and English Bulldogs.

The findings show that while these breeds are very popular, owners often downplay the health problems associated with brachycephaly in their dogs.

Brachycephaly can cause a wide range of chronic health issues, including airway obstruction, skin fold infections, overheating, and corneal ulcers.

Many of the survey respondents said that their own dogs suffered from these health issues, and yet only a small percentage felt that their dogs were less healthy than average.  In fact, over 70% of owners rated their dogs as either in “very good health” or “the best health possible.”

In an article on the study published by the Royal Veterinary College, the researchers note that our attraction to flat muzzled dogs can often lead us to rationalize their health problems.

One veterinarian involved in the study offered this important assessment of our role as responsible pet owners in addressing the health and well-being of our animal companions:

“After almost a decade working on brachycephalic dogs, I have come to realize that the issue is as much a human problem as it is a dog problem. As humans, we design, breed and choose the dogs we own but our dogs have to live, for better or worse, with those outcomes. With such great power comes great responsibility. Deeper understanding of the human reasons for our choices can help us make better decisions and to improve the welfare of our ‘best friend’.”

 

Dental Problems in Flat-Faced Cat Breeds

There’s a lot of information out there about the health problems associated with flat muzzles (called brachycephaly) in certain dog breeds such as the Bulldog, Pug, and Shih Tzu.  But did you know that flat-faced cats, especially the Persian and the Exotic Shorthair, also suffer from health problems tied to brachycephaly?

Brachycephalic animals can suffer from a wide range of problems, including obstructed airways and reduced oxygen to the lungs, protruding eyes that are vulnerable to injury, heat stroke, gastrointestinal problems, and exercise induced collapse.

Another common health problem associated with brachycephaly in dogs and cats is dental disease caused by the physical structure of head and face.

A new study of dental problems in brachycephalic cat breeds found that they are prone to a wide range of issues.  Here’s a quick rundown of the findings:

Two of the most common problems are malocclusion (misalignment) of the canine teeth (found in 72% of cats in the study) and overcrowding of the incisor teeth (50% of the cats).

Other problems include crowding of the molars and premolars and having at least one tooth with some sort of positional change, such as orientation, rotation, or impaction.  Anther anomaly seen in these cats is hypodontia (absent teeth).

What about gum disease in brachycephalic cats?  The researchers found that 88% of the cats in the study had some degree of periodontal disease.  Many also had inflammatory tooth resorption.

Do you have a Persian or Exotic Shorthair cat?  Make sure regular tooth brushings and dental checkups at the veterinarian’s office are part of your cat care routine.