Researchers hope to develop new screening schemes for flat-faced dogs
In an effort to advance vital research into brachycephalic dog health, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has pledged £269k to help researchers broaden their work to look at a wider range of flat-faced breeds.
For the last ten years, researchers at the University of Cambridge have been investigating brachycephalic health, with funding from the Charitable Trust.
This research led to the development of The Kennel Club/University of Cambridge Respiratory Function Grading Scheme - which assesses bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs for brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). More than 700 dogs have been screened through the scheme since its launch.
This donation will help expand the research and will allow researchers to extend their work to look at a further 13 brachycephalic breeds, including boxer, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, King Charles spaniel Shih Tzu and Pekingese.
Researchers hope that this new research will lead to the development of further screening schemes to help reduce the risk of breeders producing affected dogs.
As well as looking at how each breed is affected by respiratory problems - and how this relates to their conformation, internal physiology and genetics – the research team will also be investigating neurological issues in relevant breeds, such as Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia.
Jane Ladlow, European and royal college specialist in small animal surgery who leads the research said: “As flat-faced dogs become increasingly popular, it’s more important than ever that we try to understand the complex and wide-ranging factors that lead to some of these dog becoming unwell.
“The next steps in our research will help us understand more about the relationship between respiratory issues and neurological problems, and how these issues relate to the structure of affected dogs.
She continued: “Our previous research has shown that the solution to these health problems isn’t always simple and that breathing issues in these dogs can vary dramatically, not only between breeds, but within them as well.”
The £269k donation will provide a solid foundation for this research, but the Kennel Club Charitable Trust stresses that more support is needed to further enhance these investigations and welcomes donations from breed clubs and individuals invested in the wellbeing of these breeds.