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Is Your Short-Muzzled Dog Having Breathing Problems?

Story at-a-glance
  • A recent study conducted in the UK revealed owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles) often don’t realize their pet is struggling to breathe.
  • A problem common in these dogs is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which includes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and/or throat of pets with “pushed in” faces.
  • “Brachys” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be crammed within the skull. Symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing during physical exertion, and overheating.
  • Breathing problems can prevent your dog from enjoying the simplest things in life, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise. In dogs with severe airway obstruction, the struggle to breathe can be continuous. Left untreated, the situation gets progressively worse, as do the symptoms.
  • It’s important for owners of brachycephalic breeds to understand the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dog, and to see the vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

By Dr. Becker

A recent study points to the possibility that owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with “pushed in” faces) mistake significant breathing difficulties in their pets for normal respiratory sounds.

The Royal Veterinary College at the University of London conducted a survey of the owners of 285 dogs who brought their pets to the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals for various reasons during a five-month period.

Thirty-one of the 285 dogs, including Boston terriers, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, Pekingese and pugs, had been diagnosed with brachycephalic airway syndrome.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome describes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and throat of dogs (and some cats) as a result of abnormal skull structure.

What surprised the Royal Veterinary College researchers was the fact that despite the dogs’ owners reporting significant respiratory symptoms, they did not believe their pets had breathing problems.

Breathing Difficulties Assumed to Be Normal

Short-muzzled dogs, or “brachys,” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be compressed within the skull. Many of these dogs develop brachycephalic airway syndrome. Signs of the condition include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing with even minor physical exertion, and a tendency to overheat.

Every owner of a brachy said their dog snored – some even while awake – compared with fewer than two percent of non-brachycephalic dogs. But well over half the owners did not believe their pet had breathing difficulties, even though the majority of dogs had problems during exercise.

According to researchers, this indicates many owners of pets with brachycephalic airway syndrome don’t realize a problem exists and don’t seek help from a veterinarian. According to Rowena Packer of the Royal Veterinary College and one of the study researchers:

"Our study clearly shows that owners of brachycephalic dogs often dismiss the signs of this potentially severe breathing disorder as normal and are prepared to tolerate a high degree of respiratory compromise in their pets before seeking help. It may require a particularly acute attack, such as the dog losing consciousness, for owners to perceive a problem."

Many owners who were surveyed seemed to believe breathing difficulties aren’t really a problem if the dog is short-muzzled. One owner’s comment: “No to breathing problem – other than being a Bulldog.”

Dr. Charlotte Burn, lead researcher, warns that while short muzzles may be appealing-looking, owners of brachy breeds need to be aware the cute appearance often comes at a serious price to the dog. “Just because a problem is common, that doesn’t make it less of a problem for the individuals who suffer it,” says Burn.

Helping Your Brachy Breathe Better

Breathing difficulties can prevent your pet from being able to enjoy the very simplest things dogs naturally love to do, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise.

Dogs with severe brachycephalic airway syndrome can have almost continuous difficulty getting enough air. It’s not unusual for these dogs to collapse from lack of oxygen.

Left untreated, the problems tend to progress over time, with worsening symptoms.

The Royal Veterinary College researchers encourage parents of brachycephalic breeds to learn the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dogs, and to make an appointment with a vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

Unfortunately, surgery is often the only option to resolve significant breathing difficulties resulting from brachycephalic airway syndrome. The treatment goal is to surgically remove the tissues or structures causing airway obstruction.

Things you can do as the owner of a brachy include keeping your dog fit and trim. Overweight and obese dogs have much more serious respiratory difficulties than pets who are kept at an ideal weight.

Keeping your dog out of hot, humid environments is also important to support normal respiration and prevent overheating.

And since stress exacerbates virtually every health problem, especially breathing difficulties, keeping your dog’s life as stress-free as possible is also recommended to support your pet’s health and quality of life.

Related:

Reverse Sneezing, Chihuahua Honks or Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex

Collar to Keep Track of Dogs’ Temperature is in the Works

K-9 dies after being left in hot patrol car

See: Temperatures Are Rising: Be a Dog Defender: Help Save Animals This Summer! Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs – Please be proactive and vocal… you could be saving a life and definitely saving animals of a lot of suffering!!

August 24, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

United Airlines bans transport of certain breeds of dogs

Written By Julie DeVito  -  Published March 29, 2012  -  FoxNews.com  – h/t to MJ

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  • United Airlines PetSafe program bans nine breeds of dogs, inlcuding Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. (AP)

The friendly skies of United Airlines have just gotten a little less friendly for some four-legged creatures.

This month, much to the disappointment of some pet owners, United Airlines confirmed its adoption of the Continental Airlines PetSafe program as the merger of the two carriers became official.

The PetSafe program, which had been in place for several years under Continental, is considered the best in the airline industry and has won an Award for Excellence from the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

But not everyone is happy with United’s policy that bans nine dog breeds from planes it considers “dangerous.” Breeds, or mixes, that have reached either 6 months of age or 20 pounds that are prohibited are: Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and Ca de Bou.

