Addressing health issues in brachycephalic breeds remains an ongoing topic of interest across the veterinary, research and breed communities as well as impacts animal welfare laws and regulatory agencies in governments.
Although there is growing awareness of the potential welfare issues involved, there is clearly still a requirement for education of veterinary professionals, dog breeders and the wider public. This article provides information on a few developments in 2017.
Brachycephalic breeds - A few highlights from 2017
January 2017 - Vet Journal
Research: Comparison of submaximal exercise test results and severity of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome in English bulldogs
February 24, 2017
Health and Welfare: A research paper was published that explores the matter of people's motivations in purchasing breeds of dogs.
Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds
March 13, 2017
Brachycephalic health concerns: BVA letter to The Times
"Responding, British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz wrote a Letter to the Editor that featured on the newspaper’s letters page today:
Dear Editor - we, and many others, have been raising concerns for a long time and so we were pleased to see your report shine a spotlight on some of the serious health problems suffered by flat-faced dogs. Our members see brachycephalic breeds' health problems – from breathing difficulties to eye ulcers and painful spine abnormalities - in veterinary practices across the UK on a daily basis, and flag it as one of their top animal welfare concerns.
Despite increasing warnings from vets and animal welfare charities about the many health and welfare issues of flat-faced breeds such as French bulldogs and Pugs, they continue to rise in popularity and visibility, fuelled by their prominence in the media and at high profile events like Crufts.
We need to put a stop to these dogs' wrinkly faces, big eyes and curly tails - which can cause so many life limiting health problems - being seen as appealing characteristics. The British Veterinary Association strongly recommends potential owners do not buy brachycephalic breeds; instead we encourage potential owners to talk to their local vet before buying a dog to better understand what may be the best breed for them, learn more about responsible ownership and how to better understand a dog’s needs.
Potential dog owners can also use the Puppy Contract to ensure they buy a happy healthy breed or crossbreed that is right for them, rather than be swayed by the latest celebrity trend or what's been given prominence on prime time TV.
President, British Veterinary Association"
The Kennel Club: Press release: Kennel Club Launches Learning Resource for Health Concerns in Brachycephalic Breeds
The Kennel Club -- "Brachycephalic Breeds Health and Research Learning Resources
March 24, 2017
Dr. Brenda Bonnett Blogs about Brachycephalic issues and an article that appeared in the Veterinary Record: "Brachycephalic tipping point: time to push the button?"
April 21-23, 2017
The IPFD 3rd International Dog Health Workshop, held in Paris: Theme: Exaggerations of Conformation
Theme resources: https://dogwellnet.com/content/ipfd-international-dog-health-workshops/ipfd-international-dog-health-workshop-3/3rd-idhw-pre-meeting-program-theme-resources-and-reading-material/pre-workshop-reading-lists-by-theme-ipfd-3rd-international-dog-health-workshop/exaggerations-of-conformation-pre-workshop-required-reading/exaggerations-of-conformation-short-list-for-reading-before-the-workshop-please-r460/
Workshop Presentation: Dr, Rowena Packer; BBSRC Research Fellow, Royal Veterinary College: International Developments relative to issues in Brachycephalic dogs (you must be a DWN Member to access DHW presentations - Join.)
May 1, 2017
JAVMA news reports: Brachycephalic dogs more affected by many conditions https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/170501g.aspx
The article references the Nationwide Pet Insurance Brachycephalic Study (March 2017): https://dogwellnet.com/content/hot-topics/brachycephalics/nationwide-insurance-brachycelphalic-study-march-2017-r521/
May 12, 2017
Health problems in short nosed breeds: Nordic Kennel Union https://www.skk.se/en/NKU-home/latest-news/2017/5/boas-report/ points to a report, STATEMENTS AND PROPOSALS REGARDING RESPIRATORY HEALTH IN BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS prepared by a working group appointed by the Nordic Kennel Union which includes actions and strategies to reduce the incidence of BOAS in brachycephalic breeds.
Jun 8, 2017
David Sargan discusses Brachycephalic dogs on the Today programme
"With the news from the Kennel Club that so-called ‘designer dogs’ or flat faced dogs, such as French bulldogs will soon overtake Labradors as the nation’s most popular dog breed, Dr David Sargan was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss why DNA testing for genetic abnormalities should be introduced."
