Check breath­ing

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - — RSPCA Aus­tralia

BE­FORE you chuckle at that video of a snor­ing pug or sleepy French bull­dog sit­ting up­right on a sofa, you might need to ask if that an­i­mal is ac­tu­ally suf­fer­ing from just try­ing to breathe.

Count­less on­line videos, show­ing dogs like these snor­ing, grunt­ing, wheez­ing or snuf­fling, are la­belled as ‘cute’ and shared vi­rally.

But vets and the RSPCA are help­ing own­ers un­der­stand the rea­sons be­hind the snor­ing are not adorable at all.

In fact, many of these ‘flat-faced dogs’ suf­fer chronic sleep de­pri­va­tion and breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties for their en­tire lives, be­cause of the way they’ve been bred to look.

Sadly, these prob­lems are so com­mon, many own­ers have come to think they’re a “nor­mal” char­ac­ter­is­tic of the breed, and don’t re­alise their dog is suf­fer­ing.

That’s why the RSPCA has de­vel­oped a quick on­line quiz that helps own­ers iden­tify if their dog is at risk.

The quiz asks own­ers a se­ries of five ques­tions, which in­clude ‘when rest­ing, can you hear your dog breath­ing from more than one me­tre away?’ and ‘does your dog make snuf­fling or snort­ing noises when ex­cited?’.

An­swer­ing yes to two or more ques­tions trig­gers a warn­ing to own­ers to con­sult their vet about the pos­si­bil­ity their dog is suf­fer­ing from a se­ri­ous and chronic re­s­pi­ra­tory con­di­tion (though both the RSPCA and AVA en­cour­age own­ers with any con­cerns to con­sult with their vet re­gard­less).

Dogs with very short muz­zles (brachy­cephalic breeds), such as pugs, Bri­tish bull­dogs and French bull­dogs can have se­ri­ous breath­ing prob­lems as the length of their muz­zle has

been pro­gres­sively short­ened through se­lec­tive breed­ing.

How­ever, the soft tis­sue in­side the nose, mouth and throat is not re­duced, so it can block their air­ways and con­strict their nos­trils and wind­pipes, mak­ing it even more dif­fi­cult for the an­i­mal to breathe.

Any­one who has lived with chronic snor­ing or sleep ap­noea knows the mis­ery that re­sults from a long-term lack of qual­ity sleep and it can hap­pen to dogs too.

SHARE YOUR VIEWS: Let­ters to the ed­i­tor can be emailed to edi­to­rial@ south bur­nett times .com.au or mailed to PO Box 312, Kin­garoy, Qld, 4610. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing. Anony­mous let­ters will not be pub­lished.

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