Until the merger, United Airlines didn’t have any restrictions on these breeds.

Mary Ryan, spokeswoman for United, told FoxNews.com that the airline adopted the PetSafe Program because it was an overall superior product. "The PetSafe Program has more resources in place: a 24-hour dedicated desk, transportation for the animals."

But some pet owners say the ban is a discriminatory practice. Jessie Huart says she learned of the ban while trying to book a ticket to travel with her 10-year-old pit bull, Slaw. She started a petition at Change.org to encourage airline officials to remove the breed restriction in their dangerous dog policy.

“These types of policies are opposed by every major dog-related organization. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association argue that physical appearance isn’t an effective way to predict or address aggression,” the petition site says.

The airline’s policy was recently revised to eliminate the phrase "dangerous breeds," but the ban remains.

Another change in United policy was that the airline classified pets traveling in the cargo hold as cargo rather than checked luggage. That became a problem for some traveling with pets from certain countries, especially overseas American military families who were facing potentially large third-party freight fees.

Last week, under mounting pressure, United eased restrictions. "Because we share our customers’ concern that their pets’ flights are stress-free, we have enhanced our animal acceptance policy to transport pets as both baggage (accompanying a passenger on the same plane) and cargo,” it states on its website.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, of Paw Curious.com, told FoxNews.com that although United is the only airline that has a ban on certain breeds, all airlines reserve the right to turn away a dog on an individual basis if he or she appears ill or aggressive.

“The American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, the ASPCA and the HSUS all agree that the visual appearance of a dog has no correlation to its propensity to display aggression.” Vogelsang told FoxNews.com. “I am fine with an airline making policy decisions based on evidence that are meant to keep the pet safe, but adamantly opposed to policies based on assumptions and fear that do nothing to help the pet or the owner. It certainly has nothing to do with the fact that these so called "dangerous" breeds are themselves more at risk when they travel.”

Traveling by air with animals, especially unique breeds, has never been easy. So what other options do you have with other airlines?

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Northwest Airlines do not have any restrictions against specific breeds. Southwest and America West/US Airlines both will not ship live animals, but they will accept legitimate service dogs inside the cabin.

Melanie Monteiro, a dog safety expert and author of the “Safe Dog Handbook,” says no matter what your dog’s breed, travelers should keep in mind a few basics.

1.Your dog must be deemed in peak health by his/her vet prior to any flight. Underlying medical conditions are one of the leading causes of air travel-related illness or death in pets. The airline’s required veterinary health certificate will cover this.

2.Short-nosed breeds (i.e., boxers, bulldogs, pugs, bull mastiffs) are prone to respiratory problems and should not fly below cabin. Overweight and elderly dogs are also at risk.

3. Check kennel size and weight restrictions (which is the combined weight of the pet, PLUS the carrier) for your particular airline.

4. Ensure your pet’s kennel is in top condition with no loose latches. The kennel must be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lay down in.

5. Allow extra time for check in when traveling with pets, and ensure your dog has had a nice long walk before the flight.

As far as booking a tough breed on United or any other carrier, pet owners are advised to always call the airlines first.

Transporting Pets:
If you want to transport your dog or cat by air, Pet Airways is the safest way to fly your pet. Pets traveling on Pet Airways fly in the main cabin of our aircraft. Pets are continuously watched over by our On-Board Pet Attendants. Our Pet Lounges are pet–friendly, of course, and all our team are pet professionals.

Whether you are shipping a dog that has been rescued, need to move your dog to another city, flying your new puppy home, or just want to vacation with your cat or travel with your dog, Pet Airways is dedicated to making pet transportation safe and comfortable for your pet.

Better Alternative: Check out Pet Airwayshttp://www.petairways.com/

How to Transport a Pet by Air
There are 4 ways to ship a pet:

  • Fly with your pet. If your pet is small and under 20lbs, you can fly with your pet by putting it under your seat. If your pet is too large, your pet flies in cargo hold.
  • Ship your pet, just like you ship a package. You take your pet to the cargo department of the airline, and your dog or cat are transported just just like they transport all their packages, in the cargo hold.
  • Hire a Pet Shipper. Pet Shippers provide the convenience of taking and picking up your pet from the cargo department of the airlines. Your pet flies in the cargo hold.
  • Transport your pet with Pet Airways the one and only pet airline. Our pets are "pawsengers" and we treat them with TLC throughout the pet travel experience.

So, if you are travelling with your dog, moving with your cat across the country, taking a vacation with your pet, transporting a pet to grandma for a visit, Pet Airways is the pet-only airline, where the pet safety is our most important job. All we do is fly pets, safely.

 

Video:  Travel on Pet Airways – "How it Works"

Better Alternative: Check out Pet Airways  -  http://www.petairways.com/

And if all else fails… Consider a driving trip!!

Related:

Resources:

Traveling With Dogs

The Portable petswelcome.com

Traveling With Your Pet  -  AAA Publishing

Ask Marion at Just One More Pet

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment