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Nursing implications of over-breeding brachycephalic canines, focusing on British and French Bulldogs

02 June 2020
10 mins read
Volume 11 · Issue 5
Figure 1. Pie chart displaying frequency of skin fold dermatitis in brachycephalic patients.



Within the veterinary field there are currently limited data on the role of registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) in improving the health of brachycephalic canines. To tackle this the veterinary team must discourage further breeding of those with predisposed health conditions. This can be done through raising awareness.


The purpose of this study was to determine the nursing implications of overbreeding French and British Bulldogs. RVNs completed an online questionnaire on brachycephalic canines and clinical occurrence in practice. Data collected were extracted from NoviSurvey and analysed using Excel and Minitab 15.


Out of 103 participants, 67 responses were valid. Results showed a high prevalence of brachycephalic canines in practice, with 79% of RVNs treating them at least once a day. Caesarean sections were common, with 43% of RVNs identifying genetic abnormalities in brachycephalic litters on a frequent basis. Social media was identified as a cause for the increase in ownership.


The veterinary profession must now play a larger role in public education to assist in improving welfare in these breeds.

British and French Bulldogs have exceeded the popularity of Labradors in the UK (Kennel Club, 2017). This has led to increased breeding, with many unaware of pre-existing health issues (Packer et al, 2012). Bulldog breeds display a cork-screw tail from coccygeal vertebrae malformation (Asher et al, 2009), while reproductive issues occur because of the dorsoventrally flattened pelvic canal of the dam and larger cranial circumference of the fetus. As a result of over-breeding, neonatal conditions include cleft palate/lips, anasarca puppies, splayed legs, spina bifida and hydrocephalus (Bell et al, 2012). Defects diagnosed later are brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), pyoderma, cherry eye, dermoid cysts, heart murmurs, entropion, and neurological issues (Wiles et al, 2017). To improve welfare conditions, cross breeding may be of benefit (Sargan, 2018).

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