• Health and welfare issues of brachycephalic (flat-faced) animals are one of the most pressing problems facing companion animals right now. Dogs, in particular, are suffering from a ‘brachycephalic crisis’ resulting from a perfect storm where predispositions to an array of health issues are amplified by a population boom for certain brachycephalic breeds such as the French Bulldog and Pug. But yet, for many owners, these dogs represent the perfect companion: endearing personas and cute looks in a socially desirable package. So where is the truth in all of this?  

    This book will equip veterinary professionals, animal welfare scientists, breeders and owners with the fuller story about brachycephalic health and welfare. The first half of the book provides the context of how and why we are in this crisis, offering in-depth historical, social, ethical, communication, nursing, welfare, epidemiological, genetics and international perspectives. The second half shifts towards the clinical arena, with chapters that cover the background, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the many unique healthcare needs of brachycephalic animals. Cutting-edge knowledge is shared on a range of disciplines including respiratory disease, ophthalmology, dermatology, dentistry, neurology, obesity, reproduction and anesthesia.  

    With twenty chapters written by world-leading experts, lifetimes of experience and knowledge are condensed into the first book dedicated exclusively to brachycephaly in companion animals. This essential reference resource will inform, challenge and stimulate; it will open your mind to new opportunities for you to improve the welfare of brachycephalic animals by your personal and collective choices and actions. But prepare to be surprised: you may just find that your views on brachycephaly in companion animals will be changed forever. 

  • Introduction: The brachycephalic boom – where are we now and how have we got here?

    Rowena M. A. Packer and Dan G. O'Neill

    PART 1

    A historical perspective of brachycephalic breed health and the role of the veterinary profession

    Alison Skipper

    Flat-faced fandom: Why do people love brachycephalic dogs and keep coming back for more?

    Rowena M. A. Packer

    Ethical challenges of treating brachycephalic dogs

    Anne Quain, Siobhan Mullan and Paul McGreevy

    Discussing brachycephalic health with current and prospective dog owners

    Zoe Belshaw and Sean Wensley

    Nurses and the brachycephalic patient – practical considerations and the role of veterinary nurses in improving brachycephalic health

    Kate Price

    The epidemiology of brachycephaly – prevalence and risk factors of common disorders, and implications of changing demographics

    Dan G. O’Neill

    The genetics of brachycephaly, population genetics and current health testing for brachycephalic breeds

    David Sargan

    International and national approaches to brachycephalic breed health reforms

    Brenda N. Bonnett, Monique Megens, Dan G. O’Neill and Ake Hedhammar

    PART 2

    Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) – Clinical assessment and decision making

    Jane Ladlow and Nai-Chieh Liu

    Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) - Surgical management and post-operative management

    Michael S. Tivers and Elizabeth Leece

    Ophthalmology in practice for brachycephalic breeds

    Màrian Matas Riera

    Dermatological problems in the brachycephalic patient

    Hilary Jackson and Deborah Gow

    Dental and Oral Health for the Brachycephalic Companion Animal

    Fraser Hale

    Brain disorders associated with brachycephaly

    Clare Rusbridge and Penny Knowler

    Vertebral malformations and spinal disease in brachycephalic breeds

    Steven De Decker and Rodrigo Gutierrez-Quintana

    Obesity and weight management of brachycephalic breeds

    Eleanor Raffan

    Reproduction in brachycephalic companion animal species

    Aoife Reid, Laura Cuddy and Dan G. O’Neill

    Anaesthesia for the brachycephalic patient

    Frances Downing and Rebecca Robinson

    Conclusion: Can a brachycephalic dog be a healthy dog, and how do we achieve this?

    Dan G. O'Neill and Rowena M. A. Packer

  • Rowena Packer

    Graduated from the University of Bristol with a first-class BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare (2009). She then went on to complete a PhD at the Royal Veterinary College (2013) exploring the impact of conformational extremes on canine health, focusing on brachycephalic breeds. This work culminated in a research impact event ‘Building Better Brachycephalics’ in 2013 and has since influenced international policy and legislation on the breeding of brachycephalic dogs. She has continued to work at RVC in the field of canine health and welfare research since finishing her PhD, including being awarded a BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship in 2016. She is now Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science at RVC and leads a research team exploring diverse topics in this area. Rowena has authored over 60 papers on canine and feline health and welfare since 2012. She was awarded UFAW’s Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year Award in 2016. Rowena is co-leader of RVC’s Brachycephalic Research Team and a founding member of the UK Brachycephalic Working Group.

    Dan O'Neill

    Graduated in veterinary medicine from Dublin in 1987. After 22 years in small and large animal general practice as well as in industry, he gained an MSc in epidemiology in 2009. He was awarded a PhD in 2014 at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) for developing the VetCompass™ Programme to evaluate breed effects on the health of dogs and cats. He is now Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC. Dan has authored over 70 VetCompass™ papers since 2012 that provide welfare evidence and benchmarks relevant to UK companion animals. He co-authored the 3rd edition of the book ‘Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats as well as a book on hamster health ‘Hamsters; in sickness and in health’. He was awarded a fellowship by RCVS in 2018 and the Blaine Award by BSAVA in 2019. His current research programme focusses on breed-related health in dogs and cats based on applying VetCompass clinical data shared from over 30% of UK vet practices. Dan chairs the UK Brachycephalic Working Group and is a leader of the Royal Veterinary College’s Brachycephalic Research team. Dan’s ethos is that without good evidence, we are all just muddling around in the darkness.

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