Vets Warn People Against Buying ‘Flat-Faced’ Dogs

Vets Warn People Against Buying ‘Flat-Faced’ Dogs
September 21 18:06 2016 Print This Article

(BBC) – Vets are warning would-be dog owners to think twice before buying breeds with fashionably “flat-faced” features because of concerns over their welfare.

Pugs, bulldogs, French bulldogs and shih-tzus have become sought-after in the UK, despite wide-ranging health problems.

Their appeal is attributed to having “squashed” faces and wrinkled noses.

The British Veterinary Association said the surge in popularity of these dogs had “increased animal suffering”.

Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “Prospective owners need to consider that these dogs can suffer from a range of health problems, from eye ulcers to severe breathing difficulties.

“We strongly encourage people to choose a healthier breed or a crossbreed instead.”

‘He scratches his bulging eyes’

The warning has been echoed by the PDSA, the Royal Veterinary College, the RSPCA and the Kennel Club.

Meanwhile, evidence suggests that an increasing number of the dogs – more correctly known as brachycephalic or short-muzzled dogs – are being abandoned by their owners.

Six dog rescue companies told the BBC that the breeds were being given up in greater numbers.

Battersea Dogs Home and Bluecross Animal Rescue received a total of 314 “flat-faced” dogs in 2015, compared to 226 in 2014, an increase of 39%.

Both charities said they were carrying out more surgical procedures to clear the airways of the dogs they brought in – removing obstructive pieces of tissue and widening nostrils.

Steve Gosling, a vet at Battersea Dogs Home, said one of their dogs, Winston the bulldog, was a typical example.

He said: “He’s a lovely little chap, about eight years old. He was left with us by his owners and, like many dogs from this breed, he suffers from what we call brachycephalic obstructed airways syndrome.

“In other words, because he has a really short nose that we’ve bred into him, he has quite serious breathing difficulties.”

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