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Flat-faced breeds likely to have birth problems

Issue: 09/06/2017

A new study has found that brachycephalic breeds are more likely to have problems when giving birth.
VetCompass, a research project led by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), has established the risks that are associated with giving birth to dogs in the UK.
According to the research French Bulldogs were nearly 16 times more likely to have difficulty giving birth (dystocia) than other breeds of dog. Brachycephalic dogs it seems are predisposed to have these sort of problems. 
The study investigated bitches that were presented with difficulty giving birth from almost 20,000 bitches attending veterinary surgeries.
Commonly affected breeds were the brachycephalic breeds French Bulldog, Boston Terrier and Pugs. Also, Chihuahua's were identified as being 10 times more likely to have problems giving birth than other breeds.
The study also examined why people buy brachycephalic breeds despite the fact that these dogs can suffer from inherited diseases. This is building on previous 'purchasing' research undertaken by the RVC despite the fact that these dogs can suffer from inherited diseases.
Part of the growth in these breeds has been put down to the rise in online purchasing of dogs. Buyers who are less likely to see the puppy with its mother and they are also unlikely to ask to see health records.
The researchers recommend that breeds with fewer health conditions should be promoted, there should be less used of so-called 'flat-faced' breeds in the media, a greater public education is required and responsible puppy-buying practices should be promoted.
Dr Dan O'Neill, a companion animal epidemiologist within the VetCompass Programme, said: 'Giving birth in dogs is not always a benign process and our research shows this risk is especially exacerbated in some common brachycephalic and toy breeds. 
'Prospective owners should bear these welfare costs for high risk breeds in mind when choosing their new puppy.' 
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: 'VetCompass' research will not only enable dog breeders to make responsible breeding choices to improve the health of these dogs, it will help to highlight what puppy buyers need to be looking out for if they are intent on owning one of these breeds.  
'If people are choosing a breed simply for its looks and are not going to a reputable breeder, they are likely to face high vet costs and a lifetime of heartache.'

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