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Campaign highlights brachy health issues
The charity is concerned that unhealthy features have become normalised.
Public and vets urged to sign pledge.

The RSPCA has launched a campaign to raise public awareness about the health issues experienced by brachycephalic dogs.

The ‘Born to Suffer’ campaign features images of brachycephalic dogs wearing nasal cannulas, highlighting the breathing difficulties that affect flat-faced breeds.

The charity is also asking people to sign a pledge to say “no” to unhealthy breeds and not to celebrate brachycephalic dogs online or in day-to-day life.

Despite the health issues faced by brachycephalic dogs, breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs continue to be among the most popular breeds with UK dog owners. The extreme features that cause them health problems are often considered to be ‘cute’ by owners.

Vanessa Howie, head veterinary surgeon of companion animals at the RSPCA, said: “The three breeds with the greatest health and welfare issues - pugs, English bulldogs and French bulldogs - have become increasingly ‘normalised’ and popular, and are routinely celebrated across advertising, promotion and social media.

“If you Google ‘cute dogs’, it is these breeds which often come up first. They are ubiquitous in advertising and social media and this relentless exposure has fuelled demand but it has also normalised what is totally abnormal.”

Earlier this month, the RSPCA was among the charities which criticised Crufts after a French bulldog with what the charity described as “an extremely short muzzle and pinched nostrils” was awarded the Best in Breed prize.

The RSPCA has appealed to veterinary professionals to support its new campaign and sign the pledge.

Dr Howie said: “We know that many vets share our concerns about brachycephalic dogs and that they will get behind our new campaign - as they too often see the reality of the life many of these dogs face, and the health problems they sadly experience.”

Image © RSPCA

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

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 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

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