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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.

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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

136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (2012)

Visit the the Westminster Kennel Club and Events
Here

Wiener is a winner: Wirehaired Dachshund is best of the Hounds at Westminster

A female Wirehaired Dachsund named “Cinders” (officially named “GCH Raydachs Playing With Fire V Gleishorbach SW”) has been named “Best of Group (Hound)” at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The rest of the top performers in the Hound Group were, in second place, a female Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeen (“GCH Jodell Boogie Back To Texas”); in third place, a female Whippet (“Ch Starline’s Chanel”); and, in fourth place, a male Norwegian Elkhound (“GCH Vin-Melca’s The Norseman”).

Cinders is owned by Shirley Ray, Maria Sakoda and James Sakoda. He was bred by his owners as well as Jessica Smith.

Cinders after her Best of Breed win at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (Photo provided by Westminster Kennel Club.)

The Westminster Kennel Club website describes the Wirehaired Dachshund breed as follows:

The Dachshund, developed in Germany three centuries ago, is a perfect example of form following function. With his long, low body, prominent forechest and front legs designed for digging, the Dachshund is well equipped for going underground to hunt badger and other den-dwelling animals. A versatile hunter, he has the instincts and intelligence to excel in conformation, earthdog, obedience, agility and tracking events. The clever, affectionate Dachshund is an entertaining and devoted pet. The three Varieties – Longhaired, Smooth, and Wirehaired – compete separately. Within each variety the two sizes, miniature and standard, are shown together.

Cinders, who is almost 3 1/2, will compete in the Best of Show judging at approximately 10 PM EST tonight against the winners of the other Groups: Toy (“Malachy” the Pekingese), Non-Sporting (“Ian” the Dalmatian), Herding (“Cap”, the German Shepherd), Sporting (“Emily” the Irish Setter), Working (“Fifi” the Doberman Pinscher), and Terrier (still to be determined).

Read more about other categories at Canine Nation

Martha Stewart’s Dog Triumphs at Westminster

Casting call for Best in Show II?

Martha Stewart has suffered some professional setbacks of late. But today was a moment of unvarnished triumph: Stewart’s chow-chow, Ghenghis Khan, took the Best in Breed ribbon at the Westminster Dog Show this morning. What makes the victory all the more sweet for Martha is that this isn’t the first fluffy puppy she’s named after a legendarily fearsome Mongolian warlord. Today’s victorious chow-chow replaced Ghengis Khan the First, who died in a 2009 explosion at a kennel club and training center for show dogs in the Poconos.

Ghengis II, though, is no pale imitation, and more than meets up to the famously exacting Stewart standards. We never knew until today that Martha was into show dogs, but we’re not surprised she’s doing it better than you are. As a delighted and proud Martha tweeted, Ghengis simply outclassed the competition: "Jan kolnik showed ghenghis. She knew he was the best and he proved it by winning." Dogs just look more festive with a nice blue ribbon, don’t they?

Update: Stewart’s dog also probably had the most expensive pre-show meal. Below, he and Stewart dining at the Plaza on Sunday. Note the excellent table manners — and Martha’s are okay, too. Even if Ghengis hadn’t taken the prize, he would have been the fanciest dog at the show.

Martha Stewart==
Martha Stewart Having Lunch with her dog at the Plaza==
The Plaza, NYC==
February 12, 2012==
©PatrickMcmullan.com==
photo-Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcmullan.com==
==

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Malachy the Pekingese Takes Top Prize

ap dog show mj 120214 wblog Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Malachy the Pekingese Takes Top Prize

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show had a surprise winner this year when a Pekingnese took the coveted Best in Show prize in New York.

Malachy, the four-year-old winner at this year’s Westminster show, made it to the final round at the 2011 show but ultimately lost to Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound. This year marks the first time since 1990 the breed took a victory lap at the nation’s top dog show prize.

“He doesn’t run. He has a dignified Pekingese gait,” handler David Fitzpatrick had told The Associated Press.

PHOTOS: Finalists at Westminster 2012

Reaction on the ground Tuesday night was that the Malachy has come close so many times that it was an “owed” win. Fitzpatrick, however, has had multiple winners.

This win marks Malachy’s 115th overall Best in Show title. On Westminster’s opening night he had been named best in the Toy group, which is considered the show’s most competitive category.

Judge Cindy Vogels selected the four-year-old Pekingnese amidst a packed crowd at Madison Square Garden, where he defeated a Dalmatian, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Irish setter, a Kerry blue terrier and wire-haired dachshund to win the silver bowl.

Although the winner at Westminster does not receive any prize money, the prestige of a win is priceless and will undoubtedly bring in plenty in breeding potential.

ABC News’ Carlos Boettcher contributed to this report. h/t to MJ

February 15, 2012 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chinese City’s "One Dog" Policy Has Residents Howling

“This new one-dog law stinks.” Photo: China Photos/Getty Images

Gasp! What would you do if your town suddenly passed a law restricting dog ownership to one pooch per household? And — here’s the kicker — forced those with multiple dogs to get rid of them all, except one?

Beginning July 1, residents of Guangzhou, a southern city in China, will be allowed to have only one dog per household. The law doesn’t have a “grandfather clause” allowing people who already own two or more dogs to keep their current number of dogs.

“It’s a cruel regulation,” says a resident named Mrs. Chen, who must choose between “her scruffy terrier mutt and a white fluffy Pekingese mix with buggy eyes,” reports AOL News. “These dogs are like family. How can you keep one and get rid of the others?”

The law is apparently aimed at controlling a growing stray dog and rabies problem in China. (The capital city of Beijing has had a one-dog policy in effect since 2006.) But the founder of “Family of the Pet,” a local dog shelter in Guangzhou, fears the new regulation will result in more stray dogs roaming the streets.

When Mao Mao started the dog shelter six years ago, the phone only rang a few times a month from people calling to inquire about giving up their pets. “Since March [when the new one-dog rule was announced], every day we get about 10 calls a day,” says Mao Mao.

Mrs. Chen, meanwhile, has come up with a solution to her “Sophie’s Choice“-like canine conundrum. She will register one of her dogs with her parents, rather than give one of her beloved pooches away.

by Helena Sung

And here we thought Chicago’s attempt to pass a five-dog limit was controversial!

Source:  AOL Living – Pets

Posted: Just One More Pet

August 18, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Animals Adopting Animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments