Many people find pugs adorable, but there’s nothing cute about the serious health issues dogs face.
According to a new study from the UK’s Royal Veterinary College.
The study, published this week in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics, examined the clinical veterinary records of approximately 4,000 Pugs and 22,000 non-Pug dogs to determine comparative odds of various canine health problems.
More importantly, pugs were found to be 54 times more likely than the average dog to have brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which refers to a series of problems that can affect brachycephalic dogs, that is i.e. flat-faced. Shorter facial bones in dogs can lead to multiple issues that can lead to breathing difficulties ranging from mild to severe.
The researchers also found that pugs had an increased risk of 23 other disorders, including skin fold infections, skin allergies and obesity.
The researchers also found that pugs were less likely to suffer from certain issues, including heart murmurs and aggression. Overall, however, “disease predispositions were more common than disease protections,” the researchers wrote, adding that pugs face “many critical health-related wellness issues.”
The results of the study did not “surprise” Cambridge University vet Myfanwy Hill, she told the BBC.
Hill, who was not involved in the study, said that “pugs’ brains are squashed in a box that is too small” and that using their tiny nostrils is like “trying to breathe through a very narrow straw”.
Although this study focused on pugs, other flat-faced dogs like French and English bulldogs have also been known to suffer from breathing difficulties. In April, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the UK urged prospective dog owners to avoid buying puppies of flat-faced breeds, saying “it is wrong that we knowingly select for traits which jeopardize their health.
And in February, Norway went a step further and banned the breeding of English bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels due to the respiratory and other health issues they exhibit.