Vets at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in the UK, have found that pugs are more likely to suffer from eye, skin and breathing disorders than other breeds.
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Pugs are in high demand among celebrities and dog lovers because of their wrinkled faces and squashed little noses. However, this new study has shown that the breed suffers from various health conditions and cannot be considered a ‘typical dog’ like others.
“The widely differing health profiles between Pugs and other dogs in the UK suggest that the Pug has diverged to such an extent from mainstream dog breeds that the Pug breed can no longer be considered as a typical dog,” said study researchers.
Pugs are born by selective breeding and their short-faced brachycephalic (short-muzzled dog with flattened face) characteristics are a result of genetic mutation that did not evolve naturally. This facial structure puts them at a higher risk of health issues such as eye, breathing and skin disorders.
The research team compared the risks of 40 common health issues among pugs and other breeds. They also analyzed the records of 16,218 pugs and 889,326 non-pug breeds that were taken from the VetCompass database. It is a collection of records from 20 million animals. Researchers use these records to improve the health and welfare of animals.
Their analysis showed that pugs were at high risk for 23 out of 40 common conditions.
Researchers revealed that pugs were 54 times more likely to suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) (a set of upper airway abnormalities that affect dogs) and 51 times more likely to have narrow nostrils.
The breed was also 13 times more prone to suffer from corneal ulceration (an eye infection that causes an open sore on the cornea) and 11 times more likely to have skin fold dermatitis (skin inflammation). Moreover, the risk of obesity and overgrown nails was 2.5 and 2 times higher respectively.
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The research also showed that the pugs were at a lower risk of other health conditions, including lipoma, aggression and heart murmurs.
This study was proposed when a previous study found that the life expectancy of Pugs is the shortest among all breeds. Vets at the RVC assessed 30,563 dogs from 18 breeds to see the variations in life expectancy among them. They found that the average life expectancy for dogs in the UK is 11.2 years and this varies vastly between the breeds.
Jack Russell Terriers had the greatest life expectancy from age 0 at 12.7 years. The life expectancy of Border Collies is 12.1 years, and Springer Spaniels is 11.92 years.
On the other hand, four flat-faced breeds were found to have the shortest life expectancies. The life expectancy of American Bulldogs is 7.8 years, Pugs is 7.7 years, English Bulldogs is 7.4 years, and French Bulldogs is 4.5 years.
The detailed research has been published in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics.
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