Dr Rowena Packer and Dr Dan O’Neill, both researchers at the Royal Veterinary College, have published the first ever book condensing global knowledge of brachycephaly in companion animals.

The book, titled Health and Welfare of Brachycephalic Breeds: A Guide for Veterinary Professionals, includes contributions from 29 internationally recognised experts on a wide range of aspects related to brachycephalic health.

The authors say that dogs in particular are now suffering from a ‘perfect storm’ because the welfare harms from conformation-related predispositions to several health issues are being amplified by a population boom for certain brachycephalic breeds, such as the French Bulldog, Pug and English Bulldog. 

Although flat-faced dog breeds were invented by man over a century ago, they are currently rising rapidly in popularity. From 2000 to 2020, Kennel Club registrations for English bulldogs rose by 488%, for pugs by 601% and a staggering 17,198% for French bulldogs, breeds which have been shown to be predisposed to things like corneal ulceration, difficulty giving birth, slipping kneecap, dry eye, upper respiratory tract disorders and heatstroke.

The book provides the context of how and why we are in this flat-faced animal crisis, offering in-depth historical, social, ethical, communication, nursing, welfare, epidemiological, genetics and international perspectives. It also provides clinical support, covering the background, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the unique healthcare needs of flat-faced (brachycephalic) animals. 

Rowena Packer, Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science said: “We hope this book helps veterinary and animal professionals globally, who are faced with the often challenging task of protecting the welfare of brachycephalic animals. Most importantly, we hope this book is another step towards improving the lives of so many animals who have been impaired by the body shape they have been bred for.”

The book is available as an ebook, paperback or hardback, priced from £35.99 to £88.99: https://www.routledge.com/Health-and-Welfare-of-Brachycephalic-Flat-faced-Companion-Animals-A-Complete/Packer-ONeill/p/book/9780367207243 

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