French Bulldog

Health and welfare of Brachycephalic dogs

spotlight topic:

Health and welfare of Brachycephalic dogs

‘In the Spotlight’ features bring together collections of published papers on topics of interest and importance to the veterinary professions.

Papers are chosen for relevance and accessibility, with the full text of articles either being available through the RCVS Knowledge Library, on open access or from other publications to which a significant number of veterinary professionals are likely to have access. This means that there may be relevant evidence that is not included. If you would like assistance in searching for further evidence on this topic you may find the following helpful EBVM Toolkit 2: Finding the best available evidence.

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Published 10 February 2023 | Updated 15 May 2024

The health and welfare of brachycephalic breeds is an ongoing cause for concern. Despite this, they continue to enjoy high popularity as pets, leading to increasing number of these animals being presented to veterinary practice. Their popularity is also compounding the issues, due to the increase in breeding to meet demand.

The first sections of this spotlight feature provide an introduction to the health status of brachycephalic dogs, providing links to published research on the prevalence of various disorders in the three main breeds (Pug, French bulldog and Bulldog) as well as some papers that provide comparisons to the prevalence of disorders in other dogs. This will be followed by a section which looks at research relating to understanding the appeal of brachycephalic dogs to their owners.

Although the primary focus relating to the health of brachycephalic dogs relates to brachycephalic airway disease, as a result of selection for the characteristic flat face, there are other issues that are prevalent in these animals which can impact on their health and welfare. Therefore, the following sections will provides link to current relevant evidence divided into sections relating to different body systems, before looking at the evidence relating to anaesthesia and caesarean section in these breeds.

While the emphasis on brachycephaly has been focused on dogs the final section will bring together the developing evidence of issues relating to brachycephaly in other species.

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