Highly Inbred, French Bulldogs Face Higher Odds for 20 Health Issues – Consumer Health News

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Monday, December 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The French Bulldog is incredibly cute, adorable, and adorable, with large round heads, wide, bright eyes and large bat ears.

Unfortunately, a new study shows that the physical traits that make them one of the most popular breeds in the US and UK also cause them to have a host of health issues.

16 in the journal French researchers reported that French people have significantly higher odds than other dog breeds being diagnosed with 20 common disorders and diseases in dogs. Canine medicine and genetics.

French Bulldogs are 42 times more likely to have narrowed nostrils, 30 times more likely to suffer from obstructed airways, 14 times more likely to have ear discharge, 11 times more likely to have dermatitis of the skin folds, and 9 times more likely To suffer from difficult births and researchers found that the shape of their pelvis more than other breeds.

The results showed that these dogs were three times more likely to have respiratory or spinal cord disorders, more than twice as likely to have brain or skin disorders, and almost twice as likely to have ear or reproductive disorders.

Lead researcher Dan O’Neill said the most worrisome health issues “have to do with the French bulldog’s extreme body shape.” He is a Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the Royal College of Veterinary Medicine, UK. “These include breathing difficulties, skin infections, difficulty in childbirth, eye sores, dermatitis and slipped kneecap.”

The French Bulldog has been around for centuries and was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1898.

But in recent years, they have seen an astonishing rise in popularity, with a 20-fold increase in UK Kennel Club registrations between 2009 and 2019, making it the second most popular breed in Britain, the researchers said in Key Notes.

The problem is that such heavy breeding has made the breed’s underlying genetic issues more visible, said Helio de Morillas, director of the Louis Bates Atchison Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

“We actively choose the appearance that goes against the animal’s welfare,” de Morillas said, especially a flat face that makes breathing difficult. “That, to me, is a problem. I think we should reverse that trend.”

Worse for nearly half of the cases studied

To get a sense of just how bad the breed is, O’Neill and colleagues compared the health records of nearly 2,800 French Bulldogs versus more than 21,800 dogs of other breeds.

The researchers compared diagnoses for 43 specific disorders and found that French people fared worse on nearly half of the health problems tracked.

O’Neill and de Morillas said the problems are directly related to the physical traits that make the breed so attractive. Difficulty breathing through the snout; Skin folds become easier; Large eyes are more prone to corneal ulcers.

“The breed has many intrinsic health issues related to aspects of its shape such as the flat face, lack of a long tail and short body. But the irony is that humanity loves the appearance of these traits, and this love propels the breed to become one of the most famous dog breeds in the world,” O’Neill said. So the traits that we love as humans are precisely the traits that lead to so many dogs suffering.”

These problems are not limited to the French bulldog.

A recent genetic analysis in the same journal of 227 strains revealed an inbreeding rate of 25%, which is equivalent to sharing the same genetic material with an entire sibling. The researchers noted that this level is much higher than what would be safe for wild animals or humans.

But the explosion in breeding caused by the popularity of the French has caused specific health problems that tend to become more noticeable.

Take, for example, the short snout.

“When you start to shorten the nose, whatever was inside the nose has to be compressed,” de Morillas. “There are bones inside the nose, and as the shortening continues, all the bones begin to flex. And breathing becomes more and more difficult,” he explained.

“A lot of respiratory problems are because people choose for them,” de Morillas continued. “If you keep breeding what people want, you’re basically making all of those problems that much worse.”

New breed standards required

O’Neill noted that steps are being taken to move the breed away from these health problems.

“The French Bulldog Kennel Club breeding standard has recently been revised to emphasize the need for breeding toward a longer muzzle and wider nose openings,” O’Neill said. “This is a very positive step on a longer path to reducing the extreme conformation of these dogs.”

Unfortunately, the French’s gene pool is so small and so extreme that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse these problems, de Morillas said.

“To change some of these traits, you have to have genetic diversity within the breed’s gene pool,” de Morillas said. “For English bulldogs, they just don’t think they have enough to reverse those genes. That could be a problem with the French as well, especially with the explosion in the last 10 years. You didn’t have a lot of dogs at first, so it’s probably all related closely related.”

There’s reason for hope: Researchers note that the odds of a French Bulldog being diagnosed are lower than 11 of the 43 common disorders tracked in this study, including unwanted behavior, lameness, and obesity. They argue that this means that the breed has the potential to become healthier.

While vets, breeders, and kennel clubs grapple with these issues, the best consumers can do to help is to refrain from buying breeds like the French that come with a lot of health problems caused by genes.

“Until the French Bulldog’s body shape is altered to the point where the breed’s serious health issues are greatly reduced, the current advice for anyone considering acquiring the breed is unfortunately to stop and think before purchasing a flat-faced dog,” O’Neill said. “The broader public can resolve this welfare crisis simply by making a decision to purchase a healthier breed – if we so choose.”

You might buy or rescue a small animal of mixed breeds, although O’Neill cautions that a dog will not necessarily be healthier than a purebred dog.

“All breeds have their strengths and weaknesses. This is part of what makes each breed unique. But in many breeds, there is a good balance between these strengths and weaknesses, so that the overall health of the breed can be very good,” O’Neill said.

He continued, “There are many benefits from deciding to get a puppy of a particular breed, such as the expected size and temperament of an adult dog with whom you will later share at least a decade of your life.” “The important goal now is to identify those strains with unacceptable health problems and work to mitigate those problems.”

more information

The American Kennel Club has more on the French Bulldog.

SOURCES: Dan O’Neill, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Companion Animal Epidemiology, Royal Veterinary College, UK; Helio De Morillas, DVM, Ph.D., hospital director, Louis Bates Atchison Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Oregon State University, Corvallis; Canine medicine and geneticsDecember 16, 2021

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