Bull­dogs, pugs face spe­cial risks fly­ing, fed­eral re­port shows

Austin American-Statesman - - SATURDAYBRIEFING - By Rhonda Cook

AT­LANTA — Snub-nosed dogs, such as bull­dogs and pugs, ac­count for al­most half the ones that have died while be­ing trans­ported as air­plane cargo in the past five years, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

One rea­son, said Adam Goldfarb, di­rec­tor of the Hu­mane So­ci­ety’s pet risk pro­gram, is that short-snouted breeds have “prob­lems breath­ing and with air flow.”

“The way all dogs cool them­selves is ba­si­cally through res­pi­ra­tion,” said Dan Bandy, chair­man of the Bull­dog Club of Amer­ica’s health com­mit­tee. With less nasal air­way to cool them­selves, short-snouted breeds tend to be heat-in­tol­er­ant, he said.

Be­gin­ning in May 2005, air­lines have been re­quired to re­port when pets die, are in­jured or es­cape dur­ing air travel. In that time, 122 dogs but only 22 other types of pets died, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Fri­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, 25 English bull­dogs were among the 122 dogs that died in tran­sit. Pugs were sec­ond, with 11 re­ported deaths.

Sonny Seiler of Sa­van­nah, Ga., who owns the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia’s mas­cot, Uga, said that the English bull­dog rou­tinely flies to the foot­ball team’s away games in the cabin or an air-con­di­tioned cargo hold. But be­fore each Uga (the eighth will de­but this fall) is a year old, Seiler has a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure done at the uni­ver­sity’s vet­eri­nary school to en­large the dog’s air­ways and ease breath­ing.

Ross D. Franklin As­so­ci­Ated Press

The late Uga VII, the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia’s English bull­dog mas­cot, had surgery to en­large his air­ways to aid his breath­ing, though he trav­eled in the cabin or an air-con­di­tioned cargo hold.

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