July 10, 2017
Arlo Guthrie VetSurgeon News reports on "Glamour model's plight highlights problems with brachycephalic breeds" and a Facebook Video where glamour model Jodie Marsh administers CPR to her Bulldog https://www.facebook.com/jodiemarshofficial/videos/1430232677070599/
"BVA President Gudrun Ravetz, said: "This is a very distressing video that demonstrates just how serious BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome) is as a condition for those dogs living with it.
"No dog should have to endure the distress of regularly collapsing, though sadly this is a reality for many flat-faced dogs. We would strongly advise anyone with a pet suffering these symptoms to talk to their vet urgently to agree the best way to ensure the health and welfare of their pet. This may include opting for surgery and will definitely include taking special measures in hot weather.
"BVA has been highlighting the significant health problems suffered by flat-faced dogs, such as bulldogs, and asking potential owners to choose healthier breeds or crossbreeds."
Hopefully, Jodie's video might just cause a few potential owners to do precisely that."
BVA: Vets offer advice after distressing video of Jodie Marsh giving her bulldog CPR goes viral: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/news-releases/vets-offer-advice-distressing-video-jodie-marsh-giving-bulldog-cpr-goes-viral/
August 1, 2017
Research: Conformational risk factors of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) in pugs, french bulldogs, and bulldogs
September 7, 2017
Walk Test - Finnish Kennel Club to add Walk test results to Koiranet DB
September 19, 2017
World small animal veterinary congress 2017-Joint WSAVA/FECAVA/DSAVA Panel discussion on brachycephalic dogs
http://www.fecava.org/en/press-release/press-release-1/world-small-animal-veterinary-congress-2017-joint-wsavafecavadsava-panel-discussion-on-brachycephalic-dogs.htm (link 404 - 6-23-2018) (Internal link - World small animal veterinary congress 2017-Joint WSAVA-FECAVA-DSAVA Panel discussion on brachycephalic dogs - 19-09-2017.pdf)
September 20, 2017
A poll: Is it time we banned French Bulldogs in Britain?
"Over the past 10 years, there has been a surge in popularity for owning the fashionable French Bulldog as a pet. But many vets have warned potential owners to steer clear of the breed because of the health issues associated with it. Joining us from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is head vet Shaun Opperman who says owners need to do more research before investing in this breed. Vet Emma Milne thinks French Bulldogs should be banned and owning one is tantamount to animal cruelty."
The Response to the poll reveals that 81% of respondents do not support a breed ban.
September 22, 2017
Driving the growing popularity of several brachy breeds - use of extremely conformed dogs in advertising, social media hype and celebrity related 'social media posts'.
Widely covered on web news services, the story of UK's House of Lords animal welfare discussions... John Gardiner, Baron Gardiner of Kimble, member of the UK's House of Lords is quoted below... from http://www.cetusnews.com/news/-Owning-a-pug-is-not-cool---Lords-warn--as-health-concerns-about-genetically-modified-dogs-increase.SJmfUechgPc-.html
'Owning a pug is not cool'..."
"Lord Gardiner said people should "respect animals as they are" after peers warned people are buying the animals because of celebrity social media posts and demanded the Government tell people the pets are "not cool"."
September 27, 2017
Dr. Brenda Bonnett delivers lecture in the Danish Small Animal Veterinary Association Healthy Breeding Stream - Brachycelphalic Panel discussion on Tuesday. (Dr. Bonnett's presentation will be available on DWN at a later date.)
November 24, 2017
Veterinarians will continue to treat Brachy dogs with health issues...
Complex problems in brachycephalic dogs - to cut or not to cut? is a BVA lecture event to be held on November 24, 2017 focused on a course consisting of four interactive lectures on brachycephaly-related problems of the head neck, and thorax.
Also see DogWellNet's Brachycephalic Issues section https://dogwellnet.com/content/hot-topics/brachycephalics/ for articles on a wide range of Brachycephalic subject matter - historical viewpoint to the present day state of affairs.
Brachycephalic Videos - A cross section -