Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome research seeks participants

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The Kennel Club and the Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) Research Group at the University of Cambridge are calling for dog owners to participate in a study to identify the risk of respiratory disease in different brachycephalic breeds, with the aim to “improve the health and welfare of future generations”.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have been investigating brachycephalic health for the past ten years; they are now calling for the owners of some affected breeds to take part to the study, which will investigate the extent different breeds may be affected by breathing problems.

The breeds researchers are looking into are:

  • Affenpinscher
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Griffon Bruxellois
  • Japanese Chin
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Maltese
  • Pekingese
  • Pomeranian
  • Shih Tzu

The data collected in this new study will be used by The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge to develop respiratory function grading for more breeds if and as required. Further details about the study can be found at vet.cam.ac.uk/boas/research/brachy.

Dr Jane Ladlow, European and Royal College Specialist in Small Animal Surgery and BOAS researcher leading the project, said, “Brachycephalic dogs are very popular pets so it’s crucial that we better understand the complex and wide ranging factors that lead to some of these dogs being affected by BOAS or other health issues. Those owners who participate will play their part in helping us to understand more about the relationship between respiratory issues and neurological problems, and how these issues relate to the structure of affected dogs.

“Our previous research has shown that the solution to these health problems isn’t always simple and that breathing issues in these dogs can vary dramatically, not only between breeds, but within them as well. Our investigations have led to screening schemes that help breeders reduce the risk of producing dogs affected by breathing problems, and we hope that the next steps of our research will help more breeds to do the same, and urge owners to be part of this.”

dog in kitchen

The University of Cambridge’s BOAS Research Group is also investigating the internal anatomy of different brachycephalic breeds. To participate, dogs must be four years or older, require dental treatment, and must not have previously had airway surgery. For this study, the researchers are offering free dental treatment, including scale/polish and extractions, for dogs admitted to the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital in Cambridge.

If you own any of the following breeds and wish to participate in either study, please contact the researchers directly via brachystudy@vet.cam.ac.uk.

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