It is no secret that brachycephalic dogs have a host of specific health issues, but a new study shows that they also are more susceptible to a range of ailments common to all dogs.
The “Nationwide Brachycephalic Breed Disease Prevalence Study March 2017” was released at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in early March by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer looked at its pet health insurance claims for more than a million dogs from 2007 to 2015 to determine whether brachycephalic dogs were susceptible to other health problems beyond what is commonly assigned to such breeds.
In all, the claims of more than 184,000 brachycephalic dogs from 24 breeds were compared against those of more than a million nonbrachycephalic dogs.
The study comes at a time when the popularity of short-nosed breeds has been surging, with the study citing the American Kennel Club’s top 10 list of the most popular U.S. breeds, which includes three brachycephalic breeds and seven in the AKC’s top 25 list.
“The [research team in the pet insurance unit] decided to conduct an analysis that would focus on conditions common to all dogs and then compare brachycephalic breeds to this baseline,” said Nationwide in a statement.
The report continued to say that the aim of the study “was to find out if brachycephalic dogs were less healthy than other dogs beyond the already well-established health risks linked to their airway anatomy.”
The short answer: they are.
The study found that short-nosed breeds are more likely than long-nosed dogs to be affected by conditions common to both.
The study looked at at least 21 common ailments that affect all dogs and found that the percentage of claims to be higher for brachycephalic dogs across the board than for nonbrachycephalic dogs.
Claims for short-nosed dogs were 15 percent or higher for conjunctivitis (44 percent), pyoderma (43), otitis externa (41), dermatitis (40), canine cystitis (22), anal sacculitis (21), intervertebral disc disease (19) and valvular heart disease (18).
Some common ills affecting all dogs were off the charts when it came to brachycephalic dogs:
- corneal ulcer claims were 377 percent higher in brachycephalic dogs than their long-nosed cousins;
- heat stroke claims were 146 percent higher;
- ocular trauma claims rose by 137 percent in short-nosed dogs; and
- pneumonia, fungal skin disease and skin cancer were 109, 94 and 86 percent higher, respectively, for brachycephalics.
The study also provided analysis as to why short-nosed dogs seem to be more susceptible to just about everything and are generally less healthy than long-nosed dogs.
For example, the shorter skull structure of these breeds compared with long-nosed dogs puts their eyes front and center and at greater risk for injuries.
Likewise, brachycephalic dogs tend to be wrinklier, giving funguses more warm, moist places to develop.
Brachycephalic dog breeds in the study included affenpinscher, Boston terrier, boxer, Brussels griffon, bulldog, bulldog (Olde English), bulldog (Victorian), Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Doge de Bordeaux, French bulldog, Japanese chin, Lhasa apso, mastiff, mastiff (Brazilian – Fila Brasileiro), bull mastiff, English mastiff, Neapolitan, Pyrenean mastiff, Tibetan mastiff, Spanish mastiff, Olde English bulldogge, Pekinese, pug and Shih tzu.
Download the full study at the Nationwide website.