22 Noviembre 2016 23:15
You might find squash-nosed dogs like pugs or bulldogs cute, but you should think twice before choosing one as a pet. Vets are warning that their physical features could give rise to a slew of lifelong health problems.
Dogs belonging to the brachycephalic breed tick all the boxes for a life of suffering and long-term health problems. Now, the British Veterinary Association has asked future owners to opt for different a type of dog.
These types of dogs are categorised as brachycephalic (“brachy” meaning short and “cephalic” meaning head), and they've become increasingly popular over the last few years. But their extremely short noses put them at risk for respiratory and eye problems, as well as eating difficulties.
The British Veterinary Association, which represents vets in the UK, has encouraged future dog owners to choose healthier breeds.
"Vets are seeing concerning trends in dog health and welfare because of the rise in ownership of brachycephalic breeds”, said Sean Wensley, president of the BVA.
“The surge in popularity of these dogs has lead to increased animal suffering”
“Prospective dog owners need to consider that these dogs can suffer a range of health issues throughout their lives, from eye ulcers to painful spine abnormalities and severe breathing difficulties.”
“The surge in popularity of these dogs has increased animal suffering and resulted in unwell pets for owners, so we strongly encourage people to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead.”
Doctor Rowena Packer, researcher at the Royal Veterinary College, said that the health problems faced by these brachycephalic dogs are related to physiological characteristics developed through years of selective breeding. “Basically, it’s where we’ve been selecting for this face shape, but where nature isn’t really compatible with that, so that not everything inside is reducing down how we want it to.
"They find it far more difficult to exercise, or even do normal things like eating. They actually sell specific food for these dogs because they find it difficult to chew and swallow,” Packer added.
The problem was caused directly by the breeders, who deliberately bred the dogs with the goal of exaggerating these features.
“If you’re breeding dogs with extreme body shapes, no matter how good a breeder you are, you are still putting the puppies at very, very high risk of quite a long list of conditions.”
Wesley's warning is at least the the third of its kind given by the BVA this year. The Kennel Club acknowledges that the problem was caused directly by the breeders, who deliberately bred these dogs with the intention of exaggerating these features.
Carlonie Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said: “Breeds such as the French bulldog and pug have seen a sudden increase in popularity in recent years, leading to a huge demand for them. This has provided a ready market for unscrupulous breeders to effectively churn out puppies for profit, outside of any regulation or umbrella of influence, with no regard for their health and welfare.”
Kisko added that anyone wishing to buy a brachycephalic dog should speak to the relevant owner's club for advice.
Breeds like the French bulldog or the pug have seen an increase in popularity in these last years, allowing unscrupulous breeders to profit.
But the secretary of one brachycephalic breed owners’ club, who preferred to remain anonymous, criticised the Kennel Club, saying the organisation registered puppies despite their failure to meet recognised breed standards, thus exacerbating the problem.
The number of registrations of the breed represented by her club has skyrocketed in the past decade, she said.