Wickersley animal charity's warning against buying ‘flat-faced pets’

By Adele Forrest | 19/06/2019

Wickersley animal charity's warning against buying ‘flat-faced pets’
Poorly pooch Edna

POTENTIAL pet owners are being warned about the issues “flat-faced pets” — cruelly bred for their looks over their health — endure after a rise in adoption cases in the area.

Wickersley-based animal rescue charity Rain Rescue is raising awareness of the problems after seeing a rise in these types of pets entering its care.

Pets like pugs, French bulldogs and Persian cats are being treated for health problems that are related to poor breeding, said the charity, which is encouraging people to adopt a rescue pet instead of going to a breeder.

The rescue, which takes in more than 400 dogs and cats every year, recently rescued Edna, a one-year-old French Bulldog, who required major surgery when it was found she had narrowed airways and a dropped palate meaning she struggled to breathe properly.

Lauren Sanderson, deputy charity manager, said: “In the last 12 months, we’ve taken in three French bulldogs and a Persian cat who all had what is known as brachycephalic — breed-related health issues, from poor breathing, eye disease, dental problems and skin infections. 

“It may not sound a lot but in Rain’s 17-year history it had only cared for one French bulldog before this. 

“Edna (pictured) is also the second dog we’ve had to treat with surgery for poor breeding, the other was a pug.

“Frenchies and pugs are more popular than ever but sadly the public and those buying puppies do not realise the consequences. 

“It’s often considered normal for these breeds to snore and snort — but it isn’t, this is the effect of breeders choosing looks over health. 

“In extreme cases, this can mean they need corrective surgery like Edna did. “Not only is this a huge thing for the animal to go through, it can be very expensive, sometimes costing thousands of pounds.”

The British Veterinary Association said that last year 93 per cent of companion vets treated flat faced dogs for breathing problems. 

They recently launched their #BreedtoBreathe campaign to encourage dog owners to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead of prioritising appearance over welfare.

Last week, Holland’s Pug Club banned the breeding of pugs with a nose less than a third of the length of the skull to try and improve the health of the breed.

Lauren added: “Thankfully Edna has now got the treatment she needed, has been adopted and is doing much better, but sadly her breed-related issues are not completely over, she still suffers from ear infections, another common issue in these types of dog.

“We want to encourage anyone thinking of buying one of these breeds to really do their research and know what a healthy pet looks like — or better yet adopt. It really is the public that have the power to make things better. 

“We are also pleading with breeders and breeder clubs to change what they look for as desirable. 

“To continue to breed these animals to have shorter and shorter noses and smaller skulls really is so cruel.”

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