Brachycephalic ‘flat-faced’ Syndrome
Brachycephalic syndrome is of current interest in the veterinary world and press due to the soaring popularity of the extreme brachycephalic (literally ‘short-headed’) dog breeds, such as pugs, French bulldogs, bulldogs worldwide, and concerns about the welfare of these dogs.
Kennel Club registrations of French bulldog puppies in 2015 were more than 14,000, compared with 9,670 in 2014, which puts them in the third place for breed numbers registered - pugs are in fourth place.
Many people like these breeds for their ‘cute’ appearance, with their prominent eyes, domed foreheads and short muzzles, resembling human babies. They are also renowned for their friendly and engaging personalities.
However this human-like appearance comes at a cost, with many of the extreme brachycephalic dogs suffering from conformation-related diseases. The life expectancy of brachycephalic breeds is about 2-5 years shorter than others of matched body weight (Kennel Club, 2014). Whilst the most obvious problem is often the constriction of the upper airway (brachycephalic obstructive airway disease/ BOAS), the extreme conformation can also cause problems with reproduction, eyes, the nervous system, locomotor system and the skin. There are also breathing difficulties reported in flat-faced Persian cats.
Use the resources to learn more about the airway diseases associated with these breeds’ conformation and what the veterinary profession is doing to raise awareness of these diseases.