Ivy, a 15-month-old English Bulldog, came into the care of Mayhew after she was found abandoned in North West London. Being homeless was sadly not her only problem: Ivy also suffered from painful eye issues common in brachycephalic breeds, and is one of many such dogs that find themselves homeless due to their health problems. Their rise in popularity turned out to be a disaster for the welfare of these dogs, badly bred for a quick buck and often bought on impulse by people unprepared to deal with their issues.

Defra has recently indicated that breeding dogs with such extreme features may be criminalised in the future, but at the moment it’s rescues like Mayhew to pick up the pieces.

Poor Ivy has had a couple of eye problems that can be more commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds such as English Bulldogs and Boxers. One of these problems was Cherry Eye, which is when the gland within the third eyelid that produces a component of tears, prolapses out of the eye, causing the pink tissue to become inflamed and dry

Mayhew’s Head Vet, Dr. Ursula Goetz, said, “Brachycephalic breeds are animals that are bred to have a flat face, which causes their muzzle and nasal aspect to be short, creating a perceived appearance of cuteness. Unfortunately a high percentage of them will have health problems throughout their lives, including eye problems, breathing problems, skin diseases, neurological and dental problems. This can result in a poorer quality of life and will often require veterinary intervention.

“We don’t know how long poor Ivy had been on the streets for, but when she first arrived at the Home, she had very sore and inflamed eyes. She was obviously in a lot of discomfort, so we immediately checked her over.”

It took little to tell that poor Ivy was in extreme discomfort. Mayhew’s Vet, Emma Robinson, explained, “Poor Ivy has had a couple of eye problems that can be more commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds such as English Bulldogs and Boxers. One of these problems was Cherry Eye, which is when the gland within the third eyelid that produces a component of tears, prolapses out of the eye, causing the pink tissue to become inflamed and dry.

“We performed surgery to replace the gland to its normal position at the base of the third eyelid where it can function normally. Unfortunately for Ivy, this problem commonly occurs in both eyes and sure enough her other eye developed Cherry Eye as the other one was healing. Once the second Cherry Eye was fixed, she still wasn’t free from irritated, itchy eyes, as she was found to also suffer from distichiasis. Distichiasis is a condition where the eyelashes grow from the wrong part of the eyelid, meaning that they rub on the eyeball.”

If you are thinking of getting a dog that belongs to a breed that is brachycephalic, it is very important to do your research first, because these are breeds with a special physiology that you should be aware of

Surgery was needed to fix Ivy’s problems, and thankfully she reacted well to it. She is now happy in her foster home, waiting to be adopted.

Dr. Ursula Goetz added, “If you are thinking of getting a dog that belongs to a breed that is brachycephalic, it is very important to do your research first, because these are breeds with a special physiology that you should be aware of. At Mayhew we are here to assist and give you advice on the best course of action for your pet.”

Images by Mayhew.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here