World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress is talking about an elephant in the room, the healthy breeding of dogs. Take, for example, brachycephalic dogs.
The issues of “what are we doing to our dogs?” created much public discussion since the release of a revealing, controversial, and some suggest exploitative U.K. documentary Pedigreed Dogs Exposed.
A roundtable discussion on Brachycephalic Syndrome will be hosted jointly by the WSAVA and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA).
The British Veterinary Association says brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs at risk of severe health problems. Over the years breeding of brachycephalic breeds has become more extreme, and is associated with some health problems. In fact, Bulldogs can’t give birth naturally because heads of newborns are so large, a cesarian is required.
“Brachy” means “shortened” and “cephalic” means “head”. The skull bones of brachycephalic dogs are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a “pushed in” appearance. Due to the shorter bones of the face and nose, the anatomy and relationship with the other soft tissue structures are altered; some of these changes can cause physical problems for the affected dog. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the term Brachycephalic Syndrome refers to the combination of elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules, all of which are commonly seen in these breeds.
Examples of breeds that are brachycephalic include Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Chinese Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Bull Mastiffs, as well as many co-called “designer breeds.”
A study by a group of Australian veterinary scientists has found that dog owners increasingly favor such types of small dog over larger breeds, but are unaware of the myriad problems, including breathing difficulties, skin disorders, overheating, eye conditions and premature death that are increasingly common.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress is September 25 to 28 in Copenhagen.
The WSAVA is focused on enhancing the clinical care of companion animals around the world and represents more than 200,000 veterinarians globally through 101 member associations.